Dolphins Dead Following Rave at Swiss Aquarium

Josh Loring

Police are investigating the deaths of two dolphins from a Swiss aquarium.  The dolphins died following a techno rave that was held at the facility earlier this month.  The first dolphin, Shadow, was found dead directly following the event, which led experts to suspect the cause of death was stress related due to the deafening music being played in close proximity.

It has been well documented that loud music is known to bother dolphins and other marine mammals in captivity who navigate by echolocation, which entails bouncing sonar waves off other objects to determine location, shape and distance.  The confined tank walls create an environment where the reverberations from their own sonar cause great stress.  Back in October, Senior Vice President of PETA, Dan Matthews, attended a fundraiser at the Georgia aquarium and witnessed the effect first hand.  While observing beluga whales, he witnessed one “squirming and twisting” more than the others.  He asked one of the aquarium staff members whether the music bothered them, which she replied, “Well, yes.  Especially the males―as soon as the music starts pounding, they go nuts and start attacking the harbor seals in the tanks.” 

Just two days after the death of Shadow, another dolphin, Chambers, suffered a “drawn out painful” death.  According to the aquarium keeper, Chambers began drifting under the water, shaking and foaming at the mouth.  Even a shot of adrenalin didn’t help, Chambers died one hour later.  This has led experts to suspect that perhaps rather than noise being the cause of death, the dolphins were poisoned by narcotics that were dropped in the tank by someone in attendance.  While the result of the deaths would not be stress related, this is simply another concern that arises when you expose aquarium life to settings and crowds that arguably should not be in an aquarium.

Instances like this have resulted in many experts and activists vocally objecting to aquariums holding events inside facilities that will expose the marine mammals to loud music.  PETA Germany had initially objected to the event, and asked the aquarium to cancel it, and is now poised to file a lawsuit.  Just this past week, a petition was circulated online in an attempt to stop a fundraising event at the Miami Seaquarium that was slated to be playing music from 8:00PM-4:00AM.  While people can protest and raise awareness about the effects of loud music in close proximity to marine mammal tanks, there appears to be a valid need for laws that will constitute these actions as abuse and torture.  Perhaps the sacrifice made by Shadow and Chambers will be what is needed to get the wheels turning.

5 Responses

  1. Another “perfect” example how other species suffer and die due to human ignorance…

  2. OK, so we allow children to be kidnapped from their parents and from their home.

    We allow their parents to be stabbed to death.

    We allow the children to be locked in a confined space for life.

    We force the children to entertain paying customers.

    We make millions off of the childrens’ shows and toss the children a few fishes as a reward for their labor.

    We send the children to their deaths either by a drug overdose or by psychological and physical torture. Or both.

    Then we want to pass laws disallowing only the drugs and the torture?

    How about the kidnapping?

    How about the murder of the parents?

    How about the life imprisonment?

    Why should it matter whether the children are called humans or dolphins?

    Aren’t we civilized and moral enough in 2011 to realize that, regardless of species, these dolphin children are innocent, intelligent, emotional beings who have been violated by the “loving” and “respectful” humans supposed to be protecting them from harm?

    Children of dolphins are designed to be born in the sea and are meant to stay there. Children of humans are designed to be wise, harmless, empathetic, and just enough to know this by now.

    All inhabitants of earth, who science and common sense and compassion assure us are distinctly different from vegetables and minerals, deserve basic rights — such rights as spelled out here: http://www.rpaforall.org/billofanimalrights.html

    RPA’S Draft Bill of Animal Rights (March 2011)

    All nonhuman animals shall henceforth be considered persons under the Constitution and laws of the United States of America and shall possess the following unalienable equal individual autonomy, ecology, and dignity rights. A person’s being nonhuman shall not constitute a Constitutional or legal basis for unequal treatment.

    Corporations, institutions, industries, and other nonliving entities shall henceforth not be considered persons under the Constitution and laws and shall possess no rights comparable to those of persons.

    No human being, or government or other human-created object or entity, shall abridge the autonomy right of any nonhuman animal not to be captured, sexually or reproductively molested (“bred”), owned, used, exploited, controlled, or manipulated, genetically or otherwise, by any human being or human-created object, device, or entity.

    No human being or government, or other human-created object, device, or entity, shall abridge the right of any nonhuman animal not to be injured, killed, or captured without due process of law as applicable to human beings. Self-defense may only constitute an exception to this provision in circumstances like those involving only humans.

    No human being, or government or other human-created object, device, or entity, shall abridge the right of any nonhuman animal to move about freely, seek food, water, or shelter, communicate, play, congregate, associate, migrate, court, reproduce, raise offspring, and otherwise behave as natural to the animal’s species unmodified by humans as through “breeding” or genetic manipulation.

    Any human being shall have standing to sue for enforcement of these rights on behalf of any nonhuman animal(s) and to redress grievances on behalf of any nonhuman animal(s) through the same institutions and procedures as established for human beings.

  3. Let’s face it, aquariums and zoos are not there for the animals, they exist for our viewing pleasure. It would be great to put human animals in cages and have nonhuman ones take a tour, the look on their faces would show amazement and disgust at the same time. Now, who is the intelligent species?!

  4. The effects of stress, such as loud noise, on animals is a vastly understated threat to their well-being, I think.

    In my part of the world, it’s especially vital this time of year, when wild animals are struggling to survive the winter.

    Regardless of where you are, please, enjoy wildlife only from a distance during the winter.

    Even if the animals don’t “look” stressed, the even slight increase in anxiety because of human presence can push things in the wrong direction. They literally can’t spare an extra ounce of energy.

  5. This is sickening. And to think that they took the party over to Miami Seaquarium! Wretched.

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