The Cove, a must see!
I’ve been a basket case the past two days. I heard about this documentary a few weeks ago, detailing the hunting, capture, and inhumane slaughter of over 23,000 bottle nose dolphins each year in Taiji, Japan. I watched the trailer that Alex sent me and was of course taken aback by some of the “lighter” scenes shown within it. He recommended we put it on our Netflix queue to become more educated about what is going on and I agreed. Two days later, I’m REALLY glad I got through it, however, I’m thinking I may have been better off with a Cliff Notes version.
Let’s just start off by saying that I LOVE dolphins, everything about them. I’ve had an affinity for them ever since I was young and saw the Little Mermaid. I would swim around my grandparent’s pool when I was 5, 6, and 7 pretending I was Ariel, whipping around the water with my imaginary dolphin friends. My grandma would insist that I tie back my hair into a pony tail before swimming (maybe to combat the tangles) and I would always object…I needed to have long, flowing hair like Ariel’s.
They’re such smart, fun, caring, wild animals that deserve to be free of captivity and our selfish want to watch them flip and jump in Sea World tanks and swim with them at places called Discovery Cove and Dolphin Adventures. When my family went on a Caribbean cruise after my senior year of high school I asked my parents if we could swim with dolphins at one of the ports. They gave in…because they’re awesome, and my dad and I had an amazing experience swimming with two trained bottle nose dolphins in the bay of Cozumel…that was caged off of course. We got to ride on their dorsal fins, were propelled up into the air by way of our feet and their noses, and held bars high above our heads for them to jump over. Towards the end we all lined up for the obligatory picture of the dolphin kissing us on the cheek, I went first, and the dolphin overshot a bit and rammed me in the side of the head with its nose. It hurt a lot…but so does what we’re doing to them. In the documentary Richard O’Barry (my new hero) states that “the dolphin’s smile is nature’s biggest deception, because it leads us to believe that they’re always happy.” After swimming with dolphins when I was 18 I knew it was something I wanted to do again and again and again. As much as the opportunity would present itself to me, I wanted to keep doing it. I can state now, that I will never promote these programs again, because chances are the dolphin that rammed me in the side of head was a dolphin that was once happily living off the coast of Japan…
…before it was captured in the cove in Taiji.
The Cove details marine biologists, free divers, and dolphin activists from all over the world uncovering the bloody and sickening secret that Taiji, Japan has kept quiet for so many decades. When you enter the city there are dolphin sculptures, signs, lights, and even a museum showcasing the amazing species. It’s pretty sick and twisted how you can truly watch the dolphins perform in a concrete tank and eat dolphin meat at the same time. Not even a few miles away is the bay of Taiji where every morning fishermen extend long metal poles into the water and bang on them with metal rods. They do this because dolphins have an amazing sense of sound that is extremely delicate and easily agitated, the banging noises lead them into a specific area where they’re panicked and confused. They’re led to a cove close to the shore and then trapped their by means of nets. The next morning dolphin trainers and dealers come out and measure them, inspect them, and ultimately find their “Flipper” for their parks and “swim with the dolphins” programs. The ones that are selected are the lucky ones, the others are led to another cove…the killing cove.
The amazing crew of The Cove somehow managed to get cameras mounted on all angles of this cove so they could have documented proof of what was actually going on. They needed this footage for the dolphin’s cause. Near the end, they show this footage. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t nearly have prepared myself for the torturous and sickening techniques the fishermen use to end the lives of these magnificent creatures. The cove that was once blue and beautiful turns into a death tank of what can only be described as thick, red kool-aid.
I have a problem with this, a huge problem. Not only are they ending the lives of these amazing creatures in the most inhumane of ways but it’s so unnecessary in the first place. You see, dolphin meat is extremely toxic to humans, and probably many animals because it contains extremely high levels of mercury. Which then leads to mercury poisoning, which can lead to death or extreme birth defects. Much of the sushi and other fish products in Japan, but also all over the world, have dolphin meat in them, disguised as other types of fish. The Japanese and other people around the world don’t know they’re eating dolphin and if given the choice, wouldn’t want to be. It’s an undesirable meat source. And what’s worse is the Japanese government is putting dolphin meat in school lunches. Up top Japan, nice one!
YES, PROBLEM. HUGE PROBLEM. I want people to watch this documentary and to tells others to watch this documentary and I want people to get MAD!
I’m REALLY MAD about this. But alas, there are things we can do. As westerners we are very fortunate, and therefore, can speak with our dollars. Go here to donate and learn more about the documentary and the cruel practices that are taking place every September through March.
Go here to learn about saving the whales…AGAIN. Because, yes, dolphins are whales too.
Now, I know some of you out there are shaking your heads and wagging your fingers at me. “How ethnocentristic of me to judge the Japanese for slaughtering dolphins while we and others slaughter cows, and pigs, and lambs, and goats, etc.” I KNOW. I’m guilty of eating beef that isn’t local and probably from farms where they’re crowded into pens eating grain and corn until D-day arrives. I AM. However, starting this past weekend I am taking measures to only buy meat that comes from local farmers who actually adhere to the “free range” practice. I’m even looking to cut out red meat, because I refuse to preach about these poor dolphins and ignore the poor cows and pigs that exist only miles away.
Also, I’ve been talking about this to a lot of friends lately and a few of them have said, “I know this is horrible, but shouldn’t we first concentrate on people, and the horrible things that are happening in this world to PEOPLE?”
Why yes, I care about people, I really do…even more so than animals. I even donate money to “people” from time to time. But sometimes you have to look out for the animals too, because they don’t have a voice dammit! And are the ultimate in being helpless at times.
So judge me if you want for being so passionate and distraught over this. OR GET MAD WITH ME and see how you can help too!