A disturbing trend is spreading across the Jamaican tourist industry: captive dolphins. Right now, there are two existing facilities—one with two and one with seven dolphins—and at least three dolphin capture permits pending in Jamaica on behalf of various tourist enterprises, each seeking to capture multiple dolphins. Another permit to import six dolphins captured in Cuba into Jamaica is also pending. On top of that, one of the already-existing captive dolphin facilities is seeking to expand into coral reef habitat, an almost certain death knell to the integrity of the reef's delicate ecosystem.
If the capture permits are granted, these dolphins will spend the rest of their lives—up to 40 years—fenced into pens, just out of reach of their ocean home. For an animal who can swim up to 100 miles a day in the ocean, this is nothing short of animal cruelty.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Letters to the editors of local Jamaican newspapers are desperately needed to show the Jamaican media and tourist industry that much of the public, especially potential visitors to the island, opposes dolphins in captivity.
In your letters, you may wish to stress the following:
- Dolphin captures are traumatic to the individual animals, many of whom die within the first few days or weeks of capture.
- Dolphin captures may also be ecologically damaging, because dolphins play a vital ecological role. Given the total lack of knowledge about how many dolphins Jamaica has, any capture might cause local depletions that would inevitable impact the local ecosystem.
- "Swim-with-Dolphins" encounters can be dangerous for dolphins and people.
- Expanding captive dolphin facilities in Jamaica will only hurt, not help, Jamaica's tourism.
“2003-9-0″,”Save Lota The Elephant From Circus Abuse”,”,78,2003,Animal Rights & Environment,Issue Number,Sep 2003,The Humane Society of the United States,Year”,”33″,”
Lota the elephant has endured a miserable life in captivity for nearly fifty years, and it's time for her to be given sanctuary. Lota, who was born in the wild, was captured in 1954. In 1990, the Hawthorn Corporation got Lota from the Milwaukee Zoo when it no longer wanted her. The Hawthorne Corporation rents captive tigers and elephants to circuses and other animal shows.
Since being in Hawthorn's care, Lota has been performing circus tricks and subjected to a life on the road that has apparently adversely affected her health. This past April the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed charges against Hawthorn for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a failure to provide veterinary care for Lota. The USDA has also found evidence that Lota has suffered from tuberculosis and weight loss so severe that her spine and hip bones are protruding.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Please urge the USDA to aggressively prosecute Hawthorn Corporation for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Also ask them to confiscate Lota and have her transferred to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, which has offered to accept her. There Lota will be able to live free of shackles and chains, eat a proper diet, and enjoy elephant companions.
The Honorable Ann M. Veneman
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Rm. 200-A
Washington, DC 20250
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