I attended a protest with Compassion Works International on Saturday, October 21, 2017, protesting animals in captivity. We protested on the strip here in Las Vegas in front of the Mirage Hotel and Casino. From the CWI Facebook page: "We invite you to our main event to be held outside the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where dolphins, tigers, lions, and other animals are being held captive for the purpose of entertaining Las Vegas tourists. MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mirage and is the LARGEST EMPLOYER in the state of Nevada, has been unwilling to hear a call for change. " Also from CWI's Facebook page: "They can't protest, create law, or speak out against those who abuse them. They need YOU. Never stop fighting!". And that is why I was out there. Fighting for their freedom , BECAUSE THEY CAN'T.
Since we were out on the strip, there were lots of folks/tourists walking by our group. Some people walked by reading the protest signs and just kept walking. One lady clapped in support as she walked by. Another lady actually stopped to talk to us about her journey trying to become vegan. Some people just scurry by and don't look. And shockingly, some people actually got angry, lol. One gentleman shaking his head in disbelief, a couple walking by muttering and giving us the evil eye, and one gentlemen muttering something about us being thousands of miles from the ocean. Hmm. Then there are those who said things out of sheer ignorance. For instance "That is what they're bred for" (REALLY??!!) and "They got it pretty good in there though". Both of these statements made me very angry. And instead of standing on the rooftops SHOUTING the reasons why both of these statements are so wrong, I chose to write. To educate. Because as I said, these statements were made out of ignorance. People do not know any better. They haven't made the connection yet. Once upon a time I thought this way. So, that is what this blog post is about. Education. And why Freedom Matters to All.
I will never forget the first time that I started connecting the dots about animals being used for human entertainment. My sister had a sticker on the back of her van that stated "CIRCUSES ARE NO FUN FOR ANIMALS". At the time I didn't think much about it, but it always stuck in my mind. Now that I am vegan (meaning I do not eat or use any food or product that comes from or harms animals in any way), I am aware of the horror and degradation that these poor innocent animals endure for human entertainment, food and clothing. I cannot in good conscious contribute to any of it. I cannot "unknow " what I know.
Let's get back to the animal attractions at the Mirage, which is home to Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Habitat. This is where a baby dolphin was born in captivity recently. The calf's mother and older sister were also born in captivity at the habitat according to the Mirage website. So yes, unfortunately these poor creatures were bred to be entertainment as ignoramus #1 suggested. According to MojaveDolphins.com, the original stock of dolphins were wild caught. Stolen from their real homes and families. Now they are forced to entertain and breed more little entertainers in captivity. This is not normal. Dolphins do not come from pools inside of "dolphin habitats". A dolphin's natural habitat is THE OCEAN. A pool is like a cage for them.
Here is what the Mirage offers as "entertainment" with the dolphins (from the Mirage website);
1) Meet our new baby dolphin, housed with sister, mother grandmother and another female dolphin.
2) Become a trainer for a day, "You'll participate in hands-on activities including playing with, training, getting in the water with, and caring for our family of dolphins". Starting at $495.00, 5 Hour Experience, Fruit & Pastry Breakfast from Pantry Express, Poolside Lunch over-looking Dolphins & Digital Photos of Experience. (Mirage website)
3) Painting with the dolphins, "With a canvas in your hands, watch as our bottlenose friends bring their art to life. You will receive your masterpiece, a certificate and a photo of your experience." (Mirage website) Starting at $159
Dolphins are highly intelligent and social animals. They even have their own culture according to wikiipedia. They are also known to help each other out, when other dolphins or even other species are in trouble or ill. And, dolphins live long lives. According to DefendersofWildlife.org, a bottlenose dolphin can live up to 40 years. They can swim up to 50 miles per day in their natural habitat ( MojaveDolphins.com.) I'll say it again, a dolphin's home is in the ocean. A pool is a cage for them.
Have you ever wondered just how a dolphin is caught? The most common method of hunting and capturing dolphins is called dolphin drive hunting. This is done by hunters/fisherman chasing down pods of dolphins with boats into a bay or beach and closing off any escape routes with nets or boats. Some end up as meat, others end up in pools as entertainment. "Many dolphins do not survive the trauma of capture. Of those that do 53% die within three months of confinement". (MojaveDolphins.com) They die from intestinal disease, stress-related illness and chlorine poisoning. (MojaveDolphins.com)
So there are 9 dolphins currently at the Secret Garden and Habitat in 3 pools. They have no shelter from the sun and get to breathe in the fumes from the surrounding roads and highways.. Twelve dolphins have died while in captivity since it's opening in 1990. (MojaveDolphins.com) Food is commonly withheld to force dolphins to do tricks. Tell me again how good they have it, Ignoramous #2. If they could speak English, maybe they could tell us where they would rather be. Until then, humans should leave wildlife wild.
I could not find anything on the lions or tigers at the Secret Garden. However, MGM has made the decision to retire their lions. (MojaveDolphins.com) We protested for all of the animals in captivity everywhere. Freedom Matters To All.
Love and Light
All information and facts are from Wikipedia, Compassion Works International, Defenders of Wildlife.org, Mojave Dolphins.com & the Mirage website.