CDNN :: Dolphin therapy a dangerous fad?
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ATLANTA, Georgia (23 Dec 2007) — People suffering from chronic mental or physical disabilities should not resort to a dolphin "healing" experience, warn two researchers from Emory University. Lori Marino, senior lecturer in the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Program, has teamed with Scott Lilienfeld, professor in the Department of Psychology, to launch an educational campaign countering claims made by purveyors of what is known as dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT).
PADI-affiliated Go Eco dolphin parks including Anthony's Key Resort in Honduras and Hugh Parkey in Belize promote and sell "interactive swim with dolphins" experiences to tourists.
"Dolphin-assisted therapy is not a valid treatment for any disorder," says Marino, a leading dolphin and whale researcher. "We want to get the word out that it's a lose-lose situation for people and for dolphins."
While swimming with dolphins may be a fun, novel experience, no scientific evidence exists for any long-term benefit from DAT, Marino says. She adds that people who spend thousands of dollars for DAT don't just lose out financially they put themselves, and the dolphin, at risk of injury or infection. And they are supporting an industry that outside of the United States takes dolphins from the wild in a brutal process that often leaves several dolphins dead for every surviving captive...