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Should animals, specifically dolphins, be used to help treat human disorders such as depression, bi polar, or mental retardation? There are many questions about this issue in regards to effectiveness, ethics, safety and cost. “Swimming with dolphins” could be life altering event, because it can “supposedly help treat disorders such as depression, Down syndrome, epilepsy, and AIDS” (Herzog 19).People pay lots of money to have their child or other family member spend time with these creatures hoping that they can help. In some cases, it is last ditch effort to somehow help their children. The end result of swimming with dolphins is not what people would expect. Studies have shown that dolphin therapy does very little to help treat these diseases and disorders. Also it is not right to hold these animals against their will and force them to do things that are not part of their natural habitat. Even though dolphins seem to be these calm and fun animals to swim with they can still become dangerous and hurt anybody near them. Dolphins should not be used for therapy because it is proven that it does little to no help for the person undergoing the therapy; it is not moral to make an animal do what it was not intended to do when it was born into the world to do, because of this it can lead to safety concerns for all parties involved.
Dolphin therapy has not lived up to its expectations nor has it been proven to be effective in helping humans with certain disorders. The studies that have been conducted to show that dolphin therapy has been effective have been proven to be invalid.“German scientists observed sessions between the mentally challenged and dolphins during their therapy sessions and results concluded that most of the time the dolphin ignored the children” (Herzog 19), and even greater periment done by Lori Marino and Scott Lilienfeld. Marino has been studying dolphins for more than twenty years and Lilienfeld is a clinical psychologist. Together they assessed whether dolphin therapy had an effect on humans. After going through many experiments they found numerous mistakes in everyone they looked at such as same sample sizes, lack of objective measures ofimprovements, inadequate control groups, and researcher conflict of interest. Lori Marino and Scott Lilien feld together concluded that there is no valid evidence to say that dolphin therapy is effective. To help support their conclusion “Dolphin therapy is an unregulated industry is not certified or approved by any recognizable psychological or medical organization” (Herzog 22), because there is no concrete evidence to give this kind of therapy a reason to be recognized or certified. If all these studies that showed dolphin therapy is effective then why has no one certified or licensed it? Dolphin therapy has not produced good enough results to be recognized. (Herzog 18-22).
Would you like to be held against your will and forced to do something that you are familiar with? Dolphins in the United States are usually born into captivity but in other places in the world they are captured. After being captured they are forced to go through rigorous training to become therapy animals. This training is very dangerous to the dolphin’s health and can even result in the death of the dolphin, “seven dolphins die for every one dolphin that makes it to a cetacean Guantanamo” (Herzog 22). This “Guantanamo” is swimming in circles around concrete tank for the rest of their lives and after they die another one will take its place. These round ups and training sessions cause great emotional stress on the animal due to the fact they are taken out of their natural environment and forced to do things they never have done before. “There is no rock solid evidence to make these round ups justifiable” (Souter 11). It would make sense that if dolphins did for a fact have a magic healing power to capture them and use them. then by all means use them, but there is not (Herzog 18-22).
People generally have a choice to enter a profession to help people, dolphins do not. The effects of being held against their will can be seen in the dolphins behavior. During sessions it was observed that the communications between the dolphins was much less then recorded while in their natural habitat. Dolphins communicate using ultrasonic waves which are suppose to help humans. During a session, fewer than ten seconds of communication was recorded which is not even close to being beneficial. It is not right to hold these animals against their will and force them to do something that they were not brought up to do (Herzog 18-22).
Dolphin therapy can also pose a major risk to the patient. Like all other animals, dolphins can become very aggressive. The dolphin could attack the child it is trying to heal. “A recent study found that half of the four hundred people who worked professionally with marine mammals suffered traumatic injuries” (Herzog 22). No matter how much training these animals receive there always going to have their natural instinct. If they feel threatened they will defend themselves. People going through therapy have been bitten, slapped, and rammed by dolphins that have snapped (Herzog 19).Dolphins are already under huge amounts of stress from being in captivity and now have deal with humans with problems. Some humans with certain disorders do not know their own limits or realize what they are doing and can end pushing the dolphin past its limits causing it to act out. The participant could even contract certain skin diseases from touching the dolphin. Parents use this as a last effort to help their children and they do not think of the consequences. All of this is not worth risking injury for something that has no rock solid evidence that it is effective(Herzog 18-22).
There are better ways then dolphin therapy to help a person suffering from certain disorders. They are safer and more cost effective ways. Swimming with dolphins would be a memorable experience for the whole family. The vacation itself would probably help the person more. People need to weigh the cost and benefits in this situation. The cost clearly outweighs the benefits. “Certain animals can help humans if they are used the right way” (Hynes 1). Other animals such as dogs can help humans more than dolphins. With strict monitoring and knowing the limits of the animals plays a major role in animal therapy. Dolphins however are not the answer. “A week of dolphin therapy will not straighten the spine, heal the troubled mine, or prevent epileptic seizures. Save your money; save a dolphin” (Herzog 23).
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