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The Bahamas

In February 2017 we wrote to three tour operators in The Bahamas to inform them of the concerns related to ‘swim with dolphin’ activities. Not one has replied to us to address these concerns. We reported our concerns on our Facebook page to bring to public awareness that these companies profit from captivity; Majestic Tours, Leisure Travel and Tours Limited, Dan Knowles Tours.

Dear Majestic Tours, We are writing to you as a collective group of concerned cetacean activists from the UK with regards to your promotion of ‘Swim with Dolphins’ packages across The Bahamas. From your website it’s abundantly clear that you value the captive entertainment industry, not in a conservation sense but as a very lucrative and profitable addition to your travel portfolio, so much so that you specify in detail your ‘Swim with Dolphins’, misleading your customers by your lack of transparency, when every paying customer should know the truth behind the captive entertainment industry.

Below are two extremely informative reports documenting the indisputable suffering caused by keeping captive marine mammals, both clearly demonstrate that dolphins live an unbelievably stressful and often dramatically short life at the hands of their captures, having been ripped from their oceans families and subjected to an incarceration for the remainder of their lives in the most unnatural of surroundings: http://www.humanesociety.org http://www.bornfree.org.uk

To clarify: • Captive dolphins have a proven lower survival rate than in the wild. • Captive dolphins are unable to use their natural sonar, nor can they communicate, hunt, roam, mate, support, educate and play as they would in the wild with their own pod. • Captive dolphins DO NOT thrive in captivity, the stress of their confinement often results in behavioural abnormalities, illness, and lowered resistance to disease and death. • Captive dolphins held in sea pens may harm the local marine environment – a result of dolphin waste contributing to excessive algal growth. • Captive dolphins cannot escape from human interaction in captivity. They suffer immeasurably when forced to be petted or swim with humans and are regularly and unnaturally medicated to combat depression, distress and anxiety. • Captive dolphins are constantly at risk of being injured by humans and indeed other captive dolphins. Their delicate skin is regularly damaged by human fingernails or jewellery and once again needs further unnatural medication.

• Captive dolphins spend their natural lives swimming up to 100km each day with their pods in the ocean. A life in captivity steals them of their right to freedom.

Countless Marine Mammal Experts across the globe including the most highly respected Dr Lori Marino and Dr Naomi Rose believe that cetaceans should no longer be held in captivity, as such confined conditions and deprivation of their natural habitats and ocean families cause considerable suffering both physically and psychologically. In fact many countries agree with their proven theories and are thankfully phasing out cetacean captivity, recognising that dolphins and whales are highly intelligent animals who do not and should not have to adapt to a life in captivity.

As UK based tourists and consumers we are in touch with British legislation and opinion. The UK government phased out dolphin captivity for both moral and ethical reasons well over a decade ago, with absolutely no possibility of such a return to the dark ages of cetacean captivity. Strict regulations of all UK facilities make it impossible for the dolphin companies to operate and more and more European tourists are becoming aware of the horrors of captivity and turning away from such facilities.

In Taiji, Japan, the fishermen’s six month long dolphin drive hunt takes place daily from September to March whereby thousands of dolphins are needlessly driven into a local cove so that a selection process can take place for dolphin traders. These brokers/trainers act on behalf of marine parks all over the world. They pay exorbitant prices for captive dolphins which in turn continues to fuel the captive entertainment industry. The remainder of the dolphin families caught during each drive hunt pay the ultimate price with their lives, matriarchs, seniors, juveniles, the young and even nursing mothers and babies. There’s no escape for these beautiful animals who are slaughtered so that a chosen few can entertain the general public. Hunts also take place in Cuba, Russia and the Solomon Islands.

These are the facts, so given all of the above we urge you to consider the suffering and devastation caused by dolphin captivity. As a modern company how can you justify any financial gain from this cruel and sinister industry? In addition, could you please clarify why you promote and exploit such industries in poor and developing countries that have very vague captivity regulations?

As UK consumers, we are extremely disappointed by your involvement in this barbaric industry and will be encouraging the general public in all ways possible, both in person and across social media networks, to inform them your company continue to profit from the imprisonment and persecution of these precious wild animals.

We would welcome any comments you may have regarding the many points raised in this letter and urge you, in an ever changing and awakening world to turn discontinue your support of such a vile industry which disrespects and exploits dolphins purely for the gratification and entertainment of humans.

Yours sincerely, Dolphin Freedom UK

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