Dolphin Assisted Therapy

27/10/19

The idea of using tanked dolphins interacting with humans who have severe emotional issues or autism as a therapeutic interventions goes back to the 1970's and it rapidly took off in the 80's and 90's. According to the WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society), this therapy treats children or adults with physical, emotional and mental disabilities in a controlled program that uses dolphins in captivity or sometimes part of a population living in the wild. Participants can pay large amounts for a few minutes in the tank with the 'trained' animal who act almost as therapists.

Keeping such large and wild animals in (to them) tiny tanks for human amusement is bad enough but the benefits claimed for this practice are based on the usual anecdotal stories and a couple of very dubious, very small scale studies. Other, more robust studies, show no effect other than it risks the patients safety from potentially aggressive, powerful, wild animals and from contracting disease due to swimming in water full of pathogens.

The practice has evolved into the ludicrous idea of Dolphin Assisted Birth. There were several reports in the early 2010's of pregnant women who planned to give birth in the pacific next to a colony of animals who have been known to kill their own offspring, in waters that contained several species of shark alongside many other venomous or poisonous creatures. The service is offered by the "Sirius Institute" of Hawaii, who claim that several instances of births occurring with dolphins happened in the Black Sea and in the Red Sea, but as yet have not been done in Hawaii.

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