Heartbreak of a Somewhat Different Kind

Tonight I watched the documentary The Cove.  I had seen something about this issue on my Facebook and had already signed the petition without realizing what this documentary was about much less that it even existed.  I don’t have tv in my house, and my only connection to the outside world, with the exception of the local paper, is my internet.  So no I didn’t see the Emmies or the Academy Awards, and only just found out about this documentary tonight after coming across this PSA on facebook.

Altho I generally take up issues having to do with domesticated animals, I have been doing alot of thinking lately and have realized that you can’t go part of the way when it comes to the animal kingdom as a whole; you have to advocate for both domestic and wild.  This is the reason why I’m blogging about the documentary, The Cove. 

If you haven’t seen it, it’s truly heartbreaking.  I’ve always known whales and dolphins were highly intelligent creatures, but was never completely aware of just how far their intelligence abilities truly are.  Now it is starting to come to light that dolphins could actually be more intelligent than man, which is completely amazing to me.  I also find how we attempt to communicate with them, mainly through sign language, laughable since it doesn’t allow them to respond back to them: just us telling them what we want of them. 

The Cove, documents a village in Japan where dolphin hunting  continues every year from the months of September through March.  Fishermen “wrangle” up the dolphins and the ones that don’t get sold for confinement/display at numerous attractions throught out the world, are then dragged to a cove where they are killed and butchered for food.  Not only is the technique cruel, but the majority of dolphins in the area contain high amounts of mercury which in turn is poisoning the locals who consume the meat.  One man that they spoke with in Taiiji, where the “harvesting” occurs, was tested and found to have high levels of mercury poisoning in his system.  This local “official” was later fired after this documentary came out. 

I also found it very significant, and heartbreaking, the fact that like us dolphins are aware of what’s going in: in other words they know when they are being rounded up, that capture and death are imminent.  They babies are also conscious of this fact as well; and the parents and offspring are seperated during this slaughter. 

Once the harvesting is done, the water in the cove turns a blood red, and in order to make sure that every single dolphin is harvested, divers go into the water to make sure nothing is left behind. 

Rick O’Barry, the original creator of Flipper and now one of the leading activists when it comes to dolphins in confinement and this “harvest”, discusses in this film what he has come to learn about dolphins and how the ones in  cofinement/show parks are fed a daily diet of fish mixed with tagamet because confinement stresses these animals out terrible, and that long term confinement eventually leads to death, or  suicide even.  Mr. O’Barry even experienced this with one of the dolphins on his show Flipper; the dolphin made the conscious decision to die rather than continue to exist in captivity. 

What amazes me, is that the majority of Japan doesn’t even realize that this is going on..sound a little like some other masacre of the 20th century??

And yes I’m aware that they way this film was made probably does alienate the people of Japan  and that had they gone about it differently, it might have actually led to real change in Japan.  This does make a valid point, but the big money on these dolphins comes in the form of selling them to parks who keep them in captivity at about $150,000 per animal.  If the world becomes more aware, perhaps the knowledge will make people everywhere to choose differently when it comes to these parks and the demand for them will decline. 

I know it makes a difference to me.  I have never been to Sea World or any other Marine Park atrraction, and after seeing this movie, I can honestly say I will choose to never go to one either. 

Upon viewing this film, I did more research and discovered that Japan is not the only country to host these huge slaughters of marine mammals.  As example, here is a video of a slaughter that took place in Finland. 

To argue that the Japanese alone are very ignorrant, and to take your anger out on them is ridiculous.  Here in this video we see anglo western europeans doing the exact same thing and it is just as hearbreaking; blood infested waters, marine mammals thrashing about in desperate attempts to save themselves; babaric methods of killing being used on more creatures that are just as aware of what’s going on around them as the dolphins in the movie The Cove. 

What it all comes down to, is when will man as a whole realize the possible implications that his behavior has on nature as a whole?  When will he realize that these actions say more about us than any other mammal on earth?  And when will man as a whole develop a true conscious when it comes to treating our fellow earthlings with respect?