I was on a cruise with my family in 2008 when my parents took my niece and nephew to swim with dolphins on a Carribean island. I remember thinking, "I want to swim with dolphins, too!" but my brother and sister-in-law and I were going to go on a rum tour of the island instead.
A few years later when I watched the 2010 Academy Award Winner for Best Feature Documentary, "The Cove," I was glad that I hadn't gone to swim with dolphins that day. Dolphins in aquariums and swim with dolphins programs are taken from the wild in Taiji, Japan, in brutal drive hunts during which most of their family is killed while the young, pretty dolphins are taken in to captivity. They are then starved and force-fed dead fish, which a dolphin would ignore in the wild. Dolphin trainers from all over the world come to buy the dolphins, often spending as much as $150,000 for each one. Selling wild-caught dolphins is big business and is entirely fueled by humans paying to see dolphins in aquariums or to swim with them while on vacation.