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Coral World Dolphin Permit CZM Public Hearing: UPDATE/STT  

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Alana33
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December 10, 2012 3:23 pm  

In case you haven't seen this on the Community forum: And do check out the articles posted under this subject on the Community Message Board. Thanks!

Please pass on, attend or write to express your displeasure at this ill conceived project.
Dolphins should not be allowed to be captured from the wild to have their generations born into captivity only for our amusement and .

The meeting will be at 6pm on Thursday, December 13 at Eudora Kean High School in Red Hook.
It's being held in the cafeteria: use the school entrance farthest from Red Hook and the cafeteria is immediately on the right.

I hope the St. Johnians can attend as it's walking distance from the ferry.

I understand there are rumors circulating of other dates but have confirmed with CZM that the scheduled date is the 13th.
Notice should be posted in the newspaper in the next few days.

Please also consider putting your comments in writing (especially those who can't attend).
The period for written comment ends 7 days after the public hearing so letters must be received by December 20.
Send to:

Coastal Zone Management Commission
c/o Jean-Pierre Oriol
Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Cyril E King Airport Terminal Building
St. Thomas, VI 00802

Thank you for your support.

Fiona Stuart
VI DOLPHIN VOICES
Saying NO TO CAPTIVITY
340-626-4690


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Alana33
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December 10, 2012 4:15 pm  

The capture of wild animals to be forever kept in captivity and to be used, solely, for our entertainment and amusement MUST stop. We imperil generations of these intelligent, wild creatures to live out their lives in slavery and unnatural conditions, all for the sake of greed.

I am sorry Coral World is losing money but they do not need to perpetuate this abhorrent practice. Clean up the Coki Point area, free it from crime and make it a drug free zone. Then they will have more people coming to their facility to view what is already in place and it will be a safer place for all.

Plus, I really have to wonder how safe those captive dolphin will be in their unnatural enclosures from predatory, sick individuals that may wish to do them harm.

It is not acceptable to use these beautiful creatures for purely commercial gain and exploitation.


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blu4u
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December 10, 2012 4:16 pm  

Interesting. I hope folks do attend so they can hear the real facts about the proposed project.
I happen to agree that "Dolphins should not be allowed to be captured from the wild". However this is not the case with Coral Worlds proposed re-hab facility.

I think a few of the detractors don't fully understand the scope and mission of the project and the ultimate goal of protecting marine mammals. I also believe that a small number of off-island corporate developers have "other plans" for Water Bay--plans which include environmentally unsustainable resort development. If Coral World were granted the permits for an open water marine mammal re-hab facility then those developers could trash the bay and the coastal area with more beach eroding mega-time share resorts.

Their is allot more to this story which involves a few politicians and real estate developers getting very rich at the expense of our environment and local business..... I for one would rather have an open water dolphin area than more fast deteriorating half empty time share units. Read between the lines....


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blu4u
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December 10, 2012 4:23 pm  

The capture of wild animals to be forever kept in captivity and to be used, solely, for our entertainment and amusement MUST stop. We imperil generations of these intelligent, wild creatures to live out their lives in slavery and unnatural conditions, all for the sake of greed.

I am sorry Coral World is losing money but they do not need to perpetuate this abhorrent practice. Clean up the Coki Point area, free it from crime and make it a drug free zone. Then they will have more people coming to their facility to view what is already in place and it will be a safer place for all.

Plus, I really have to wonder how safe those captive dolphin will be in their unnatural enclosures from predatory, sick individuals that may wish to do them harm.

It is not acceptable to use these beautiful creatures for purely commercial gain and exploitation.

Alana, surely you know that Cokki point is not owned by Coral World. Coral world is clean, sure and well managed. In fact the owners of Coral World have been asking (BEGGING) for decades for government help to clean up the neighboring Cokki Beach. You are correct correct Cokki beach is horrible. But don't put that on Coral World.

You may remember that Coral World was completely re-habbed after Marilyn. It is a true labor of love by a very well-off family. The mission of coral world was education, conservation. Coral world has provided jobs and opportunities galore for the community and I have no idea if they even turn a profit.


