Dolphin Sweaters? Really? - Oceana USA
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2009-02-17 00:00:00

Dolphin Sweaters? Really?

Last week, the LA Times reported that the Navy is considering using bottlenose dolphins and sea lions in Puget Sound, off the coast of Washington state, to protect a submarine fleet. The animals can be trained to alert human patrollers when they detect a swimmer or diver in the designated zone.Sounds pretty cool, right? Here’s the rub: Pacific bottlenose dolphins are normally not found farther north than Santa Cruz. In other words, if they were humans, they’d need wetsuits. That’s where Knitting for Dolphins comes in. It’s a group of activists doing just what their name suggests. And no, they aren’t kidding, or at least, they’re keeping a pretty straight face about it. But hold on, do they actually want their sweaters to outfit the marine mammals? I found just one hint of the answer on the KfD website: “Short of a dolphin ‘wetsuit’, such life-enhancing apparel would be a symbolic gift for the proposed drafted-dolphins who are used to a much sunnier and warmer climate.” There’s the word I was looking for: symbolic.The knitters received international attention in February 2007, when the same controversy surfaced. What do you think? Is the use of dolphins and sea lions outside their range inhumane? And is knitting them sweaters a laughable idea — or just pragmatic? Also, couldn’t the Navy create actual dolphin wetsuits?