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Dolphins at War – 40 Years Ago


After seeing our report on the U.S. Navy once again deploying its dolphin conscripts to the Persian Gulf, a reader wrote in to remind us about a 60 Minutes story from back in 1973, when Morley Safer interviewed various dolphin trainers and military personnel.

Some of the high/lowlights include:

an “expert” in dolphin research explaining that these “operating vehicles” (the dolphins, along with whales and sea lions), who make up the “biological weapons system” can travel at “a fuel rate of fifteen pounds of fish a day.”

the Pentagon’s “Dolphin Czar” voicing his outrage at accusations that the Navy employs “kamikaze porpoises,” dolphins supposedly trained to be suicide-bombers for the US Navy. He is promptly contradicted by:

a behavioral psychologist with “top secret” Navy clearance, who talks like he’s straight out of Dr. Strangelove, and

some young, macho trainer who looks like he’s right off the set of a summer surfing movie, and who claims to be talking in dolphin language to the  animals in the training pool. (“Pooka emu-a yump,” he tells them.)

It’s hilarious and sick at the same time.  Here’s the 16-minute segment: