Sunday, 17 October 2010

Dolphin Dilemma

Like the typical tourist travelling through the US, I have visited a number of Sea World attractions and seen the spectacular killer whale and dolphin shows. However, having finally watched the documentary 'The Cove', I'm now in a bit of a dilemma about the whole thing. In particular, I've given real thought to what my views are on the Cayman Islands (my home) now having dolphins in captivity and housing two separate dolphin facilities. It is continuing to make a market for dolphins in captivity and supporting the capture and slaughter of these animals...not so great.

For those of you that haven't seen it, 'The Cove', is an academy award winning documentary that was the first to uncover the horrid and gruesome dolphin slaughter that occurs in a secluded cove in Taiji, Southern Japan.

"The Cove follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action." (synopsis)

Here's the trailer:

The process of capturing these dolphins involves a large number of local fishermen heading out to sea, disorientating the dolphins by banging metal pipes in the water and herding the panicked animals into a natural cove. Nets are then laid and the dolphins are trapped into the confinements of the cove.

The next stage requires various 'expert' trainers and traders to enter the water and select the dolphins they wish to 'save' in order to train and sell to corporations all across the world for up to $150,000 each!

The remainder that are not selected for sale, are then brutally massacred. There is no other way to describe it. They are harpooned by men standing on small tin boats and the entire slow and horrendous procedure fills the cove full of blood.

These pictures barely depict the horrific crimes that take place for 6 straight months every year. The slaughter season runs from September to March and according to reports in Japan, about 20 bottle nose dolphins were caught within hours of the launch of this year's season, which began earlier this month.

The stupidity of all of this is that the slaughtered dolphins are then being sold as food to the Japanese people - to markets, restaurants and even school cantines. Dolphin meat carries an extremely toxic level of mercury that of course leads to an array of medical illnesses. Mercury poisoning is nothing new to the Japanese as there was a very famous incident of industrial pollution and mercury related deformities in the 1950's. Expectant mothers living near to the town of Minimata ended up giving birth to newborns with horrific, unnatural deformities as a result of their contact with the toxin during pregnancy.

It is obvious both Japanese corporations and the government benefit from the 'harvesting' of these dolphins yet at what risk to their own people; never mind their own ecosystems.

The star and pioneer of The Cove movement is Ric O'Barry, who himself was the former dolphin trainer in the 1960's for the hit series Flipper, has recently presented the US Embassy with a petition signed by 1.7 million individuals across 150 countries in order to stop this annual slaughter of dolphins. However it is still continuing.

Similarly with the slaughter of minke whales, the Japanese government does not accept the wrong doing of these actions. To have this many animals brutally massacred each year, now in the 21st Century, is something of a joke. 

But it is not. The pathetic protection offered by organisations such as the IWC (International Whaling Communities) mean that countries such as Japan can easily worm around legislation against whaling and continue to do so under the clause of 'scientific research' and instead are selling this meat for consumption, and upholding this horrid industry.

This is ridiculous, and it is only thanks to ACTIVE activist such as the Sea Shepherd team, that whaling is contested and brought into the public eye. For more information on Anti-Whaling action, check out the latest series of Whale Wars and follow the protestors attempting to bring a stop to whaling in the Antarctic.

(I'm hooked!)

In the meantime, please take a minute to see what you can do to put an end to these brutalities. It just shouldn't be happening!  

What can YOU do?
1) Join the Facebook Cause -

3) Text Dolphin to 44144 

4)  Even make a donation

5) Check out to follow the team in Taiji as they go along.

Phew. Sorry this is perhaps not the most uplifting of stuff, but it is pretty important to support causes such as these in order to try and change the practice of some pretty horrendous 'businesses'. It does affect you: your holidays, your dream travel destinations, your natural world and hopefully your conscience x

No comments:

Post a Comment