The heartbreaking 2009 documentary The Cove exposed the horrific annual slaughter of hundreds of dolphins in Taiji, a picturesque Japanese inlet.Â Activists hoped that worldwide pressure, outrage and protests would end the killings, but a TV series premiering this week shows that the brutality continues. Blood Dolphins was created by former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry and his son Lincoln as part of their crusade to halt the annual massacre of over 20,000 dolphins.
Dolphins are highly intelligent, self-aware, complex creatures that should swim free without the threat of slaughter or captivity, Ric Barry notes.”The most important thing I can do, that my son can do, is show the world through projects like Blood Dolphins just how threatened dolphins are so we can all do something about it.â€¯ A former dolphin trainer who “saw the light”, Richard O’Barry is part of Earth Island Institute’s Marine Mammal Team, which campaigns to protect dolphins, whales and other ocean mammals worldwide.
This promo video outlines the new series, which premieres this Friday on the Animal Planet channel:
The Cove and Blood Dolphins depict the dolphin slaughter through clandestinely-shot film; fishermen take pains to shield the Japanese public from the slaughter events. Dolphins and porpoises are trapped in the cove; a few of the mammals are captured and sent to aquariums around the world; the rest are corralled in tightening nets and stabbed until they die in waters stained red with their blood. They are then butchered and sold for meat.
The BBC this week interviewed the mayor of Taijji, who asserted that his town had no intention of changing or stopping the killing, citing the town’s long heritage of dolphin hunting. Japan issues over 20,000 permits annually to kill dolphins. Although Taiji is the center of the controversy, the Christian Science Monitor reports that larger numbers of dolphins are killed elsewhere in Japan. The Cove, which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary, had only two public screenings in Japan prior to last month, when it opened in half a dozen theaters in the country despite threats and a national debate pitching nationalist protesters against free-speech activists.
It is often challenging to understand other cultures and to respect different points of view. Surely some actions, like the unnecessary and cruel butchery of thousands of highly intelligent animals in the name of tradition, call out to be changed…now.
Thousands have already signed the Care2 petition to end dolphin slaughter that targets the Japanese government via the U.S. State Department here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/end-dolphin-slaughter-in-japan/
Support the work of SaveJapanDolphins: http://www.savejapandolphins.org/
Photo: Vitaliy Sokol via istockphoto
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