I can still remember my visit to the dolphinarium in Durban, South Africa, over 35 years ago. The spectacle of a large male bottlenose dolphin, called Gambit, leaping out of the water to take fish from a lady’s hand as she held it aloft, made my breath gasp. I was seven or eight years of age and had never seen an intelligent animal like that before.
Obviously now that I am older, I realise that it was wrong on all levels. I believe that to be main problem with all captive breeding and entertainment programs. People naively believe that everything that goes on in the background is ethical, and that includes the capture of the wild species.
It was in 2009 when I first became aware of Taiji and the dolphin slaughter. As a wildlife photographer, I spend a significant amount of time researching new places and species to photograph. How had I ever missed such an atrocity? I considered myself to be very knowledgeable when it came to the natural world. Yet up until then I had never heard about this wildlife genocide?
After watching the movie – The Cove, I realised that it was simply well covered up and disguised as “traditional fishing” by the Taiji and Japanese authorities. Even the Japanese public were oblivious to the slaughter happening in their own backyards. This movie is hopefully altering that ignorance.
I originally saw grainy excerpts of The Cove on YouTube and was horrified and sickened by the slaughter and the unconscionable actions of the Taiji Fishermen and their administration.
The movie in its entirety is a wonderfully tense and revealing look at the drive, capture and slaughter of dolphins but more importantly it highlights the greed and misinformation that is spread by all involved in the trade. It also shows a little of the history of the captive dolphin industry with the help of Ric O’Barry who enlists a team of talented movie-makers to help spread the word of what happens in the small killing cove. Superb undercover footage which is well blended in with industry facts, in what is, a powerful and moving documentary.
Dolphins are still being slaughtered today 2015, not only for tradition or food as they will have you believe, but to supply the insidious wildlife entertainment industry which includes swim-with-dolphin programs.
I won’t rehash all the facts and figures mentioned in the movie because you really need to see it first-hand. I for one could never do it justice. I found a copy on Amazon UK and watched it again, this time with my wife. She was horrified to see what was being done to these wonderful creatures, and will join me next time I go on an anti-Taiji march or demo in London.
Watch the movie, spread the word. People don’t realise that this is actually going on in our so-called civilised society.
The anti-Taiji movement is growing and the faster we help it move along, the sooner we can end it.
Things I personally took away from watching it.
- There is no legal protection for the small cetaceans (like dolphins and porpoises) as there is for whales, even though they are all of the same family
- The International Whaling commission has flaccidly let Japan get away with wildlife genocide for decades.
- And it is wildlife genocide. All species are coming under tremendous threat from the effects overpopulation. The United Nations needs to publicly declare and ratify wildlife animal rights, and then treat it the same as human rights, i.e. they need to carry the same legal weight, with the same penalties, as human rights violations.
Sites and Social Media streams to follow
Ric O’Barry;s Dolphin Project – Website
The Cove Movie site – Website
Sea Shepherd -Twitter
Cove Guardians -Twitter