When you think of dolphins, you think of cute creatures that are always jumping, always smiling, always loving. We associate them with playfulness, transcendence, intelligence, harmony and gentleness, and in some weird yet intrinsic way, friendship. Being the animal lover that I am I obviously jump at any opportunity to watch any insightful documentary. I kept hearing about ‘The Cove’ and how the cast had gone over and beyond to film the truth. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be just that – the truth! And the truth turned out to be a horror story of dominance, torture, kidnapping and murder.
Each year from the 1st of September right through end of March, thousands of dolphins and porpoises are driven to shore by means of auditory torture by creating a deafening wall of ‘sound’. In an ironic twist of fate, a “lucky” handfuls are selected for a lifetime of captivity in parks and aquariums and the remaining thousands, are dragged into a cove where they are brutally murdered. One of the most stirring visuals from the film, that doesn’t seem to leave me, is where you can see the large cove which was once blue, turn into deep torturous red because of the bloodbath. Thousands of dolphins killed instantly and the others swimming in a pool of their own blood until they too, slowly die.
So, what good does a dead dolphin do? Truthfully… nothing at all. Because their meat has such high levels of mercury that it instantly starts to poison anyone who eats it. Levels of mercury that are sometimes 1,600 times the allowed quantities in meat for human consumption. Once upon a time, this meat was being given to children as their ‘free’ but ‘compulsory’ meal in school. With the help of this documentary this practice was finally banned. So why is Japan still killing over 23000 dolphins and porpoises a year? And where does all that meat go? It goes into supermarkets labeled as whale meat and half the people who eat it don’t even know what it really is.
We are moulded from a very young age to believe in SeaWorld and the “happy place” it is, and the good they do with research and care on their animals. But in this day and age, we know better. There are facts upon facts that prove otherwise, and it is just our human conditioning to act ignorant to the inhumane practices that are being carried out. That is what needs to change.
When we see them at a dolphin show, what do we see? We see a dolphin eager to please and ready to do whatever the trainer wants it to. Why? Because it is hungry, starved till it does it’s trick. Yes, the cruel reality is that dolphins perform tricks only to earn their food. The trainers call their training method “positive reward.” From the dolphins’ perspective, however, it’s food deprivation. If the dolphins get it wrong and the whistle is not blown, that means they won’t be getting any fish reward. The won’t get fed.
If you understand the life of captive dolphins, you also begin to see the dolphin show with all its clowning around in another way. It’s not clever anymore. It’s abusive. The saddest part is that it’s our fault. We have allowed the entertainment industry not only to twist a beautiful species into a parody of itself but also allowed them to profit from it. A live dolphin captured for a marine mammal park can fetch up to $200,000.
And when the show is over, these majestic creatures that have just been awe-inspiring, are left to languish in their tank or more often, cage and wait for the next show. For their next feeding. An animal that is used to swimming in the free and endless ocean, within large pods of dolphins, is now kept in a small tank with maybe 1 or 2 other dolphins that he/she may not necessary get along with. Sometimes these differences also end up in the death of the weaker dolphin as it doesn’t have anywhere to go.
Japan Dolphins Day is an annual worldwide event headed by renowned activist Ric O’Barry. It is a peaceful positive media event with dolphin supporters coming together in cities around the world. Our goal is to raise awareness of the annual Dolphin Drive Hunts in Taiji, Japan and elsewhere in the world; and to highlight the links between these slaughters and the global captivity industry.
This year, for the first time in India, we will gather to show the Japanese Government that we will no longer accept these abuses to our friends in the sea. That we do not condone the capture of, or continued slaughter of dolphins. Please join us in showing that we will not give up the fight! We also support the Japanese people’s right to know about contamination of dolphin and whale meat, so our concerns include the welfare of people of Japan, and ensuring public safeguards so that no meat is laced with mercury and radioactivity.
1) Place: 6th September 2014, Marine Drive Promenade (Opposite Police Gymkhana) Time: 4.00PM – 6.30PM
2) Make posters, banners or express yourself in other creative ways to castigate this injustice. (Please note that we must be respectful of the Japanese people. We DON’T CONDONE racial slurs, comments or actions that could be any way perceived as ANTI-JAPANESE.)
3) Bring an umbrella (It might rain, so come prepared!)
4) Dresscode : BLUE
You can also watch the trailer of The Cove, here:
Hope to see you there, where we will spread the word, and make new friends who will help us all get through the horrors of the Dolphin Drive Hunt season.