Letters to the Editor
I read the lead story on the front page of The Royal Gazette of November 14 with some distress.
Let me begin by acknowledging my conflict of interest — my daughter is one of the longest-serving team members of Dolphin Quest. I should add that my major at university was marine zoology and my dream at that time was to spend my adult life sitting on a Bermuda beach attempting to communicate with dolphins.
I often say that my alter animal is a dolphin.
The animal-rights groups that are now attacking animal facilities seem to have taken a shotgun approach to their witch-hunt, any organisation that is keeping animals in facilities must be bad. It is a naïve, shortsighted and sad approach to their stated objective and, indeed, is counterproductive to the long-term interests of the very animals they state they are trying to protect.
Before anyone makes up their minds on this, I urge them to undertake even basic research. Ask questions, go up to Dolphin Quest and see if the animals seem to be distressed. Witness their new programme where the dolphins will be given access to a large open-water pen and, in the long term, perhaps even given the potential of swimming around to the other side of Dockyard with no restraints.
Watch how these dolphins are reluctant to venture out on their own. See the love that their trainers manifest in dealing with their marine charges. Then ask about the research that is being done involving Dolphin Quest, here and in Hawaii. Learn how that research will benefit dolphins in the wild and help to preserve and protect the species.
Ask also about the research being facilitated by the Dolphin Quest team with Bermuda’s wild dolphins and how that research will benefit all dolphins.
Even more importantly, learn how man’s callous and lazy ways continue to pollute — read poison — the natural oceans that are home to so many dolphins. See how dolphins are still slaughtered in the hundreds by Japan and by some ruthless individuals. Ask why the hugely intelligent whales are still slaughtered for food, how the orcas are dying on the Pacific coast because of human action and how they may soon be totally wiped out.
Read all this and ask why any organisation would attack those trying to help this species, rather than all who are doing so much harm to them.
I submit that these apparently environmentally focused organisations are focused in the wrong direction. They are making inaccurate, harmful and hurtful accusations, and they are calling for action that may well be harmful to the long-term interests of the species they claim to be protecting.
I sincerely hope the likes of Expedia, booking.com and other organisations will undertake some basic research and push back at these malicious and generic attacks.
MICHAEL J. WINFIELD