News Report Reveals Navy’s Dolphin Breeding Scheme with SeaWorld
A CBS 8 News story recently delved into the tragic world of captive dolphins at the Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) base in San Diego bay. The facility holds an astonishing 85 dolphins, or grayfish, as they are called in the news story as an homage to Blackfish, the documentary that revealed the hidden harm to captive orcas at SeaWorld for years.
These mostly bottlenose dolphins are used for naval exercises, including some extremely dangerous stunts, and medical research, and undercover footage shows that some of them have recently been extremely ill. On April 11, a 46-year-old male named Makai was “euthanized” reportedly due to old age.
Activists have been filming the sea pens where these dolphins have been kept, documenting the deteriorating conditions of dolphins kept by the military for dubious reasons. CBS 8 News took advantage of the activist footage for their story. They note the pens are extremely small and often hold more than one dolphin.
“These animals are far ranging and deep diving and they're being kept in such small pens. It's not healthy. They're languishing there,” said David Phillips, Director of the International Marine Mammal Project, who was interviewed for the story. “My view is that there is not a single dolphin in the Navy complex that wouldn’t do far better in a seaside sanctuary retirement area.”
Phillips goes on to speculate that SPAWAR likely won’t consider retirement for these dolphins: “They don’t want to end the program, because they like continuing it for the jobs and the people who are working with the dolphins. That shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what happens to these dolphins.”
The investigation also highlights how SeaWorld has a breeding agreement with SPAWAR. The now-notorious company apparently finds it totally acceptable to force dolphins to perform acts of war and be used in mysterious medical experiments, as well as in public entertainment. SeaWorld and the Navy treat dolphins as though they were property, and nothing else.
IMMP and other organizations are encouraging the public to contact their members of Congress to defund and end the SPAWAR program. The dolphins can be replaced with unmanned drones to do the same dangerous work for the military. The dolphins can then be retired to seaside sanctuaries, to live out their lives in peace in large areas more natural than their current small Navy pens.