I have watched dolphins perform at marine parks; I have interacted with them in a swim-along program, and, in what must come as a shock to militant dolphin protectionists, I also care deeply about their right to a peaceful coexistence with us on this planet.
Would I have cared as much for these creatures had I never seen them up close? Would I have bothered to learn as much as I learned about their unique physiology and behavior had it not been delivered as educational entertainment during a seaquarium performance? Would I have boycotted tuna fish had I not been informed in my swim-along briefing that dolphins were being slaughtered in the hunt for schools of tuna?
The fact is that the very same programs that dolphin activists hope to abolish are, due to the public awareness and concern they arouse, saving substantial numbers of dolphins in the wild. I am convinced that the few hundred held captive for humans to marvel at and interact with serve to save the increasing number of dolphins and whales that swim free.