How many of you have been to a dolphin show at the zoo or aquarium? Have you ever wondered where the dolphins came from? Well, many people don’t know most of them come from Japan where every year thousands of dolphins are hunted and killed. The documentary film, The Cove, shows exactly what happens to the dolphins in Japan. It was my friend, Heidi, who first told me about this whole story and recommended that I watch this movie. Seeing how emotional and passionate she was about this subject really convinced me to take her advice.
I learned that the main reason the Japanese hunt and kill the dolphins is for profit. They can make a lot of money by selling the captured dolphins to the zoos and aquariums all over the world. The rest of the dolphins that are not chosen experience a worse fate. These unlucky ones are brutally murdered for their meat. It only takes a little bit from each of us to put an end to this horrendous act and help save the dolphins. To understand why people still hunt them today, I think it’s important to look back at the history of the dolphin industry.
In 1962, Ric O’ Barry caught five dolphins by himself for the Flipper TV show. When Flipper premiered in 1964, Ric O’ Barry became the most famous dolphin trainer in the world. He felt somewhat responsible for dolphins because it was the Flipper TV series which created this multi-billion-dollar industry. About 3 years ago, Ric O’ Barry helped to start the organization “The Oceanic Preservation Society” (OPS). Ric O’ Barry was incredibly frustrated when he found out that something was going on in Taiji, Japan, a little town with a really big secret. http://www. savejapandolphins. org) It’s so bizarre because if you didn’t know what’s going on over there, you would think this is a town that loved dolphins and whales. On one side of town, the Japanese fishermen have blocked off the National Park where a beautiful bay can be found red with blood in certain times of the year. Hundreds of thousands of dolphins have died in this bay. Many are also taken alive because a dolphin in the right spot can make a million dollars a year. There is a lot of money in it.
Because of the success of dolphin shows, the Japanese continue to hunt dolphins and sell them to zoos and aquariums all over the world. They also kill the dolphins for their meat which is sold to the schools in town for lunch. Most of the students don’t know that they have dolphin meat for their lunch. It is dangerous to eat too much dolphin meat which is toxic because of the high levels of mercury. It is especially not good for children and pregnant women since can negatively affect their health and development. Sometimes fishermen also use the dolphin meat as bait in crab pots or for other types of fishing. http://www. earthtrust. org/wlcurric/dolphins. html) It is for these reasons that the dolphins get slaughtered in Taiji every year. In IWC meeting, a Japanese representative stated that the dolphin population must be thinned in order for the fish population to grow. “According to Earth Island Institute (EII), fishermen admitted that they conduct dolphin drives as a form of “pest control. ” They explained that dolphins eat large quantities of fish, so the fishermen view these mammals as a roadblock to a bountiful harvest.
The more fish dolphins eat, the less there are for fishers to trap, and the less profit there is to earn from their catch. ” (http://animal. discovery. com/tv/blood-dolphins/dolphin-hunters/why-people-hunt-dolphins. html) They also say that this is an important part of their culture and they have been doing it for years. These are the excuses Japan uses to defend the fact that a lot of innocent dolphins lose their lives in that little bay. Now, do you wonder how the Japanese abuse and kill these poor dolphins? “The fishermen say they kill the dolphins “quickly and humanely. ” That’s an outright lie.
The methods used to kill the dolphins are so savage; it’s hard to believe it unless you witness it for yourself. ” (http://www. earthprotect. com/blogs/japan-killing-dolphins-facts. html) You will be surprised with all their methods of hunting and killing. Have you ever wondered why the dolphins seem so happy and smile in the show? The nerve center of any dolphinarium is the fish house, and if you go to any one of these fish houses, you will see bottles of Maalox and Tagamet that have to be used because the captive dolphins get really depressed and stressed out and can get ulcers.
Dolphins were not meant to live in such a small area, in their natural habitat a dolphin will travel hundreds of miles a day. Dolphins are very sensitive to sound and it is this fact that makes it very cruel to keep them in an enclosed space. You are basically taking away one of their senses. It is this sensitivity to sound that is their downfall in Taiji. After the fishermen set up nets under the ocean, they go out in their boats and put these long poles in the water which have a flange on the bottom and they start banging on them with hammers.
Courtney from Study Moose
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