What Others Are Saying

January 14, 2008

Will vandals never tire of tipping over gravestones? The ritual was perpetrated once again this week at Oak Grove Cemetery in Hyannis. The physics is such that a lot more muscle will be required to right the stones than was needed to push them over.

It's a despicable crime, and perpetrators should be prosecuted under hate-crime statutes.

Some of this might end if a trend toward "green" burials, with minimal packaging, catches on here. Go quietly and don't draw a lot of attention to yourself, like the Quakers practice.

- Cape Cod Times

The purported therapeutic benefits of swimming with dolphins is a perennial story for the Keys.

Home to some of the nation's earliest swim-with-the-dolphins facilities (before federal regulations were loosened), the Keys have two facilities that offer "dolphin therapy." These programs offer hope for people with autism and other conditions, including attention deficit disorder and depression.

For parents and patients desperate for help, no doubt the experience of swimming with a marine mammal - especially so intelligent and charismatic an animal as a bottlenose dolphin - feels miraculous. And there's never a lack of audience for feel-good stories about dolphins.

But now a new scientific review finds little evidence for the extravagant claims of therapeutic benefit.

Two Emory University scientists looked closely at previous studies on the matter - several of them written by people in the industry.

The scientists found "little reason to believe" that swimming with dolphins provides any real therapeutic benefit "or that it constitutes much more than entertainment," they wrote in a study published in a peer-reviewed journal.

There would be little reason to pay much attention to this - except that dolphin interaction offers hope to people struggling to cope with a difficult situation, and that hope comes at a considerable cost, more than $2,000 a week at the two facilities in the Keys.

In the end, it is wise to remember that dolphins are wild animals and that there are plenty of domesticated species, from cats and dogs to horses, that humans can interact with and derive emotional benefits from.

- Key West Citizen

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