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Alana33
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December 10, 2012 4:50 pm  

I am not criticizing Coral World per se just the ill considered dolphinarium.
And Yes, I know Coral World doesn't own Coki. The VI Government just spent thousands to improve Coki but the same problems remain with the selling of illegal drugs and other issues. It would be a much better attraction if everyone felt safer going there. That would improve their profits as well.

Check out the articles under this subject that i posted on the Community Forum Message Board.

I do not believe that wild animals should be captured to be bred and kept in captivity for any reason much less solely for our amusement and their exploitation.


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blu4u
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December 10, 2012 5:10 pm  

Welp we agree on two issues:
Cokki Beach is a shameful testament to our government's lack of concern.
Wild animals and habitats need to be protected.
However the proposed dolphin program is completely separate from those issues.
Coral Worls program is rescuing and providing a more suitable and natural enivorment for dolphins already bread into captivity. It is not a wholesale breeding program.

I also wonder why the government has not lived up the promise of providing security and police presence at Cokki Beach. I don't know why the pan-handling and harassment and open air drug dealing is allowed to continue.


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Alana33
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December 10, 2012 5:45 pm  

blu -

In Opposition to Dolphin Captivity
A Conversation with Dr. Lori Marino, Emory University

Dr. Lori Marino is a neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and faculty affiliate of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. We asked her about the ethics of keeping dolphins in captivity. Check out our interview below. To find out more about Dr. Marino, visit her bio.

Some experts say that dolphins in captivity behave just like, or nearly like, dolphins in the wild. What's your opinion?
I don't need to give my opinion because there's an abundance of evidence that shows that dolphins and whales in captivity show a lot of the same abnormal behaviors that are exhibited by other animals in captivity. These include things like stereotypies where they do repeated movements, self mutilation and just basically other behaviors associated with being psychologically disturbed. There are also several peer-reviewed studies that have shown elevated stress hormones in dolphins and whales in captivity.

So there really is no way that an artificial setting could provide an opportunity for the range of natural behaviors that dolphins enjoy in the wild, just from a physical point of view. The largest tank in the world is something like less than one ten-thousandth of one percent of the natural range of most dolphins and whales. So there's physically no way that these animals could exhibit natural behaviors in captivity.

I know that some members of the captivity industry have made the point that in captivity these animals are fed fish and they don't need to deal with the stress of capturing their own prey. But in fact, being fed dead fish can be a stress. In the wild, they really enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with each other and catch prey and travel with their companions, and basically work for their prey. In captivity, all of that stimulation is taken away.

So there is a lot of scientific evidence that shows that dolphins and whales — both wild-born and captive-born — exhibit a lot of psychological abnormalities in captivity.

Would you say that dolphins in U.S. aquariums and marine parks are well-cared for?
Well, what I would say is that modern husbandry techniques are very sophisticated, but this isn't the same as being well-cared for, and it doesn't mitigate the fact that these animals cannot thrive in captivity. Surviving for a certain amount of time is not the same as thriving, and the mortality statistics show this conclusively. Dolphins and whales live only a fraction of their natural life spans in captivity. So if they're being so "well-cared for," what is killing them? That's a question that needs to be answered.

Ric O'Barry says that the best way to help dolphins is to not buy a ticket to a dolphin show. Do you agree with that?
Yes, I agree. The captivity industry is responsible for making dolphins and whales into money-making commodities, and it really does contribute to the sense that these animals are here to be controlled by us. Even more pragmatically, I would say that marine parks are driven by demand. They're an entertainment industry and the demand drives them to keep more and more animals confined. That often — not always, but often — means taking them from the wild, including during these horrendous drives.

The public has the power to end all of this: don't buy a ticket!

Is a dolphin show an effective tool to help educate the public about dolphins and dolphin conservation?
This is really a topic that has been on a lot of peoples' minds lately. In April, I was a witness for a congressional hearing on this matter, and I testified that the educational claims made by the captivity industry have absolutely no foundation. There's no compelling evidence, at all, that visiting dolphin shows and seeing dolphin and whale displays is educational. I've done a lot of research in this area and I've published peer-reviewed papers that show this so-called "educational claim" is not supported by any evidence.

In fact, what most people don't know is that the Marine Mammal Protection Act requires captive displays to be educational in order to keep these animals on display, and yet marine parks all over the world continue to display them without even having met this criterion.

