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The daily-deal company Groupon continues to give animals a raw deal by promoting Sea World – a company that imprisons animals, such as dolphins and polar bears, for the sake of human entertainment.
In nature, dolphins swim vast distances daily with their extended families. At Sea World on the Gold Coast, they see the same enclosed walls every day of their lives. Dolphins navigate by echolocation, but in tanks, the reverberations from their own sonar bounce off the walls. Dolphins in captivity are often dosed with antacids to treat stress-induced ulcers.
Polar bears – who should be roaming over an enormous Arctic territory and swimming for miles in the ocean – are wholly unsuited to confinement as well as Australia's climate. Captive polar bears spend much of the day pacing, walking in tight circles, swaying, rolling their heads, and showing other signs of psychological distress.
Sea World also offers the opportunity to hug and pet dolphins and even ride sea lions – activities which do not support animal welfare or conservation.
Lori Marino, a former senior lecturer in neuroscience and behavioural biology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, perhaps said it best:
If you had to design an animal that was not a good fit for a theme-park environment, a dolphin would be it. … There is no amount of space you can give them in a marine park that is anywhere near what they need.
In fact, in 1985, the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare found that cetaceans in captivity suffer from stress, behavioural abnormalities, high mortality rates, decreased longevity, and reproductive problems.
When the committee recommended that no more dolphinaria be built and that those in existence be phased out, facilities in South Australia, Western Australia, and Victoria followed suit. Today, Sea World is one of only two facilities nationwide that continue to defy committee recommendations and imprison dolphins.
Groupon has stated, "We listen carefully to all customer feedback about the deals we feature". It's time we made it very clear that compassionate people everywhere want nothing to do with Sea World – or any other business that profits from animal exploitation.
Please urge Groupon to stop promoting Sea World.