8/1/09

The Cove



If you have made vacation plans to visit Orlando's SeaWorld or Hong Kong's Ocean Park, watching The Cove might just change your mind. This documentary, which won an award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, is gripping in its narration and ultimately enrages you as more of the story unfolds. It is clearly a searing indictment for Japan. I know there are other stories of animal cruelty already told but it only makes me more mad wondering how these atrocious acts continue unabated?

From September to March, in the picturesque town of Taiji south of Osaka, some 23,000 dolphins are herded by fishermen into a cove where some of them will be sold off to aquariums and marine theme parks in various parts of the world. The price? Up to $150,000 per dolphin. Majority of these captured mammals, however, end up slaughtered for their meat in another highly guarded secret cove just nearby. While the dying dolphins wail, the waters literally turn red - most of us watching the movie inside Angelika Theater were horrified.

To expose to the public this horrific secret, a team worked in a true commando style of logistics, planning and execution. Led by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, top notch people worked with him: two freedivers, a freesurfer, a marine technician, a DNA scientist, a cinematographer, a dive master and 68-year-old activist Ric O'barry. Gadgets for high-tech espionage were brought in covertly to Japan: an infrared camera, an unmanned aerial drone, a blimp, and thanks to the magic of George Lucas, fake rocks to hide the High Def cameras.

O'barry - original trainer of the dolphins in the TV series "Flipper" - admits feeling guilty for the proliferation of aquatic parks that feature dolphins among others. He of course now opposes these parks and as he talks, I could clearly feel his dedication: he's been arrested many times and risked his life trying to expose the scandalous story. In his website savejapandolphins.org, O'barry says:

"I hope you'll join me in this campaign to stop the killing of dolphins in Japan.
Most people in Japan don't have any idea that the dolphin slaughter is even happening.
If we can spread the word around the world - and especially in Japan -
we can expose the secret of Taiji and force the Japanese government to stop it.
We can win this issue - but we need your help!"

What do you think? Can we begin helping by boycotting live dolphin and other cetacean shows?

9 comments:

  1. I loved the dolphin and sea lion show in HKG Ocean Park. I would probably haven't enjoyed that much (or probably skip that one) had I known this.

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  2. Awww.. That's why :(

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  3. nice blog here!
    napadaan at napatingin.;)

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  4. i saw the preview when i watched 500 Days of Summer and really want to see it now. I couldn't make sense of it then though.. if it was a documentary, mockumentary or movie?? i guess now i know. i will be going to orlando seaworld in october.. but i guess there won't be any swimming with dolphins for me :P [not that i can swim..]

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  5. That is powerful! And sad.

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  6. Hindi pa ako nakakita ng dolphin for real life. tama ka.

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  7. disturbing video. japan should really put a stop to this cruelty.

    i haven't watched any of those dolphin shows, and you know what, i'm glad i didn't.

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  8. alas!..i cant preview the vid.

    i've seen a dolphin and sea lion show in Subic and WOW! amazing creatures..it was just shocking why and how they are being bludgeoned to death esp the baby seals.

    this post of yours is a serious call to japan and to other country to STOP the cruelty... if banning the wonderful show is a must to stop capturing them and killing them, then better be..

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  9. I've been reading a lot about this and want to see if I can find the film to watch it.

    It brings up very important questions that I think we need to examine as a species.

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