A really small town, with a really big secret.
Approximately 20,000 dolphins are killed legally each year in Taiji, Japan.
Disguised as a town thriving off the love of dolphins and whales, where statues are erected, fish shops boast and ‘National Park’ signage hang proudly around the small area, now famously known as ‘The Cove’. Surrounded by steep cliffs and forest floor that makes its way down to the waters edge, the cove- hidden from road view, became the stage for the biggest mass dolphin culling the world has ever seen.
After weeks of stories, recounts and pressure from my younger sister, I sat down and watched, tears rolling and in shock horror of this tragedy. While i’m not a vegan, nor a vego, and admittedly never going that one step past signing a few online petitions or contributing to conversations with my friends- I can’t wipe that picture out of my mind.
Each year, japanese fisherman from the town of Taiji embark on the not-so-casual fishing trip, where steel rods are inserted into the ocean, herding thousands of these beautiful mammals of the sea into a secluded cove. There, Seaworld representatives from far and wide come to view and pick the creme de la creme of bottlenose dolphins which are dispersed worldwide to be caged, domesticated and put on show for those who rank ‘higher’ in this some-what warped food chain…humans. Over half of all captured dolphins will die within 2 years of their captivity, sadly, a better reality for those who remain.
As the afternoon closes in, and the protection of sunlight disappears, the dolphins are dragged tails first, behind the rocks and out of site. It’s here, that an unprecedented ecological crime is undertaken, authorised and legalised by Japanese authority, monitored by Richard O’Barry’s team of free-divers, cameramen and prop makers, and ignored for too long by the rest of us.
Dolphins are arguably just as smart as us humans, yet still we stand on our pedestal at Seaworld clapping, signing, and whistling at them, rather than trying to grasp what they are communicating to us. While i’m not preaching they are deserving of anything more than other animals (or humans for that matter), it’s more these wicked acts of humanity that are blinded by authorities and forgotten by the people, because yes, ignorance is bliss. It’s always easier to blame those next to you, and in this case label the Japanese as the ‘baddies’, but we are link in the chain reaction, and therefore have a responsibility. As Richard O’Barry says, “natures biggest deception is the Dolphin’s smile” so next time you come face to face with a ticket to Seaworld, or a trip to the Zoo, think beyond the glass casing, the situation isn’t as transparent as it seems.
If it’s not The Cove, or the dolphins, it can be something much simpler than that- a Tuna-free-Tuesday, sharing activists posts, simply talking about it with friends, or even watching The Cove tonight. Do something.
Not only winning the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 2009, The Cove more importantly, embodies the mix of people who are fighting their own species, in a battle that is far from over.
How can you help?
Take action by signing the petition