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Friday, June 24, 2011

Missed Opportunity by Atlanta Press

Missed opportunity for the media to tell both sides of the cetacean captivity issue!

On Saturday, June 18, 2011 the group “Free the Atlanta 11”, Pete Bethune of Earthrace Conservation Organization, and many other concerned citizens of Atlanta, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina joined in a worldwide protest against the captivity of all cetaceans (dolphins and whales).  The event was created on Facebook by the page “Save Misty the Dolphin” who called the event “Just Say No To The Dolphin Show” and invited anyone, anywhere around the world to protest the venues holding cetaceans in captivity on that day.  This would be the third event at the GA Aquarium held by the Free the Atlanta 11 group since the dolphin show opened in April 2011.

Group members started setting up the event outside the GA Aquarium entrance at about 9:00 a.m.  Once the large flat screen TV and generator were set up, security from the aquarium and the local police department started with their tactics to disrupt the educational event.  First, the aquarium had hired a DJ and had the music up so loud that it was difficult for the people in line for the aquarium to hear the person next to them.  Why was the music up so loud?  The aquarium obviously didn't want the people in line to hear our message.  Next, we were told we couldn’t run the generator until we had the Fire Marshal come out and inspect the generator.  Once that issue was solved, Pete Bethune spoke with one of the officials there and asked that they turn the music down.  They agreed to do so, if Pete promised that the group had no plans to “storm the entrance” of the aquarium.  Pete agreed and the music was turned off for approximately one hour.  During that time, Pete led the group in chants to help draw attention to the event.  With megaphone in hand, Pete would shout, “Come on Atlanta, whata ya say?” using his captivating New Zealand accent. The rest of the attendees responded with “Free the dolphins, free them today!”  Eventually security and aquarium employees lined the area in front of the group, ushering people past us as if to protect them.  Clearly there was no reason to do that except to keep the group from passing out their educational brochures and DVDs to those entering the aquarium.

Along with passing out our literature, the group came up with something that definitely caught the eye of those waiting in the long lines outside the aquarium, MESSAGE BOARDS!  The boards spelled out facts about dolphins in captivity and some little known facts about the pools where the dolphins are held during “off times” inside the aquarium.  Starting out with “DID YOU KNOW?” on the first set of boards and going on to tell about how two of the four pools are only 12 ft. deep.  You could see people in line straining to read what was coming up next on the message, waiting in anticipation for the next little bit of educational information they could read. At the beginning and end of the message line, information was posted about how dolphins swim 100 plus miles per day and dive to depths of 300 feet in the wild, which raises the question, “Is 12 ft., 14 ½ ft., or even 24 ft. (the aquarium pool depths) really enough for an animal that is used to diving up to 300 feet?”

Members of the group O.M.G., One More Generation, were also there to lend their support of the event. Several members of the group watched as they witnessed more than 20 people get out of line for the aquarium. 

Some information about PETE BETHUNE: 

New Zealand environmentalist, Pete Bethune, is the holder of the global circumnavigation speed record for a powerboat.  The record was broken in his boat, Earthrace, using 100% biofuel from sustainable sources to raise awareness of the use of renewable fuels.

Pete later took the boat, by then re-named Ady Gil, to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, where it aided in a campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet.  In a shocking twist that was reported around the world, the boat was rammed, and Bethune ended up being transported back to Japan to face charges including trespass, after he boarded the offending whaling vessel from a jet ski to demand recompense from the Captain. 

Returning to New Zealand with a two year sentence suspended for five years, Pete remained committed to the environment and marine conservation in particular.  He formed Earthrace Conservation to give everyone an opportunity to get involved and do something extraordinary to preserve and protect our oceans and all marine life. 

 In Conclusion:

Unfortunately, the press ignored our request for coverage of the event.  It’s quite obvious to those of us in attendance, that the press has no intention of telling both sides of this issue unless perhaps something drastic takes place.  Free the Atlanta 11 is determined to educate as many people about dolphin and whale captivity as possible and won’t rest until the dolphins and whales inside the GA Aquarium are rescued and given a chance to be rehabilitated and live in the wild as they were intended.


On another note, we would like to make you aware that one of the whale sharks, Yushan, currently being held captive at the GA Aquarium, is on a 24/7 watch due to complications.  This information was given to us by sources inside the GA Aquarium.  Whale Sharks and Beluga Whales seem to have a high mortality rate within those walls!  Will it be the dolphins next?  Is that what it will take to wake up the press and the public?  Certainly everyone loves dolphins and whales and has a desire to view them, but at what cost to the cetaceans? We are loving them to death! 

Free the Atlanta 11                                         

Becky Pugh
David Drolet
Sara McKay
Rob Garvey
Martha Brock

Friday, June 17, 2011

Marine Mammals In Captivity

"look at it from their point of view!"; "look at it through their eyes!" "and realize, you get to go home at night" "they don't", "that is now their home!"
The home of a dolphin and orca is the ocean and not in a concrete tank where the principals and motivations are not always about rehabilitation, rendering sick and injured animals back to health or conservation.
But solely about the selfish interests of making money and exploiting these innocent beautiful and captivating animals for show in the name of tourist dollars.
The ocean is where they were, where they belong and where they should and ultimately forever should be.
Please do not patronize the marine parks, their orca shows and their captive swim with the dolphin programs. Which are only in the interest of the individual and the money they can make.
It's incredibly cruel and heartbreaking how they came to be there in the first place and very sad to see them from the free life they once had to the now un-free one in which they live.

This was the write up that went with the video, posted by SealAngel.  Please visit their blog!

Monday, June 6, 2011

So....if scientific evidence is proving that dolphins are highly intelligent, why are we enslaving them in small concrete pools? When is the public going to understand that doing this to dolphins and whales is equivalent to putting humans in prison? Why is it so difficult to see the comparison? Why can't we just let them be free? The sad part about this video....most people who see it will agree with the reporter....they appear happy. What you don't see is the time they are not being played with, or trained. Dolphins are very social animals who crave that interaction!  With all the attention they are getting in this video, of course they look happy, not to mention the fact that they have to "smile", their facial composition won't allow them to frown.

Sorry I've been off here for so long. Many things are going on within the Free the Atlanta 11 organization. Gearing up for a huge educational rally on June 18th at the Georgia Aquarium from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. We will be trying a couple of different ways to educate the public on why cetaceans should not be held in captivity. If you are in or around the Atlanta area, consider joining us for an educational, peaceful rally against cetacean captivity!