Group calls for ban on dolphin therapy

October 28, 2007

A British conservation group wants a ban on dolphin-assisted therapy, arguing there is no proof it helps the sick and disabled.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said that the therapy -- swimming with wild or captive dolphins -- involves "two highly vulnerable groups." In a report, the society cites studies that show the therapy can be dangerous.

"This is due to the fact that dolphins are wild animals and are unpredictable and that people have been injured swimming with dolphins, sometimes seriously," the group said in a statement. "Disease transmission is also a concern."

Dolphins have infected humans with brucellosis, while they have sometimes been infected with chickenpox after close contact with people.

As the therapy becomes more popular, dolphins are being taken into captivity to serve as therapy animals, the society said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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