This picture is more than enough for me to never set foot in any Sea World or other similar establishment that holds dolphins or other cetaceans. The whales (yes, dolphins are whales, as are orcas, which are better known as “killer whales”) that they receive often are from Japan, where these animals, who have shown remarkable intelligence and may very well be much more intelligent than us humans, are rounded up using barbaric methods. (note that I am not entirely sure this picture is from Taiji but the dolphin slaughter there is no different than this photo). Those animals who are deemed fit for captivity and training (they mostly pick the bottlenose dolphin) are taken into captivity and bought by various companies found worldwide for as much as $150,000 (INCLUDING Sea World) to be part of their “dolphin shows”. Research has shown that cetaceans (scientific word for dolphins and their genetic cousins) held in captivity die sooner, and quite often very literally commit suicide by forcing themselves not to breathe any more (ever wonder why there’s so many shamu’s?).
Those dolphins who don’t make the cut (no pun intended) end up just like those in this picture. They are killed violently and brutally (despite what the Japanese government says about how they’re killed “instantaneously” by the fishermen) and very often are then sold as food to the human population, and are labeled as meat from the larger whales. The reason the meat is falsely labeled is because dolphin meat contains a very toxic level of mercury that over time can kill a human and cause horrible birth defects in pregnant women. Mercury is the single most toxic substance on earth (not including radioactive substances). The amount for intake considered safe is .003 parts per million. Which means that for every million parts of say water (or whatever other substance the mercury is mixed in with) there are 0.003 parts of mercury. That’s the amount you get when you eat most fish, or less than that. Dolphin meat has a mercury content of 2000 parts per million. That’s 666,666 times the amount of mercury found in edible fish.
The Japanese government is covering up a conspiracy to replace the fish meat in their markets with this dolphin meat, facing fear of a fishing industry that decimates and will within 40 years utterly destroy the fish population in the ocean. They want to replace their fish with dolphin. Doing so will cause widespread birth defects and an illness that will render millions handicapped and just as many dead.
This is why the Japanese government wants whaling legal again.
If you want to know more about this subject, go see the documentary entitled The Cove.