Richard O’Barry who once trained several dolphins for the “Flipper” series has created a documentary, The Cove, which will be released on August 7, 2009. This documentary exposes the fishermen that needlessly slaughter up to 23,000 dolphins a year in Taiji, Japan.
It’s no exaggeration to say that “The Cove” could do for Japan’s slaughter of dolphins what Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” did for the meat-packing industry or Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” did for polluters. Whether you’re a fervent PETA activist or someone who still likes eating veal, you’ll find yourself shaken by the revelations of this powerful new documentary.
Dolphins, as it turns out, swim some 40 miles a day in the open sea. They have a very sophisticated sense of sonar, in which their undersea cries allow them to understand their surroundings. Not surprisingly, they hate being stuck in small tanks — most dolphin shows keep large quantities of Maalox and Mylanta on hand, we are told, because the intelligent, finned creatures suffer from stress-related ulcers in captivity. (The dolphins’ permanent smile hides their true feelings.)
If only the dolphins could change their facial expressions, then we would know how they feel about being confined in a tank. We place these free animals in jail with a life sentence of entertaining people.
Faring far worse are the dolphins that are slaughtered by the hundreds each day between September and March off the coast of Japan; they’re lured into a cove, and those that aren’t sold off to trainers are butchered.There’s a case to be made, of course, about killing animals for food, but the film tells us that dolphin meat is so saturated with mercury — 22,000 parts per million, when the legal limit in Japan is 0.4 parts per million — that it’s too poisonous for human consumption. And yet, Japan defends its right to kill dolphins, even buying off impoverished nations to vote alongside Japan in international conferences that manage the capture of whales and other cetaceans. (It’s worth noting that most Japanese citizens have no idea that this slaughter is even taking place; city dwellers far from the coast are shown reacting with horror when shown the filmmakers’ footage.)
This inhumane slaughter of these highly evolved and intelligent mammals is appalling and reminds me of the Slob Hunters of Pennsylvania. Neither of these butcheries are for food.
The Japanese fishermen consider dolphins to be a nuisance, kind of like field mice in the corn shed and therefore, they are to be destroyed. Japan has over fished the waters surrounding its island nation and is now competing with dolphins for fish for making sushi and other Japanese dishes.
Of course, this film has stirred up some contraversy with tourists and places like Sea World.
Long notorious for its brutality, the Taiji slaughter is a so-called “drive hunt,” during which fishermen in a string of boats use clanging sounds to herd dolphins into small coves. Once penned, some dolphins are picked out by dolphin trainers and animal brokers for purchase and transport to amusement parks and resorts. The rest are killed with spears, knives and clubs in an orgy of cruelty. As the film graphically shows, the sea water churns into a bloody froth. The cries of the dolphins are pathetic.But is it really possible that American tourists buying tickets to Sea World are somehow supporting this hunt and others like it? To understand the answer, it helps to know how amusement parks obtain their animals.
Read more about the dolphin trade here.
There are videos on YouTube showing the dolphin slaughter. Be warned… these videos are very graphic and that is why I choose not to link to them.
Until this needless slaughter of these intelligent mammals is stopped, I will boycott all products that come from Japan.
(Point of View ~ Cats r Flyfishn which may not represent the views of other Zoo Critters.)
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