Photo via TheCoveMovie.com
Each year starting in mid-September, [about] 23,000 dolphins are slaughtered [in Japan, many of which are killed] in near secrecy in a cove in Taiji, Japan. Richard O'Barry, the leading dolphin trainer in the 1960s and trainer of the dolphins used in the TV series Flipper, has been trying to stop this slaughter for years. We covered the stories of activist Hayden Panettiere trying to expose the slaughter. And last year, we covered the story of a brave set of film makers lead by director Louie Psihoyos who have teamed up with O'Barry and other activists in an effort to show people the intolerable killings. They've now created a film called The Cove showing their efforts to get through the intense security and record what happens there.
The Cove is a powerful documentation of more than just this mass killing of dolphins, whose meat is later labeled as some other type of larger whale and sent for sale in markets, despite the incredibly high levels of mercury it contains due to pollution. The film is also a story of the power of commerce, the government corruption, and the culture of loving something to death that all culminate at this tiny cove where anyone trying to see what happens is intimidated until they leave.
Psihoyos and his team undertook an operation to set up secret cameras and document what happens in the cove - the round-up, the selection of a few dolphins for sale to aquatic entertainment centers, and then the slaughter of every animal left in the ring of nets.
The International Whaling Commission does nothing to stop Japan's extreme whaling habits. The citizens of Japan do nothing simply because it is kept under such tight wrap, people don't even know that dolphin meat is being consumed. It has taken the activists involved in this film to get it as exposed as it has become so far.
The film is intense, it's message clear and urgent, and its passion contagious. Right now, it is being screened in various locations, but needs funding to be completed and shown on a larger scale. And time is running out - the slaughter is set to start again this September.
If you want to see the film, try to catch one of these screenings. You can also watch snippits at TheCoveMovie.com. And, of course, if you want to take action immediately, there are ways to do that too through petitions and changes in your own daily life.
More on Dolphins
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