As discussed in this Digital Journal article
published on Dec. 1, the dolphin attack on a young girl that occurred at SeaWorld last month served only to highlight the lack of regulation governing cetacean-human interaction.
But Donald Trump who appeared on the Fox & Friends show this morning, implied the attack was a fairly insignificant one, that he hoped did not result in a lawsuit. Trump's response can be seen in the video
above (about one minute in), and took place with Fox & Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade.
"It was amazing the way that dolphin released her," said Trump.
"Good point!'' responded Kilmeade.
"That dolphin went after the box and released that little girl beautifully," added Trump.
It caused Kilmeade to cheer, "If you see that dolphin -- pet him!"
Astonishingly, Trump was not quite through offering his opinion of the attack:
When you watch the beauty of that -- the dolphin had the hand by mistake ... and immediately released it. I thought there was something very beautiful about that.
Like SeaWorld, who according to Jillian Thomas' father "downplayed the whole thing," the conversation between Fox & Friends and Donald Trump implied that the attack was of little consequence -- to either the young girl, or the dolphin. An opinion that jibed with several prominent marine mammal experts.
In 2003, an investigative report called Biting the Hand that Feeds
was released by Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Its findings revealed just how detrimental petting pools were for both humans and marine mammals:
During our periodic visits to SeaWorld, we have observed a wide variety of items actually entering the mouths of Petting Pool dolphins, including several pairs of glasses, paper fish containers, a stone, a baby’s pacifier, coins, a metal park souvenir, a bottle top and a hair barrette. Each of these has the potential to cause gastrointestinal blockage, poisoning or even death.
Furthermore, the report stated:
Since the suspension of the SWTD Regulations in 1999, there has been no legal requirement for public display facilities in the US to report injuries incurred by visitors in human-dolphin interaction programs to the authorities, nor for the facilities to provide contact details to enable visitors to report complaints or injuries themselves.
Yet media and historical reports explained the conservation groups, have revealed "a range of serious injuries caused to visitors by captive dolphins in interactive programs, including cuts, bruises, broken bones, bites and rakes."
Visitors were even spotted "holding young children, and even babies, out over the pool to better enable them to touch the dolphins." In one case the report added, this "resulted in a child being hit full in the face by a dolphin interacting roughly with another."
But perhaps the most damning indication of an incident waiting to happen, came from an inside source. In A Dolphin Bites Back
, Tim Zimmermann spoke directly with a SeaWorld insider specifically about the dolphin attack on Jillian.
The source told Zimmermann that "dolphins have increasingly received more and more of their total base of food from these public feedings." As a result the SeaWorld insider implied, these are hungry marine mammals leading to dominant dolphins battling for food and being aggressive.
To make light of the attack on Jillian and her parents' fears then, is ignorance at the deepest level when history and research reveals the profound problems surrounding petting and feeding pools. The issue is of sufficient significance that some marine mammal experts and scientists believe that without stringent government regulations, the next attack on a young child, could be a fatal one.
May Donald Trump and Fox & Friends never live to regret their blasé attitudes.