In addition, I've done a lot of research on the information on AZA websites, or websites of AZA facilities, and a lot of the information is factually incorrect. So I would ask you, how can it be educational if it is wrong?

The public should not confuse entertainment with education. So no, there's absolutely no evidence of this at all.

Scientists have learned a lot by studying dolphins in captivity. In light of this, do you agree or disagree with keeping dolphins in research facilities?
I agree that we've learned a lot about who dolphins are from studies in captivity, but I do not think we should be keeping them in captivity.

I did studies with dolphins in captivity. In one of those studies, my colleague and I showed that they are self aware; they recognize themselves in mirrors. But dolphins have paid a very high price for satisfying our curiosity. For instance, the two dolphins that I worked with at the New York Aquarium when I did that mirror study are now dead. And in fact, many of the individual dolphins that were research subjects in these groundbreaking kinds of studies are dead, prematurely. That tells you something.

Despite having learned a lot about dolphins from captive studies, if we think we're intelligent, then that means we need to adjust our behavior to the information that comes in from our science. What we have learned about who these dolphins are tells us unequivocally that they do not belong in captivity.

I think it's really important to know that those of us who are advocating for dolphins have nothing to gain and everything to lose from doing this. For instance, after I did the self awareness study, I gave up doing studies on captive dolphins once I discovered I was working with two self-aware individuals. I felt that they should be leading the life of an intelligent, self-aware, social being, and they weren't.

In fact, not only do I have nothing to gain, but I have given up a lot of professional opportunities when I made that decision. But it was the right one.

What have scientists learned by studying dolphins in the wild? And do you think field studies on dolphins are a replacement for captive studies?
I think that field studies are and can be a replacement for some captive studies. In the past few years, almost nothing has been learned about dolphins from captive studies. Likewise, some of the most exciting things we're learning about dolphins and whales are coming from studies of wild individuals. In other words, field studies. For instance, we now know that dolphins and whales have complex cultural traditions. This was learned from field studies, field observations, and actually could never be ascertained in captivity where they're deprived of their normal social relations. So all of the cutting edge research on dolphin and whale lives and behavior and psychology is coming from the wild, not from captive labs.

Ric O'Barry says that the captive dolphin industry as a whole fuels the dolphin hunting industry. Do you agree with that?
There's a very simple equation here, and that is that the captivity industry drives the dolphin hunting industry because it creates a demand for dolphins. Plain and simple. If there weren't a demand to see dolphins in these spectacles and on display, then the captivity industry around the world would not be breeding dolphins, not taking dolphins from these horrendous drives and so forth. It's a very simple equation. So yes, indeed, the captive dolphin industry does fuel dolphin hunting of all kinds around the world.

When making that statement, shouldn't one make an exception for the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and their facilities?
There is a moratorium on taking dolphins from the wild in this country, but up until recently, marine mammal parks in this country did take dolphins from the wild and from dolphin drive hunts. There are still dolphins who you can go see in these marine parks who were taken from the wild. And they also reserve the right, under some circumstances, to take again from U.S. waters in the future; it's not illegal if there is any possibility left in the law.

But more importantly, the success of the AZA marine parks here serves as a model for the rest of the world. And when the rest of the world tries to emulate us, it means that they're going to take animals from the wild — in particular these drive hunts, which are some of the easiest ways that you can stock your pools with animals.

So the AZA has a responsibility to police the captivity industry and their colleagues. WAZA, the World Association for Zoos and Aquariums, has done very little to do this. In fact the Taiji Whale Museum, which takes from the Taiji drives, is a member in good standing of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) and JAZA is a member of WAZA. So WAZA can't be doing all that much to help with the situation.

The other thing that's very important to remember is that the AZA will tell you that they're trying to do what they can to stop these drive hunts. In fact, what that means is that if you go to their website, embedded somewhere in their website you can click on a link that goes to a petition that's called "Act for Dolphins." And in fact, I and my colleague Diana Reiss were the primary authors of that petition against the dolphin drive hunts. We authored it, we collected the signatures, for the most part, and so forth. All the AZA has done is pretty much just taken that link and put it on their website.

