While we hear a lot about cases of animal cruelty occurring overseas, we seem to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in our own backyard. As we detailed in our last post, Australia thankfully doesn’t have any killer whales in captivity – but we have dolphins.
Dolphin Marine Magic is currently listed as the #1 thing to do in Coffs Harbour on Tripadvisor, with 906 mostly positive reviews, hiding the dark side of reality for dolphins. The park offers activities such as swimming, hugging, playing and getting pushed through the pool by a dolphin. They also advertise ‘dolphin kisses’, with a circus style show, where dolphins perform from 2-3 shows a day during peak periods.
Not only are these activities incredibly demanding on the part of dolphins, Australia for Dolphins advocacy director Jordan Sosnowski says that there is strong evidence to suggest that the park’s chlorinated pool is too small to meet NSW standards.
Whilst chlorine may help to keep the pool clean, there has been cases of it being damaging to the health of dolphins, with dolphins at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida being unable to open their eyes and had their skin peeling off because of the high level of chlorine in their tanks.
For Australia for Dolphins CEO Sarah Lucas, a possible solution for the popular animal attraction would be a Coffs Harbour sea pen – a netted area in the ocean that provides a non-chlorinated natural habitat.
“It could still be more of an education tourism facility, but less about kissing and riding and more about conservation,” she says.
If we can’t shut down an animal attraction, the best way to go about it would be to change the way it’s operated to provide a more animal-friendly environment where they can still go about their lives without being disturbed by humans.