By Kirsten Massebeau
Today the roar of the banger boats, and the black smoke was an unwelcome sight to dolphin advocates on the ground in Taiji, Japan as the dolphin hunting boats known as moved into formation. Twitter became alive with Tweets as The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project and other activists reported a large pod of pilot whales was being forced into the infamous killing cove. It wouldn’t be until the nets were drawn that bottlenose dolphins, most desired by SeaWorld, and friends to stock marine parks and aquariums would be noted within the pod.
In 2009 the documentary, “The Cove” staring Ric O’Barry would be released exposing the terrible capture and slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. The world was shocked to watch dolphins, who science have determined are highly intelligent beings divided destroyed. The young and strong were selected for captivity, while their parents and grandparents were slaughtered for meat, and fertilizer. The entire process was so obviously cruel and inhumane that many thought it would end following the release of, “The Cove” and then it’s academy award win in 2010 for best documentary would give it even more impact but sadly that would not be the case. Sponsored by the captive industry in order to fill orders for marine parks the hunt would continue with captures escalating. Young dolphins would be hoisted into slings headed for captivity whilst their parents were simultaneously, slowly slaughtered.
In 2011 the Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project representative, wildlife photographer and storm chaser Brian Barnes was on the ground in Taiji. His footage of a mass pilot whales suicide would shock the world as the hunters stood by and laughed as whales threw their huge bodies against the rocks to avoid being dragged to a slow death under the blue tarps now associated with terrible dolphin suffering.
The supposed, “Fisherman” claimed this was Western foolishness, propaganda. They took every stop possible to cover up what went on once a dolphin was dragged beneath their tarps. Again though the terrible suffering would be exposed by Dieter Hagmann of Atlantic Blue in Europe. His time elapsed secret footage would prove once and for all that these dolphins were suffering beyond any slaughter known. Behind the blue tarps a striped dolphin would have a steel blade driven behind his or her blow hole. Then the “Fisherman” drove bamboo pegs into the wounds to slow the bleeding in order to hide their work. For approximately 10 minutes the dolphin flays, twisting and writhing as the butcher heartlessly slices this highly intelligent being slowly, showing no empathy or emotion for such obvious and terrible suffering. The footage was later analyzed by a board of scientists whose finding were featured in the Huffington Post: Several veterinarians and behavioral scientists who watched a covertly recorded video wrote, “This killing method… would not be tolerated or permitted in any regulated slaughterhouse process in the developed world.” That includes Japan, oddly enough.
Japan’s own slaughter guidelines for livestock require that the creature being killed must be made to lose consciousness and be killed by methods “proven to minimize, as much as possible, any agony to the animal.” But those guidelines do not apply to whale and dolphin killing, which is governed by Japan’s Fisheries Agency..
On January 17, 2014 a mega pod of bottlenose dolphins would be driven into the cove. Within the center of this pod was a mother with a rare albino dolphin calf. Mother and daughter clung together until the following morning when at day break International Marine Mammal Animal Trainers and the dolphin hunters roared into the cove to begin three long days of dolphin hell and suffering as mothers and juveniles were separated, the youths were hauled away in slings for over seas SeaWorld’s and marine parks whilst watching their mothers and fathers slowly dying in the red tinged water.
The images of the mega pod slaughter and capture, and the albino dolphin now dubbed, “Angel” would be imprinted on the world forever. As the days of horror unfolded Carolyn Kennedy Ambassador to Japan would Tweet:
Following Carolyn Kennedy’s Tweet on January 22, 2014 Anderson Cooper 360 spoke with Ric O’Barry, director of the Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project, who argues the killing “is not traditional, it is not cultural, and it’s time to end this.”
Despite the growing awareness and the constant presence of the dolphin activists documenting and reporting on the capture and slaughter against these highly intelligent beings the dolphin drive continues. In addition, while SeaWorld may be failing in the United States because of the powerful documentary “Blackfish” that exposes the truth behind the death of Dawn Branchau and the abuse and exploitation of killer whales they are in fact expanding. SeaWorld has a contract with Samsung to build a mega size dolphinarium in South Korea, the Middle East, and China countries where they would easily be able to purchase wild dolphins captured from Taiji with the support of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums who depend on Taiji wild captured dolphins to stock their display facilities.
Ric O’Barry has spent a lifetime trying to undo the captive industry that he had helped to design almost a life time ago. Now he stands at the cove along with other activists documenting what was once a secret kept from the world. As the nets were drawn into place by the hunters to hold the dolphins and whales overnight prior to tomorrows early morning selection for marine parks and slaughter, Ric had this to say:
Our voice is their only hope! Don’t buy a ticket and join Ric O’Barry of the Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project.net and all the brave activists standing up and speaking out about “The Cove”.