They also talk about the fact that they have sent a letter to the Japanese government. That letter is on that website, you can click on it, and it is exactly six lines long. And it doesn't look like that website has changed in years.

So that's what they call trying to do something about it.

Can an ethical distinction be made between the killing of dolphins for food and the killing of cows, pigs and chickens for food?
This is an argument that is thrown out there to divert attention from the brutality of the hunts. Look, there is an argument to be made for treating other animals respectfully. All other animals, certainly. But the fact that some people eat cows and pigs and chickens doesn't make killing dolphins any less egregious — that it makes other wrongs more right.

Again, I see this kind of question as a diversionary tactic. Whether you make an ethical distinction or not, the fact is that killing dolphins is wrong.

Is it cultural elitism to disapprove of, or speak out against, another country's traditional hunting practices?
No. The secret is that dolphin drive hunting is not a cultural practice in Japan. Most of the citizens of Japan don't know about it, so it can't be an important component of their culture if they don't know about it.

But also, and perhaps even more importantly, we speak out against all kinds of human rights violations around the world all the time, and I would ask why should we be silent when it is a violation against a non-human? Again, cultural or not, morality dictates that this be stopped. It is something I think that Japan's government likes to say to make us look like cultural elitists, but the fact of the matter is that we speak out against all kinds of violations everywhere and this is just one of them.


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blu4u
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December 10, 2012 5:52 pm  

So should the dolphins currently in captivity not be given a chance to live a more natural life in a better enviorment?


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Alana33
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December 10, 2012 6:54 pm  

Who deems what is more natural and better while in captivity?


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Isle Tell Ya
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December 10, 2012 7:42 pm  

I assume, then, that we shouldn't:

1) cut down living trees to use for wood to build homes, for paper or for warmth in certain areas of the world;
2) cut flowers for landscaping, gifts, Valentine's Day;
3) dredge ocean floors to accommodate large cruise ships;
4) go fishing;
5) go hunting;

I'm sure there a a couple thousand other things humans do which negatively effect other living things in our Universe.


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Jamison
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December 10, 2012 9:00 pm  

I assume, then, that we shouldn't:

1) cut down living trees to use for wood to build homes, for paper or for warmth in certain areas of the world;
2) cut flowers for landscaping, gifts, Valentine's Day;
3) dredge ocean floors to accommodate large cruise ships;
4) go fishing;
5) go hunting;

I'm sure there a a couple thousand other things humans do which negatively effect other living things in our Universe.

Correct and don't be mean to dolphins.


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Isle Tell Ya
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December 10, 2012 10:41 pm  

I say we stop being mean to broccoli and tomatoes. I assume boiling water has to hurt the water too. It's hot.


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Jamison
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December 11, 2012 12:51 am  

are you an adult?


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Connie
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December 11, 2012 3:48 am  

Just watch "The Cove". It will change anything you ever thought about captive dolphins.


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Isle Tell Ya
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December 11, 2012 10:04 am  

Why aren't we all up in arms over pesticides? We're slaughtering innocent insects! They just want to be left alone.


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Jamison
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December 11, 2012 11:18 am  

Why aren't we all up in arms over pesticides? We're slaughtering innocent insects! They just want to be left alone.

Even a tiny child can tell the difference between an insect, broccoli and boiling water. You are simply being antagonistic and argumentative, just for your own enjoyment and it's immature and annoying.

This conversation boils down to "dolphins are intellectual creatures who should be free vs. I wanna pet a dolphin and shouldn't have to put my ice cream down to do so, because I'm an awesome human being" crowds and it's a real shame.


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Isle Tell Ya
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December 11, 2012 11:35 am  

Why aren't we all up in arms over pesticides? We're slaughtering innocent insects! They just want to be left alone.

Even a tiny child can tell the difference between an insect, broccoli and boiling water. You are simply being antagonistic and argumentative, just for your own enjoyment and it's immature and annoying.

This conversation boils down to "dolphins are intellectual creatures who should be free vs. I wanna pet a dolphin and shouldn't have to put my ice cream down to do so, because I'm an awesome human being" crowds and it's a real shame.

So Jamison - enlighten me - tell me who decided which creatures should be valued and protected over others? Aren't all living things living? Who/what gives us the right to choose who is better? Missed that in some "Old" and "New" Books very many folks read like they're the bible.

