A federal investigation has cleared the Navy of charges that dolphins in its underwater defense training program were abused, it was announced Wednesday.
An eight-member team appointed by the federal Marine Mammal Commission reviewed 170,000 dolphin training sessions in California, Hawaii and Florida and found evidence of "three isolated incidents of an animal being struck," a Navy statement said.
"In all cases, the commission team found that prompt and appropriate action had been taken to discipline the trainers involved," the statement said.
The investigation was requested after a former civilian trainer charged that dolphins were routinely beaten and malnourished and that many had died.
Since the marine mammal training program was launched in 1960, hundreds of dolphins and sea lions have been captured and taught to retrieve equipment lost at sea or to fight off underwater saboteurs.