Stop Endangering Dolphins and Sea Lions for Military Purposes

Sea Lion Training

Target: Ed Buzyna, spokesman of the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, and the United States Navy

Goal: Stop the use of dolphins and sea lions by the U.S. Navy for militant purposes, including the detection of sea mines

The U.S. Navy continues to use dolphins and sea lions to detect underwater explosives, despite statements released in 2012 that they were working to replace sea animals with drones. Recent rumors have arisen that the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program has plans to send trained dolphins to the controversial waters of the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea. Whether or not the rumors are true, this should serve as a poignant reminder that using marine mammals for militant purposes puts these animals in unacceptable danger.

The once-classified U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP), established in the 1960’s, is an organization that uses the sonar abilities of dolphins and sea lions to detect, mark, and occasionally attempt to disarm underwater mines and torpedoes. Despite the NMMP’s promises of safety, this practice disrupts the habitat of marine animals, and promotes the exploitation of wildlife for human gain. Additionally, the recent rumors of a location change to the controversial Crimea region promise to endanger them even more.

In 2012, the Navy released a statement to BBC that they were looking to phase out the use of animals by 2017, replacing them with robots or drones who could do the job with less risk. It is uncertain if these plans are still relevant.

Sign the petition today and let your voice be heard. Stop the U.S. Navy from using dolphins and sea lions for mine detection.


Dear NMMP Spokesman Ed Budzyna and the U.S. Navy,

The use of dolphins and other marine wildlife by the United States Navy for detection of sea-mines and torpedoes is a dangerous program that must stop. Press releases from over the nearly 30 years since its declassification have assured us that the Navy Marine Mammal Program is harmless to its “dolphin soldiers.” However, recent rumors of plans to train in Crimean waters, thereby encouraging conflict between Russian and American dolphins, suggest otherwise. The validity of these rumors aside, the program itself does pose danger.

These animals are consistently exposed to underwater explosives that are designed to detonate easily. Just because something tragic hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t. With the technology of military weaponry changing constantly, the use of innocent animals for these purposes grows all the more immoral.

A statement was released in 2012 that plans were in works to replace these mammals with drones by 2017. I urge you to please adhere to that schedule, and strive towards what is not only a more cost effective option, but a more humane option as well. These wild animals do not deserve to be carrying out militant duties for mankind, no matter how safe or dangerous; they deserve to be roaming freely in their natural habitat.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Navy Marine Mammal Program, via Wikimedia Commons

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