Congressional Hearing To Look Into The Education And Conservation Aspects Of Captivity
The House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife, led by Del. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-GU), will hold the oversight hearing entitled "Marine Mammals in Captivity: What Constitutes Meaningful Public Education?"
The hearing is the result of a confluence of factors – the tragic death of a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando in February, the Academy Award win in early March for “The Cove,” a documentary about the Japanese dolphins hunts and the connection with captive display and swim-with-the-dolphin programs, and the announcement in mid-March that the National Marine Fisheries Service would be revising its Marine Mammal Protection Act permitting regulations, including those related to public display.
WDCS heralds this unprecedented opportunity to provide comments and encouragement to both NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service), responsible for managing whales and dolphins in the wild and issuing permits relating to the taking and importing marine mammals for public display, and the U.S. Congress. WDCS is calling for specific and stricter regulations and oversight for the public display industry in the United States.
WDCS campaigns against capture, trade and confinement of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).
We believe that it is inherently cruel to restrict such social, intelligent and wide-ranging animals in captivity, where their physical, social and mental needs cannot be met. Furthermore, captivity is a threat to populations in the wild that are targeted by live capture operations for removal for dolphin interaction programs worldwide.
Marine mammal protection and the captive display industry have been in the spotlight recently with the release and worldwide acclaim of "The Cove”, which earned an Oscar for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards in March. This gripping film exposes Japan's horrific dolphin slaughter and its role in the captive display and swim-with-dolphin industry. WDCS published a report in April 2006, entitled Driven by Demand, which details this devastating connection between the dolphin drive hunts and captive facilities worldwide.
And with recent events illustrating the risks to both animals and humans of maintaining whales and dolphins in captivity, we are calling for a variety of regulatory provisions to address the current lack of oversight of public display facilities in the U.S.
Help us send the message to Congress and NMFS that it is time to shine a light on the public display industry and reevaluate the educational value of these facilities in a modern society!
House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife
Oversight Hearing on "Marine Mammals in Captivity: What Constitutes Meaningful Public Education?"
Tuesday, April 27, 2010, at 10:00 a.m.
Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building
What you can do!
Action! Thank Congresswoman Bordallo and her Subcommittee for taking on this issue and providing the opportunity to air our concerns about the public display of whales and dolphins! A sample letter is provided below.
Action! Contact NMFS by providing public comments to the Federal Register notice on revising permitting regulations. The promulgation of specific regulations for public display are long overdue! The notice and scoping document can be found at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/mmpa_regulations.htm. Comments are due by June 10 and can be emailed to email@example.com.
Action! Provide written comments for the public record of the hearing. Tell Congress how you feel about whales and dolphins in captivity! Send all comments for the record to the clerk of the Subcommittee (Katherine.Romans@mail.house.gov). Comments for the public record may be submitted until 10 days after the hearing (so submit your comments by May 7!). You can even just send in the sample letter below!
Action! Watch and support the hearing via live webcast on the Subcommittee website, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. The link for the live webcasts is here: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=273&Itemid=
Action! Contact your individual congressional representatives and make them aware of the hearing, and the issues. Encourage them to attend, and thank them for the opportunity to share your comments with them. Congressional representatives can be located and contacted directly at the following link: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Chair Madeleine Z. Bordallo (Guam)
Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife
187 Ford House Office Building
Phone: (202) 226-0200 Fax: (202) 225-1542
Dear Chairwoman Bordallo:
I write to thank you for your interest and dedication to exploring the issues associated with marine mammals in captivity, and chairing the congressional hearing addressing the educational value of public display.
I am very concerned that the current regulatory provisions do not hold public display facilities accountable to the education and conservation mandate required under the Marine Mammal Protect Act (MMPA). For too long, these facilities have operated without oversight and accountability. Public Display under the MMPA is an 'exception' to the prohibition on 'take' and as such, it is a privilege, not a right and requires heightened scrutiny and accountability at all levels.
Marine mammals are a public trust and not the private property of any facility or economic interest, and the public is entitled to oversight and input into decisions regarding activities involving all marine mammals in captivity.
I also believe that no whale or dolphin belongs in captivity, and permits should no longer be issued for the capture and import of whales and dolphins from the wild for public display. The U.S. public display industry has not captured any cetaceans from U.S. waters since 1993. It is time to prohibit captures and imports from the wild.
I thank you for your kind attention to my concerns, and appreciate the opportunity to submit comments to you and your Subcommittee.
Related programme links:Captivity
Killing and trade