On World Wildlife Day 2017, the St. Lucia Animal Protection Society (SLAPS) would like to add its voice to those fighting to stop the dolphin facility at Pigeon Island.
Dolphins belong in the oceans where they can swim free and live with their families. It is cruel and selfish to keep these large, intelligent mammals in captivity, forcing them to live in tiny pens and perform tricks for the entertainment of a species that is supposed to be more evolved.
How the dolphins are treated in a particular facility and whether or not they are born in captivity are details not relevant to the larger issue. Each new facility that is built perpetuates the enslavement of dolphins; St. Lucia must not be part of that. The tide of public opinion has turned against the exploitation of animals for entertainment. Circuses all over the world are closing down thanks to the opposition of animal rights groups, and facilities like Sea World are now facing increasing pressure from these groups.
If we want to promote ourselves as an ecotourism destination – which is the future of tourism – we need to start making the right choices. Whale and dolphin watching in the open water is an ecotourism attraction; swimming with captive dolphins is not.