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YoKoolAid's avatar

How do you feel about the use of dolphins in military operations?

Asked by YoKoolAid (2424points) February 27th, 2012

If there is any kind of animal abuse in this case then the answer is obvious, so for the purpose of this question let’s assume these animals are being properly cared for

Dolphins and other marine mammals have been used in military operations since Vietnam. They’re used for things such as equipment retrieval, mine detection and swimmer detection.

If you are for: Do you think it’s unethical to put these animals in harms way? Do you find it unfair to involve them in war-scenarios that were created by man, to exploit their intelligence?

If you are against: Do you think it’s reasonable to utilize a dolphins unique abilities if it means saving human lives? Are you also opposed to using canines against armed gunmen and sniffing out bombs?

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28 Answers

ucme's avatar

I guess it serves a porpoise.

ragingloli's avatar

It is not only unethical, but also immoral. If you want their abilities, study them and replicate it with technology, not enslave them and send them to their deaths.

CWOTUS's avatar

As long as they’re already citizens, of legal age and mentally competent, volunteer enlistees, and pensioned off properly at the end of their service, then I have no problem with it.

flutherother's avatar

I’m not always sure about the use of people in military operations.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Neither am I! Using dolphins is little different from using dogs. Using any animal in combat operations other than in a defensive mode is, IMHO, detrimental to all species, not just those being used, humans as well. It results in the cheapening of life in general.

Especially in a democracy, going to war must be a decision shared by at least a majority of those concerned, and should be defensive in nature. The exception would be situations where a failure to intervene would result in massive loss of life. A very large part of how we got into our current military and economic troubles was allowing entry into wars by executive fiat. The President is not a damned KING! : (

YoBob's avatar

So, are you some sort of speciesist?

Hey, if a dolphin chooses to serve, who am I to stand in the way…

ragingloli's avatar

Show me the signed contract and demonstrate that the dolphin understands its content and implications. Otherwise you have to accept child soldiers.

YoBob's avatar

Sorry @ragingloli, I neglected to put in the ”~” character indicating sarcasm.

XOIIO's avatar

They need porpoises for their evil purposes!

*dolphin chatter *


Blackberry's avatar

I don’t agree, but it’s not like I’m going to do anything. You can’t stop the system, man.

King_Pariah's avatar

So in that case, you want to get rid of bomb sniffing dogs, police canine units and the like as well?

XOIIO's avatar

@King_Pariah I think a kittem unit would be better.



That’s a good days work boys.

mangeons's avatar

I think it’s unethical. Dolphins aren’t meant to be kept in captivity in the first place, and putting them in harm’s way just makes it even worse.

CaptainHarley's avatar


You’re wrong about that one. Sorry!

6rant6's avatar

Did people have these concerns when horses, camels, elephants, and pigeons were used in war?

What about the US attempt to use bats?

6rant6's avatar

And the idea that an 18 year old can make an enlightened decision to put themselves in line of fire strikes me as less than plausible.

saint's avatar

Any non human war casualty is better than a human being. And war is in the nature of humanity, and thus will never disappear. So any surrogate, mechanical or critter, is better than homo sapiens. I bet that if somebody figured out a way to wage war, where there would be absolutely no human casualties, but there might be some other animal casualties, people would jump on it.

dabbler's avatar

Only if they bring their own laser beams ! —what’s that ? —dolphins not sharks ? Never mind.

digitalimpression's avatar

“Do you think it’s unethical to put these animals in harms way?”
No. I also eat burgers and chicken nuggets. Cows and chickens are the ones really in harms way.

“Do you find it unfair to involve them in war-scenarios that were created by man, to exploit their intelligence?”
Some people find it unfair. But I bet a lot of those same people enjoy a good barbecue from time to time.

ddude1116's avatar

I think this is the first of many coalitions between man and dolphin, for when the world ends, they’ll take us under their fin and allow us to live in their hidden cities deep beneath the water, giving us the refuge necessary to survive until we can find a longer-term solution. Also, when we finally achieve commercial space flight, they’ll captain our ships, because their living in water gives them the senses to keep track of three-dimensional piloting (as opposed to two-dimensional, like driving on a flat surface).

annewilliams5's avatar

Has anyone asked them?

digitalimpression's avatar

@annewilliams5 Yes. All they did was nod and squeak a lot. Dolphin for yes.

jazmina88's avatar

if they could sign the army and navy papers, let em in. If not, dont kidnap them.

I adore dolphins…i dont think they want to be in war, but probably love rescuing and doing tricks. Think are pacificists, I mean porpoises.

ddude1116's avatar

@RocketGuy That’s the book I was referencing! Kudos to you, man, for catching that!

rooeytoo's avatar

I am with @digitalimpression, animals are eaten, used for scientific experiments, cosmetic testing, so I don’t see the fact that dolphins are used is any different.

As long as they are well cared for and humanely dispatched when their time is up, then they probably still are having a better life than the average cow or factory farmed pig or chicken.

Coloma's avatar

I think subjecting anything to the horrors of war is tragic, but, as others have said, animals have always played a role in service to mankind in one way or another.
I saw “Warhorse” recently and the suffering of those beautiful creatures is every bit as tragic as human loss. I read that over 10 million horses were killed in the American Cival War during the 1860’s. Unbelievable! Admittedly being a horse lover and lifelong owner/rider, I could hardly stand to see the suffering of these noble animals in that movie.
snif, snif

CaptainHarley's avatar


Bad enough when we make our own species to suffer, much less making those we are suppose to protect suffer.

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