At last, an end has come to 'circus-style' shows of Dolphins at the SeaWorld theme parks in the United States. It was the result of protests by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PETA), and other animal rights activists. The 2013 documentary "Blackfish" highlighted the mistreatment of orcas by SeaWorld and it tarnished the image of the company. Last year, PETA took up the case of dolphins. It issued a report that documented their plight which is devoid of freedom. The report says these creatures suffer physical and behavioral harm from such treatment when they are forced to perform live shows and are kept captive.

Daily Mail UK goes into the details. Dr. Heather Rally, a veterinary doctor associated with PETA, explains that when trainers ride them, the dolphins get strained on certain vital portions of their bodies. That could give rise to hearing problems and injuries to their joints and muscles. Moreover, when they are confined to holding tanks, they do not have freedom of movement and are injured. Dr. Rally said, “We are asking SeaWorld to at least stop standing on dolphins' faces and using them as surf-boards in these ridiculous circus-style shows.” It seems SeaWorld has finally agreed to end the cruel practices.

PETA wrote on its website: “Victory! SeaWorld has stopped treating dolphins like surfboards.

It was a battle for PETA to save the dolphins

Trainers of SeaWorld use the dolphins to carry out different maneuvers. One of these is when a trainer rides two dolphins at the same time. It is a delicate balancing act in which the trainer puts each foot on top of one of the animals' beaks, or 'rostrums.’ This stunt received the most objections.

PETA describes it as being equivalent to standing on the dolphins' 'faces.' It was a long legal battle with each side offering its own interpretation of words like ‘face’ and 'rostrum.'

Daily Mail UK provides more information about SeaWorld and its dolphins.

It has in its care 140 of them and at present employs less than 10 for presentations. SeaWorld admits that there are times when trainers stand on the animals' rostrums. It also clarifies there are only two shows that include bottlenose dolphins. These are in its facilities in Orlando and San Diego. However, only in the latter, trainers do stand on the dolphins' rostrums. In view of the controversies, some companies have stopped offering tickets to visit SeaWorld.

Policy change on dolphins by SeaWorld

According to CBS News, after a campaign by animal rights activists PETA, SeaWorld has agreed to change its policy on dolphins. It relates to trainers riding on dolphins in shows at its theme parks.

The company says this practice is only in one of its 12 theme parks. SeaWorld San Diego is where trainers stand on the snouts of bottlenose dolphins. Incidentally, in 2017, it had to discontinue the orca show at the San Diego Park. It was because of a 2013 documentary “Blackfish” on the treatment of killer whales by SeaWorld. It had a direct effect on the profitability, which picked up in 2018 but remains below the figures of 2013.

Bottlenose dolphins are lovable creatures

Bottlenose dolphins are easy to tame and are a big attraction in theme parks. However, when they are subjected to abuse, it does more harm than good. They belong to the wild and it is not right to keep them captive and restrict their freedom, activists feel.

New Zealand has banned tourists swimming with bottlenose dolphins in the Bay of Islands. Moreover, their population is also a matter of concern because of overfishing. Japanese fishermen are believed to have caught 100 bottlenose dolphins in five days. They sell the young ones to theme parks worldwide and slaughter the aged ones for meat.