#Animal Rights
The United States Navy
United States of America

Sources say the Navy decided to acknowledge the experiment, at least in part, because the sea lions were making so much noise in their pens at Bahrain harbor, home of the Navy's largest facility in the Persian Gulf.
Sea lions are not native to those waters and typically bark loudly when excited. There was no way their presence, officials decided, could be kept secret. No final decision has been made on whether the sea lions will stay.

The animals — along with dolphins and a beluga whale or two — are trained as part of the Navy's Marine Mammal Program in San Diego. They are trained to hunt for mines, to locate objects lost in deep water and to provide harbor security.

Intelligence officials have warned repeatedly about the threat of terrorists using divers to blow up ships. That's what both the sea lions and the dolphins are trained to deal with, among other things.

Working with human handlers, the sea lions are trained to locate unexpected swimming intruders, to snap a locking clamp on an arm or leg, then leave.

The clamp is connected to a rope and signal buoy that humans with guns would then reel up, presumably pulling up a human on the other end. In theory, the animals would not be hurt. Their contact with a potential terrorist — who would presumably be surprised — would last only an instant as they briefly made contact.

Eric Jensen, a veterinarian with the Navy program said: "When you study the animals and you come to realize what they can do in their own environment, the aquatic environment, it's no surprise that we have not been able to build a machine that can do what they do."

Sea Lions, Unlike Dolphins, Can Battle the Elements

Why sea lions?

During the Persian Gulf War and several times after, the Navy used specially trained dolphins to pull harbor guard duty. But their handlers discovered as the weather heated up and the water got warmer in the Gulf, the dolphins became sluggish and far less effective.

Officials say sea lions do not appear to be bothered as much by rising water temperature and they have one other advantage. Unlike a dolphin, a sea lion could continue chasing an enemy — if it came to that — onto dry land.

Please stop the Navy from using marine life to benefit their own goals. Sea lions, dolphins, and whales belong to the ocean, not to the human race, and they certainly do not deserve to be put in harms way to defend our nation. All branches of the military have been known for years to use animals for cruel purposes. The navy's experiment with these beautiful and intelligent creatures is no exception. They must be stopped.

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The Stop the Navy from Using Marine Life petition to The United States Navy was written by Amy McBride and is in the category Animal Rights at GoPetition.