Capturing animals, especially large marine mammals, is a basic violation of their right to enjoy their lives in a natural habitat. There is intense suffering among those animals who are forced to spend their lives in aquariums, whether small or large, as well as in being transported from one location to another. Social and behavioural needs are not and cannot be provided for in small, sterile pools. Dolphins and whales are especially sensitive to their surroundings and to the stress of living in an unnatural, cramped environment where the chances of disease are increased. A life of boredom, constriction and early death is guaranteed for such mammals. Sentient beings are regarded as "exhibits" or "conversation pieces" - mere commodities. This callous attitude contributes to society's failure to protect natural environments because of a false sense of security, that if it is in captivity, it will not become extinct. Aquariums isolate humans from nature.
Aquaria provide an important educational service and a good environment for the study and appreciation of marine life. Many injured animals are treated in the larger establishments. For some this contact with humans is considered to be beneficial to the species concerned.