If you haven’t yet heard about the annual dolphin roundup and slaughter in Taiji, Japan, The Cove will change all that. I haven’t seen it yet because it’s in limited release, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that a theater within an hour of here picks it up. Long story short: every year, a group of about 26 Japanese fishermen drives thousands of dolphins into a small cove—a cove located in a national park—penning them in with nets. Then, they kill them, saving a few to sell to aquariums and dolphin shows. (That’s big money, by the way, and the sale of those few dolphins bankrolls the entire slaughter.) Much of the dolphin meat, mislabeled and full of mercury, goes to Japan’s school lunch program. This is government-sanctioned killing, and the majority of Japanese people don’t even know about it.
Incredibly, a group of activist-filmmakers—including Ric O’Barry, who trained Flipper and later did a 180, becoming a staunch opponent of dolphinariums—filmed the 2007 slaughter using cameras disguised as rocks and equipment secretly planted underwater. Talk about guerrilla filmmaking. The Cove was well-received at Sundance, but the best part is this: this year’s dolphin slaughter was due to begin September 1st—and it hasn’t! For anyone who doubts the power of individuals to make a difference, I proudly present this. You have power: your decisions truly matter. If you don’t want dolphins enslaved, don’t visit dolphin shows. Tell people about this, and make them realize that actions on the other side of the world spoil the oceans that we all share. And if they refuse to believe you, show them this before-and-after shot of the cove:
Whether the dolphin hunt resumes remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful. The world is watching Japan, and The Cove has made it impossible to hide.
Photo by Sea Shepherd/SaveJapanDolphins, ripped from ecorazzi.