It’s hard to decide who is more contemptible: the people paying to have a captive dolphin paint a picture for them at the Mirage Hotel, or the people pocketing the money.
Or maybe Option 3: the reporter, Jeannie Garcia at vegas.com, who seems to think it’s all just fine. [readon]
During this hands-on experience, you’ll collaborate with dolphins and make an artistic masterpiece. This interactive program allows you to connect with these lovable creatures. In addition, this creates an enriching environment for them.
According to the “curator of dolphin care” (amazingly, dolphins have managed quite well for millions of years in the ocean without needing to be “cared for” in tanks in hotels by curators), painting pictures “creates another avenue to mentally challenge and engage our dolphins with their trainers while providing guests with an unforgettable experience.”
The way captive animals are trained to do things like painting pictures is by feeding them dead fish when they do what you want them to do. And what “mentally challenges and engages them” is figuring out how to get you to give them the fish. And if that involves holding some object in their mouth and scraping it over a piece of paper, then that’s what they’ll do.
According to the article, you can get a painting for $199. For $50, you can also do “Yoga among the Dolphins” at an underwater viewing area at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. (Yes, that would be the same Roy who was seriously injured by “his” tiger 10 years ago. The tiger, Montecore, is still living in a cage at The Mirage.)