The Poison of Greed and Mercury: A Case for Dolphins
“They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning, No-one you see, is smarter than he...” And so it began. The craze over our adorable aquatic friend, the dolphin, came to life. Before the Flipper TV series, there were only 3 dolphinariums in existence. Now, the dolphin industry is a multi-million dollar business. Richard O'Barry was one man that helped train the dolphins used in the show. For years he flourished off the income created by the training of these animals. Until one day he realized the impact of captivity on one of his dolphin companions and immediately began trying to tear down the industry he so eagerly gave life to, an industry poisoned with greed and murder, swimming in a sea of mercury. Cathy, one of the Flipper dolphins, is said to have committed suicide in the arms of Richard O'Barry. Unlike humans, dolphins have to consciously take each breath, it's not automatic. O'Barry says that “they can end their life whenever life becomes too unbearable by not taking the next breath. She did that. She swam into my arms and looked me right in the eye and took a breath and didn't take another one." The stress of captivity can be extremely harmful to dolphins. One reason for this is that dolphins are acoustic animals, they use sonar to communicate. When encased inside an aquarium, their acoustic way of life is disrupted. An aquarium in Baltimore provides an example of this disruption. In the tank, the filter made an unbearable amount of noise and stressed out the inhabiting dolphins to such a degree that dolphins were dying left and right. This same stress overcame Cathy, and the death of her sparked a change in Richard O'Barry. The night of her death, he was arrested for releasing dolphins out of captivity, and thus, an activist was born. There is one act of cruelty against dolphins that Ric O'Barry specifically wanted to end, and that was the inhumane slaughter of dolphins in...
Cited: The Cove. Dir. Louie Psihoyos. Perf. Ric O 'Barry. Oceanic Preservation Society, 2009. DVD.
"Flipper Theme Song - The Classic TV Database." The Classic TV Database - TV Shows, Theme Songs, DVDs & More. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. <http://classic-tv.com/theme-songs/flipper-themesong.html>.
The Cove Movie: Welcome. Oceanic Preservation Society. Web. 10 Oct. 2011. <http://www.thecovemovie.com/>.
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