I recently watched The Cove, the 2010 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature, which has opened my eyes to some alarming statistics and practices going on involving the captivation of dolphins.
The Cove exposes the mass slaughtering of dolphins that takes place every year off the coast of Japan in a small, isolated cove within Taiji. Beginning in September when the migration period begins, dolphins are tricked using a sound technique and rounded up with a large net in the waters of the cove.
The most attractive dolphins are selected and sold to dolphin trainers to be used for aquariums and marine parks. The remaining dolphins are slaughtered. Using a combination of knives and spears, the fishermen kill the captured dolphins one by one, leaving the dolphins waiting to be killed to frantically swim in their neighbors blood that saturates the waters.
The horrific footage of the red-stained sea is captured by cameras hidden beneath fabricated rocks inserted by a team of dolphin activists led by former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry. O’Barry once captured 5 dolphins himself, training them for the TV series known as Flipper. The show helped to spawn an adoration for dolphins, which thus led to the captivation of dolphins to be used within aquariums. After working with dolphins and discovering their high rate of intelligence, and feeling as though he were partially responsible for the widespread captivation of dolphins, O’Barry has dedicated his life to eradicating dolphin hunting and captivation.
An atrocious 23,000 dolphins are killed annually. The meat, containing toxic levels of mercury, is then sold as food, despite the fact that a majority of Japanese people don’t eat it.
The dolphin meat is often replaced with the label of whale meat, deceiving consumers. A high amount of people living in Taiji have actually tested positive for mercury poisoning. For awhile, the meat was being given to Taiji schools and used within the school lunches.
While the film has helped to bring this issue to attention (many Japanese people weren’t even aware that the dolphin slaughtering was occurring), dolphin hunting is still transpiring in Taiji, despite international pressures against it.
I’m not sure I’ll ever look at dolphin shows the same. That cute inherent dolphin smile is certainly deceitful. In fact, many of the dolphins being held in captivity have to take medicine in order to rid the ulcers that they get due to stress.
Dolphins don’t deserve imprisonment, nor do they belong in captivity. Like voiced in The Cove, their home is in the ocean.
For more information, check out the movie, or visit http://www.takepart.com/thecove.