These dolphins will be sold for large amounts of money to marine parks around the world, where they will begin their horrible lives as 'performers'. They will live surrounded by walls, in small concrete tanks filled with chlorine and medicated water. They will be forced to eat dead fish and trained to perform all kinds of unnatural crazy tricks for the audience, all for profit.
If you pay enough attention during the show, the dolphins' eyes are always on the bucket of fish. That is because they are being deprived of food until they perform the right trick. "You do as I tell you, then you will get your food" kind of thing. That's how they are forced to "work", not because they love to do all the boring and repetitive tricks, but because they are hungry and they need to eat.
Let me remind you again, the dolphins are not smiling during the performance, instead they are suffering, stressed and calling for your help!
We must understand that dolphins are highly intelligent mammals like humans, they also have feelings and complex emotions like us. They behave like humans! They have their own way to communicate. They each have unique names and call each other by these via distinctive whistles. They are self-aware as they can recognise themselves in mirrors; they can differentiate adults, kids or a pregnant lady. They learn to use tools to hunt for fish and, more surprisingly, they mourn for their loved ones. We can't deny the existence of their complex emotions and stress just because we can't understand their language.
If humans could understand their language, we might be able to hear their pleas in the marine parks – "Please tell me why? What did I do wrong to deserve all this? Why did you take me away from my family? I miss them! I miss the ocean! I want to surf in the ocean! I want to play with my family! I hate the chlorine that irritates my eyes! I hate the tank! It is too small! I have no friends here! I am lonely... please let me go! Please let me go back to the ocean! Please set me free."
Captive dolphins performing tricks at Ocean Park Hong Kong. No tank can fulfil their natural travelling distance of up to 40 miles a day in the ocean. Photo: Sasha Abdolmajid