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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

dolphin season

I have a story on dolphin therapy in today's Washington Post, and have already received one outraged letter from a man whose daughter has benefited and who said that from the tone of this article, I couldn't possibly be the parent of a "special needs" child....There is a lot of fascinating stuff that didn't get in this story. Like the fact that Betsy Smith, the founder of the therapy, has since become a Zen Buddhist, increasing her objections to subjugating other "sentient beings," and that "The Cove," an amazing documentary on the slaughter of 23,000 dolphins a year in Taiji, Japan, starring ex-Flipper trainer Ric O'Barry, has been nominated for an Oscar -- and deserves one.
I was motivated to write this story by yet more evidence of this humongous, multi-faceted and completely unregulated industry that has grown up to cater to/exploit desperate parents of disabled children. In some cases, the entrepreneurs are clearly well-meaning, but that doesn't change the fact that fortunes are being spent, and in this case, animals cruelly exploited, for usually dubious results.