May 6, 2009

The Cove - Dolphin Massacres in Japan

ENVIRONMENT - Normally we wouldn't discuss issues like "Save the Whales", PETA and other animal activist issues (we're meat lovers and proud of it), but every person has a line at which they consider something immoral to eat.

Most commonly is dogs and cats, because they're commonly pets, eating horse is more common but frowned upon by some people. The one in this documentary, The Cove, is the issue of the slaughter and consumption of dolphins in Japan.

Earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, The Cove premiered to applause and gasps. The film is a dolphin abuse exposé that plays like a spy thriller because of all the cloak-and-dagger stuff the crew had to go through to find out the truth.

In the film director Louie Psihoyos, a top National Geographic photographer, leads a crack team of environmentalists and scuba divers probing reports of dolphin abuse in the marine town of Taiji, Japan, a town known for its dolphin tourism trade.

What they discover, using hidden cameras, is a slaughterhouse where thousands of dolphins are butchered alive, often after watching their terrified offspring killed first. (Dolphins are one of very few species that form life-time affinities with their children and can communicate using a complex mixture of squeaks.)

Blue water turns red from the carnage and for a moment you're reminded of the film Jaws, but with the realization that it is humans that are the killing machines.

Every year in Japan more than 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed, harvested for their meat which is sold illegally as a food delicacy, despite having dangerously high levels of mercury caused by industrial pollution. Dolphin meat is often falsely labeled as whale meat, which compounds the problem, since whales are also a highly endangered species.

Some of the dolphins are shipped to water parks around the globe to be used for entertainment, making Japan one of the largest exporters of live dolphins.

American marine expert Richard O'Barry, who helped create the Flipper TV series of the 1960s, says he personally captured the four or five bottlenose dolphins that played Flipper, but later regrets his actions when he realized how sensitive the animals are and how much they suffered. As a result O'Barry changed from dolphin hunter to dolphin protector and now travels the world with his message that these are sentient beings, far more intelligent than anyone imagines.

The Cove also showing how duplicitous the Japanese government is about its commitments as a member of the International Whaling Commission, which is supposed to conserve marine life rather than exploit it.

So now that we know about this abuse, and the corruption within the Japanese government, will people put a stop to it?

1 comment:

  1. I am ashamed to be Asian when I see things like this. Today, there is no reason to kill for food inhumanely. If people saw how we kill cows, chickens and now these dolphins or how we treat dogs, bears, and others in other countries, you wouldn't eat it. People who are empathic and have a conscience would not eat what they eat. There are humane ways to kill animals or dolphins. We as human being haven't changed much over the centuries.
    This is not tradition. This began recently relatively. Its not something that started hundreds of years ago. These people have no conscience.


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