Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dolphin Trafficking

When I attended a recent party at the Vancouver Aquarium, I was surprised that people were allowed to walk around on the outside decks and walkways around the marine animal tanks.
I was told that smoking in these areas have been banned because someone tossed their cigarette into a tank. However, people were still carrying drinks.

There were staff monitors, one of whom warned a woman who precariously sat her drink on the fence of a swimming tank. It made me worry about the welfare of the animals.

But there's a much more serious angle to explore about the industry. Such as what the dolphins are doing there in the first place. And how they got there.

On Thursday, October 23 at 9 p.m., CBC Television's Doc Zone will feature The Dolphin Dealer.
The film follows Canadian Christopher Porter, a former Vancouver Aquarium dolphin trainer who masterminded the biggest dolphin export deal ever. Porter sells wild dolphins for about $100,000 each from the Solomon Islands to marine parks around the world.

Porter thinks there is educational value for people in their interactions with dolphins. But animal rights activist Ric O'Barry thinks otherwise. He claims that many die en route to their destinations and has ethical issues with forcing them to perform tricks throughout their lives.

Director Brad Quenville presents both sides of the controversial issue, and discovers that there isn't a clear-cut right and wrong.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"