Stop Dangerous Programs That Allow People to Swim With Captive Dolphins

Target: Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States

Goal: Demand an end to programs that allow guests to swim with captive dolphins.

Dolphins are extremely social animals. In the wild, dolphins live in pods that might contain hundreds of members, with complex social hierarchies and bonds between individuals. These animals can travel upwards of 100 miles a day, feeding on fish and other invertebrates they find along the way. However, in captivity, dolphins are forced to live in insufficiently sized tanks—sometimes 200,000 times smaller than their natural range—with only a few additional individuals. They are denied their natural instincts to hunt, and are instead fed dead frozen fish that lack the nutritional value of those they typically eat in the wild. The constant noise and activity around them is highly disruptive, since they rely mainly on echolocation and sound to communicate.

As if simply being held in captivity is not worse enough, these animals are also subjected to stressful situations in which they are forced to interact with humans on command. In the United States alone, there are between 14 and 18 swimming with the dolphin attractions, where people can actually get in the water with these captive animals. Enthusiastic individuals often partake in this seemingly harmless wildlife encounter without understanding the physical and psychological abuse that dolphins endure as a result. Dolphins in captivity often display behaviors unusual to dolphins in the wild, and have been known to repeatedly gnaw on or smash their heads against the sides of their tanks in an apparent display of frustration. Others have even been observed to voluntarily stop breathing altogether, drowning themselves in the process. Many of these captive dolphins are actually placed on ulcer medications or antidepressants to help alleviate some of the side-effects of the depressive episodes they seem to experience.

Even dolphins that are bred into captivity and not cruelly captured from the wild aren’t fully domesticated, and direct interactions with people can often cause them to lash out aggressively, harming humans or themselves in the process. In fact, swimming with the dolphin programs have reported a series of human injuries, including lacerations, broken bones, tooth rakes, and other internal injuries.

Swimming with dolphins and related activities push dangerous boundaries in allowing humans to directly interact with wild animals. Sign this petition to demand an end to these programs in the United States.


Dear President Biden,

Dolphins kept in captivity for human entertainment suffer immensely. These intelligent and curious animals are confined to tanks that may be up to 200,000 times smaller than their natural range, and are deprived of natural social inclinations. In turn, these animals become extremely depressed and exhibit extremely unusual, self-harm behaviors. Many dolphins in captivity are actually given ulcer and antidepressant medications in an attempt to curb the display of such behaviors, such as smashing their heads against the sides of their tanks and apparent suicide by way of voluntarily stopping their breathing altogether.

In the United States alone, there are still upwards of 14-18 locations that allow guests to partake in swimming with the dolphins programs. These programs are dangerous–not only to the emotional and physical health of the dolphins involved–but also the humans who participate. Dolphins, whether held in captivity or not, are wild animals and will always have the potential to harm humans. When forced into direct interactions with people, many dolphins tend to act aggressively and lash out. Among the injuries reported from such programs include lacerations, broken bones, tooth rakes, and internal injuries.

We are asking you, Mr. Biden, to please end these cruel swimming with the dolphins programs. You will be protecting both humans and dolphins in the process.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: photo_teria

One Comment

  1. Begging Biden to listen, much less care? A fool’s dream.

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