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September 25, 2009

What You Can Do about Swim-with-the-Dolphins Attractions

Help The HSUS keep wild dolphins from being captured for these programs

The Humane Society of the United States

You can help The HSUS ensure the maximum possible safety for "swim-with-the-dolphins" (SWTD) attractions. Write or visit SWTD programs and express your concerns. If these programs refuse to close, insist that only captive-born bottlenose dolphins be used, to limit as much as possible any increase in captures of wild dolphins to stock present and future programs. There are currently almost 400 bottlenose dolphins in captivity across the United States (with many more in facilities around the world), many of whom are used in breeding programs. If these programs are as successful as captive facilities claim, then capture from the wild should be eliminated.

Question safety records for both humans and dolphins. Demand adequate care and conditions for the dolphins; insist on refuge areas, where dolphins can go at will if they do not want to interact with people; and demand low dolphin-to-swimmer ratios (no more than two swimmers per dolphin). Enforcement of the current U.S. regulations (which incorporate some of these provisions and can be located on the web) has been suspended since April 1999; contact The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and demand that this suspension be lifted immediately.

Consider boycotting hotels and resorts that depend upon SWTD attractions for tourism. Write to them and let them know tourism should not depend on the invasive exploitation of wildlife. Examples of such tourist facilities include resorts in the Caribbean island nations of Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, and the Dominican Republic that have recently planned or begun SWTD programs.

Contact your Senators and Representative and tell them to support an amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibiting the capture of marine mammals from the wild for public display when the act next comes up for reauthorization.

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