Olympic Animal Cruelty?

Olympic Animal Cruelty?

The Dolphin Kick? Is this sportsmanship? The media brim with reports of Americans winning Olympic gold medals by tormenting Tursiops truncatus. Stomping svelte swimmers is the most revolting athletic competition since the Canadians introduced Baby Seal Harvesting as a demonstration sport in the Winter Olympics.

Dolphin kicking is accomplished with an explosive whipping motion running from the hips to the toes. Twenty years ago this “sport” was known as the “Berkoff Blast,” after originator David Berkoff, and was “perfected” by Jesse Vassallo of Puerto Rico and Daichi Suzuki of Japan, a country infamous for dolphin butchery.

Dolphin Kicking by members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swim Team has not gone unremarked:

 We’re seeing things we would not normally expect to see, but the world will respond, including us.
–Britain’s head coach Bill Sweetenham.

Engineers at George Washington University studying fluid dynamics recently calculated that more than 75 percent of the propulsive force of the dolphin kick comes from snapping the ankle.
Corey Binns, Popular Mechanics

If you have the ability to flip your ankle like a ballet dancer, you’ll get more whiplash action.
Dr. Rajat Mittal, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at George Washington University

When the music stops and the cheerful crowds go home, the dolphins resume lying listlessly on the surface of the water, staring into the barren concrete wall of their tank.
Dolphin Care, UK

The public is taken in by the dolphin’s ‘smile’ and assumes they are gentle, willing playmates. But make no mistake – these are wild animals and the smile is simply an anatomical quirk; it is not a reflection of the dolphin’s emotional state.
World Society for the Protection of Animals

Image by Mike Licht (who doesn’t always remember to look for the “Dolphin-Free” logo on the tuna can). Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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