The Navy, for years, has used dolphins and sea lions to patrol the underwater area near its San Diego base. Recently, they have trained both dolphins and sea lions to patrol its Puget Sound base: dolphins that see a swimmer can nose-check him, which releases a strobe light. Sea lions can slip a collar over the leg of a swimmer, which would allow the Navy to haul him in. Stating the obvious: humans lack the speed, agility, and underwater vision of dolphins and sea lions.
When there’s an animal, there’s an animal-rights group up in arms. This time, the activists don’t want dolphins and sea lions used as soldiers. Among their complaints: Puget Sound is too cold; as the dolphins think this is all fun and games, it is cruel to use them for soldiers; and it is absurd to use animals for military purposes.
The pachyderm is quite the animal-lover herself. She cannot see, however, these complaints as being anything but irrational. Would the “animal-rights” people prefer that dolphins think of this as work and not fun? “If you love your job, you never have to work a day in your life” is applicable only to humans?
Anyone who thinks that it is absurd to use animals for military purposes needs a history lesson. Before the automobile, horses were the preferred method of military transportation. Of course, they just weren’t stylish enough for Hannibal, who used elephants to cross the Alps during the Second Punic war. Camels were used by the British; the French used oxen; and everyone had a donkey. Military use of pigeons is very common. Britain has a memorial dedicated to the animals who died while being used in military conflicts. Of course, bomb- and drug-sniffing dogs are quite common, but animal rights groups rarely complain. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that it is only in the modern day that animals have not been used in warfare. Why not dolphins, too?