Documentary: former dolphin trainer reveals hidden cruelty behind the industry


An ex-trainer exposes the lies the dolphin industry tells to make tourists content with animal cruelty – and to make money

Governments and the travel industry need to show that tourism can be a force for good by banning cruel captivity

Fooled by a smile

Our explosive new documentary centers on the experience of Lorena López, who turned her back on the captive dolphin industry after a successful career as a trainer and is now a dedicated campaigner for the rights of marine mammals.

She reveals how both trainers and tourists are being actively misled by venues, who are willing to do or say anything to maximize profit from the cruelty of keeping these intelligent, social animals locked up.

An industry built on suffering

Dolphins in captivity are forced to endure endless cruelty.

At venues in Mexico, where Lorena worked, dolphins are:

  • deprived of food as part of the training process for performing
  • forced to breed and then traumatically separated from their calves at a very young age
  • used as live surf boards, surrounded by screaming crowds of people with rock-concert volume music
  • made to endure a never-ending stream of tourists seeking that perfect selfie for social media
  • forced to live in pools many thousands of times smaller than their natural habitat

Learn more about the cruelty of dolphin captivity here.

Dolphin in captivity in Mexico

A dolphin forced to interact with tourists at an entertainment venue in Mexico

Building back better

There are around 3,000 dolphins in captivity around the world, suffering in the name of entertainment. With tourism halted as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, caused by our exploitation of wild animals, the tourism industry has an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and create a sustainable, cruelty-free future.

Nick Stewart, our global head of campaigns for dolphins, says:

Right now, we have a prime opportunity to protect wildlife used as entertainers. Governments and the travel industry need to show that tourism can be a force for good, by banning cruel captivity, phasing out support for wildlife entertainment and trade, and supporting the goal to make this the last generation of wild animals to suffer for our entertainment. It’s better for animals, people, the planet and ultimately the resilience of the tourism industry itself.”

Dr Yolanda Alaniz Pasini, scientist consultant for COMARINO, who is also featured in our documentary, says: 

“Currently in Mexico, there are three main activities with dolphins that are fundamentally cruel; the entertainment shows for the public, swimming with dolphins and dolphin assisted therapy – this is all fuelled by the international travel industry and tourists who are paying for suffering.”

Double your impact to end their suffering

Captive dolphins are in lockdown for life. Throughout the world an estimated 3,000 dolphins have been bred in captivity or taken from the wild to be used for entertainment in tourism venues. Often forced to perform completely unnatural tricks through food deprivation, like leaving the water to spin in circles, be petted or wear oversized glasses, dolphins suffer tremendously in captivity.

This June, have your donation matched for double the impact! 

You have the power to help end the suffering of dolphins exploited for entertainment. 

Donate now

Petition: End the wildlife trade

Act now

Indicates required field

We take your privacy seriously. We do not distribute or sell your email address to anyone. View our privacy statement.

Further reading