Feds might crack down on swim-with-dolphin programs

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Swimming with dolphins is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many aquatic lovers that could be complicated by new regulations from the Obama administration.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed Tuesday new animal welfare regulations for handling dolphins and other marine mammals in captivity. The rules will ensure dolphins are treated well and cared for at aquatic parks, the agency said.

Dolphins would enjoy better water quality and space to roam in captivity under the revived rules, which were previously suspended in the 1990s.

This could have an impact on swim-with-the-dolphin programs, the agency noted.

The public has 60 days to comment.