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Recent coverage regarding dolphinarium planned for San Juan, Puerto Rico

The growing opposition to the dolphinarium planned for San Juan, Puerto Rico has been covered recently in 2 excellent articles, one by Peggy Ann Bliss in the daily Puerto Rico English-language newspaper, THE SAN JUAN STAR, and the other by Jose E. Maldonado of MI PUERTO RICO VERDE ( )

Plans are in the works for famed international marine mammal specialist Ric O'Barry, of Earth Island Institute and The Dolphin Project (  and  ) who was featured in the Academy Award winning documentary THE COVE, to visit Puerto Rico soon to speak about the horrors of captivity for dolphins, along with a special public screening of THE COVE.

Glen Venezio

Animal Concerns Puerto Rico

San Juan, PR

Animal Activists Protest Caging Dolphins

Help Abandoned Cats and Dogs Instead

By Peggy Ann Bliss

They had never thought about it before. Dolphins were, after, great for people, and great for making them get better. But what about the dolphins? Was it good for them, intelligent and social animals, to be confined to such small spaces, and to be 'childhandled' all the time?

But a lot of animal activists had been thinking about it, and writing Mayor Jorge Santini about their reservations about the proposed installation of adolphinarium for San Juan, ostensibly

for dolphin therapy, which animal activists claim is an abuse of both autistic children and dolphins. Many dolphins will be held captive there in small tanks for many years.

On Sunday more than 50 of these committed people showed up at Escambron Beach and handed out pamphlets to people driving by.

'The event was a success,' said Glen Venezio, from Santurce, after meeting up with what he called 'three young patriotic and animal-loving surfers. 'After we gave out the brochures to the passing cars, many onlookers asked questions.'

'They hide behind the image of [helping] children, when in fact they exploit and imprison animals just to make a buck,' said PETA Action Team Coordinator Christa Shelton.

Also speaking out against the proposed project are the Humane Society of the United States and the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

'The opposition we have mounted against the planned dolphinarium, has nothing to do with Puerto Rican political parties and has nothing to do with not wanting to help children with disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome,' said Santurce resident Glen Venezio of Animal Concerns Puerto Rico. 'No matter what anecdotes the Mayor has to offer about 'dolphin therapy' with autistic children, studies by renowned marine mammal experts have shown clearly that there is no scientific validity to this supposed 'therapy.' '

Santini has also says the planned facility would not mistreat animals, but the true abuse begins long before they arrive in San Juan. For a dolphin, captivity itself is an extreme form of abuse, no matter whether the dolphin was caught in the wild or bred in captivity, these are creatures that unequivocally belong in the ocean. People ask why we would "deny" Puerto Rico the opportunity of having dolphin facilities like those in the states or nearby countries, but we oppose all such facilities that keep dolphins captive.

The Mayor also says we want to deny "dolphin therapy" to disabled children. Even if there were validity to such a therapy (which has not been proven), it is akin to a twisted USING of another species. Leave the dolphins in their ocean world where they belong, and use public and private money to truly uplift the proud people of this island, and respect other creatures. Why not become known worldwide as a place that says NO to projects that are inherently cruel to other species, instead of a place that must always "have" what other places "have," even when such things are in essence, no good. Start with what is in front of you, help the animals already suffering all over the streets, provide much needed basic services to children with autism, Down Syndrome, etc., instead of creating multimillion dollar projects characterized by ethical blindness."

Lori Marino, who has a Ph.D in neuroscience and behavioral biology, is a member of the World Society for the Protection of Animals, based in Costa Rica. She also noted that parents of sick children are given false hope that the treatment can cure their offspring and paying high fees to nurture this hope. Dolphins are large, powerful animals which have injured people swimming with them in a captive setting. Dolphins are highly intelligent, self-aware, emotional, and social creatures with strong family ties. � just like us,' she said. When dolphins are taken from the wild the stress often kills them. And in captivity they lead an impoverished life that does not resemble their normal life in any way. As a result, they are subject to extreme psychological and emotional stress and boredom, and often die at a younger age than in their natural habitat.'

In "Dolphin-Assisted Therapy: More Flawed Data and More Flawed Conclusions,' she says: "Dolphin-assisted therapy is not a valid treatment for any disorder; it's a lose-lose situation for people and for dolphins." The study concludes that there is "no compelling evidence that Dolphin-assisted therapy is legitimate therapy, or that it affords any more than fleeting improvements in mood."

(note from Glen----Lori Marino, corrected affiliation:

Dr. Lori Marino, Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University in Atlanta, and longtime marine mammal researcher )

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