As an ex-head dolphin trainer for a leading leisure company which owned three major dolphinaria, I believe that the passing of this bill would be a huge stride forward for the State of Hawaii.
The captive cetacean industry has been hiding behind the “education” mask for decades, justifying its existence by promoting its breeding programmes as conservation – totally ludicrous. The industry needs to wake up to the changing public perception of the aqua circus - for a dolphin/orca/beluga performance is indeed a circus.
Some in the scientific community are not comfortable with this comparison. Begging the question, are they blinded by logic, or by their loyalty to an industry that provides them with paid research opportunities? Either way, they choose not to recognise the mental torment that all captive cetaceans suffer.
Believe me when I say that nothing creates more stress for a cetacean than being imprisoned in a concrete box. It results in deep psychological problems that often lead to self-harm and attempted suicide – the latter being a phenomenon that the captive cetacean industry vehemently denies, despite trainer testimonies to the contrary.
I also strongly disagree with those who argue that captivity extends a cetacean’s lifespan. This is nothing less than a blatant lie - propaganda circulated to dupe the public into attending lucrative cetacean performances.
Hats off to the State of Hawaii House of Representatives for making an important step toward calling time on this vile industry.
Trainer featured in The Perfect Pair Dolphin Trilogy