And yes, I do find this entertaining - that why I'm here. Until the robots swing down and decide that we are less valuable than grapefruits and should be confined to a controlled setting.


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Isl girl
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December 11, 2012 11:40 am  

How about we take care of all the homeless people on our streets first? Then we should worry about the dolphins.


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Jamison
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December 11, 2012 11:44 am  

Why aren't we all up in arms over pesticides? We're slaughtering innocent insects! They just want to be left alone.

Even a tiny child can tell the difference between an insect, broccoli and boiling water. You are simply being antagonistic and argumentative, just for your own enjoyment and it's immature and annoying.

This conversation boils down to "dolphins are intellectual creatures who should be free vs. I wanna pet a dolphin and shouldn't have to put my ice cream down to do so, because I'm an awesome human being" crowds and it's a real shame.

So Jamison - enlighten me - tell me who decided which creatures should be valued and protected over others? Aren't all living things living? Who/what gives us the right to choose who is better? Missed that in some "Old" and "New" Books very many folks read like they're the bible.

And yes, I do find this entertaining - that why I'm here. Until the robots swing down and decide that we are less valuable than grapefruits and should be confined to a controlled setting.

There is a huge difference between protecting and enslaving. Yes all things should be respected. The bible doesn't respect animals, I do.

This is a very important issue for some folks, who have a lot of respect for dolphins and would rather see them released into their natural habitat instead of enslaved for tourists and dollars, but as long as you enjoy making strawman childish posts, just to be argumentative, that's all that matters, huh? Childish.


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Isle Tell Ya
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December 11, 2012 11:53 am  

Well - since you clearly are looking for an argument - I'll humor you for a few more minutes. You call it childish, it's actually philosophy. You may disagree with the philosophy but that doesn't make it childish. The fact that this issue of the value of what humans have defined as living things can be analogized with my simple examples of human arrogance simply strengthens my philosophical argument. It's an argument - a position - your failure to appreciate that may be considered by some to be childish. That being said, I understand and tend to agree with those who don't like enslaving animals. I would rather take Isl Girl's advise from her earlier post - lets focus our efforts and resources on solving the homeless issue in the VI - those are the hearings we should all be going to - then we can worry about the other mammals.

There's your argument. Xoxo


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Jamison
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December 11, 2012 12:31 pm  

How about we take care of all the homeless people on our streets first? Then we should worry about the dolphins.

Is there something going on that says if we don't allow Coral World to have captured dolphins, then the homeless will die? That seems like a pretty strange leap to make.


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Jamison
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December 11, 2012 12:34 pm  

There's your argument. Xoxo

That would be a great thing for you to do and if you post about helping the homeless, I won't jump in and start asking why we are so worried about them, when something else needs to be stopped before it happens, okay?

Believe in what you want and try and help others (any living thing), but to make something out of nothing, for no reason, is what comes off as childish to me. Good luck with your own crusade.


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Isl girl
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December 11, 2012 12:40 pm  

It just seems like people are putting a lot of energy into this issue, while there are bigger problems to put our focus on. Just my opinion.


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Isle Tell Ya
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December 11, 2012 12:45 pm  

Thanks Isl Grl and Jamison for the spirited discussion this morning. I enjoy hearing the many sides to issues arising day to day. Have a great day!


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Jamison
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December 11, 2012 12:47 pm  

It just seems like people are putting a lot of energy into this issue, while there are bigger problems to put our focus on. Just my opinion.

There are a lot of issues out there. There are more slaves in the world right now, than any other time in history, 2/3 of the world is at war including us in several countries, yep there are tons of problems.

The reason this issue is so strong right now, is once it's out of the box, you can't put it back in. If you can stop it now, it's the last chance. You'll never stop it aain, unless it get just awful for the dolphins.

Watch The Cove if you want to learn about the cruelty behind this. Heck, watch Earthlings if you want to learn about all the animal cruelty. I highly recommend them both.

I've certainly spent a lot more time cleaning dog kennels, then handing out soup and blankets, but at least we all do something. My issue is when somebody who does nothing (outside of texting donate during disaster) and wants to take a faux outrage when others do.


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