Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Think of dolphins during ‘World Autism-Awareness Week’

28 March 2017

Categories: Homepage News, Zoo Check Campaign News, Dolphin News

During Autism-Awareness Week, the Born Free Foundation seeks to expose the truths about so-called Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT), the apparent exploitation of vulnerable people by captive dolphin facilities and the risks to public safety during direct interaction experiences with captive dolphins. 

Captive dolphin facilities, or dolphinaria, across the world promote the opportunity for people with disabilities to engage in a reportedly therapeutic experience through direct contact with dolphins. Referred to as Dolphin Assisted Therapy, or DAT, vulnerable people are seemingly lured by the commercial captive dolphin industry under false pretences and required to pay premium prices to take part. Research undertaken by the Born Free Foundation, the findings from which are supported by medical professionals and leading autism experts, indicates that direct interaction with dolphins is no more beneficial than interaction with any other animals, including domestic dogs and cats (Marino & Lilienfeld, 2007). 

The risks of direct interaction with dolphins also need to be considered. Dolphins are large, fast, powerful and unpredictable predators. They have been known to bite and attack unsuspecting swimmers during these staged interactive sessions at captive facilities. Dolphin species also carry a number of known diseases (i.e. brucellosis and mycobacteriosis); also known as zoonoses (can be transferred between animals and humans). Swimming with dolphins is certainly a risky business. The only obvious preventative measure is to stop direct interactions.

The Born Free Foundation is urging all people considering swimming with captive dolphins, as well as children charities considering the promotion of Dolphin Assisted Therapy, to consider seeking a different, low-risk experience with animals; particularly where the animal’s welfare is also guaranteed. 

This campaign, focused on so-called Dolphin Assisted Therapy is part of Born Free’s #SanctuariesNotTanks campaign to end the exploitation of captive dolphins and whales for entertainment. Join Born Free to end the exploitation of dolphins and the people who love them. 

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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