By Michelle Helou
Many celebrities have used their fame for good and supported the movement against dolphin captivity. Sean Penn, Cher, Ellen DeGeneres, Charlize Theron, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Ariana Grande are just a few on a long list. However, there are still celebrities who unfortunately continue to support the dolphin and whale captivity industry. Often because they simply don’t know that dolphins suffer in captivity.
This is a decision that’s out of step with popular opinion in Australia. For example, a Galaxy poll conducted in late 2015 found four out of five Australians are not in favour of dolphin captivity, and two out of three Australians directly oppose the practice. That’s probably why more than a hundred people have taken to social media and left messages on Hey Geronimo’s Facebook page in the last 24 hours, asking the band to cancel their performance, and stop supporting the dolphin captivity industry.
If Hey Geronimo listens and cancels the upcoming gig, they will be in good company. Numerous bands have refused to perform or cancelled appearances at SeaWorld in the United States, including Pat Benatar, the Beach Boys, Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, and Heart. And a number of big name Finnish bands recently cancelled their performances at a marine park after learning of the animal welfare concerns related to keeping dolphins in captivity.
Closer to home, the Sydney Swans recently cancelled a planned visit to a marine park in NSW after AFD supporters and members of the public contacted them to voice their concerns.
While many people know that dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals in the world, some are still not aware of the potentially devastating effects of captivity. According to Professor George Pilleri, when they are put in tanks, a dolphin’s brain reacts in the same way humans stuck in small prison cells do. They may develop neuroses and depression, and have been recorded bashing their heads against walls, and grating their teeth against the side of tanks. The largest Australian government study ever conducted on the issue found dolphins in captivity have suffered “stress, behavioural abnormalities, high mortalities, decreased longevity and breeding problems.”
Now that they have been made aware of these animal welfare concerns, Hey Geronimo has a choice. They can continue to support the dolphin captivity industry, and perform at a venue that has dolphins that were bred into tiny, concrete tanks for entertainment. Or they can choose to take a stand, and educate their fans to think twice about supporting dolphin captivity.
When a celebrity agrees to participate in events held at marine parks they are endorsing the park itself. Furthermore, they are passing on the message that they also support dolphin captivity.
Australia for Dolphins has attempted to contact Hey Geronimo’s management by phone and email multiple times, but are yet to receive a response. But you can help.
Simply let the band know what you think by leaving a firm but polite message on their Facebook page. Tell them you don’t support the dolphin captivity industry, and that a carnival featuring loud music, bright lights and live bands playing well into the night is not in the best interests of the 32 dolphins currently confined at Sea World.