even to a rehabilitation facility in the US, as her delicate albino skin will be the seller’s bargaining chip with a rumoured exorbitant price tag of up to half a million US dollars. By doing business with the dolphin killers, they are helping to maintain the dolphin drive hunts. The dolphin entertainment industry drives the hunt. The endless massacre of the dolphins follows in its wake. Most of the 500 dolphins currently held in Japan’s 50 Dolphinariums were captured during a violent and deadly dolphin drive hunt. But there’s blood on the hands of many others, it spreads much wider than Japan, with captive cetaceans from Taiji reaching aquaria around the globe. In addition to the Japanese Dolphinariums, it’s reported that out of 164 dolphins stolen from the ocean this season at least 50 ‘show-quality’ specimens will be shipped off to aquariums around the world from China, the Middle East to inland Mexico and beyond, where ‘Entertainment’ seems to be cleverly sheltered under the ‘Conservation’ umbrella. Wellintentioned marine mammal trainers and the dolphin-showviewing public all have the blood of innocent dolphins on their hands. Keeping dolphins and whales in captivity is unethical and cruel, ripping them from their families that they would normally grow up with, depriving them of the freedom of the ocean. The training of dolphins is often deliberately misrepresented by the captive dolphin industry to make it look as if dolphins perform because they like it. This isn’t the case. They are performing tricks because they have been deprived of food, confined in minuscule concrete tanks containing chemically treated artificial seawater and severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, with no clear direction in sight, one of the most damaging aspects of captivity. They are trapped in an artificial world,
a world without tides, without the tastes and sounds of the ocean, forced to smile or laugh for an audience, or be petted, all for a bucket of dead fish. The whole debacle is an illusion and disturbingly misleading. These dolphins are forever wild, created by nature to play a role in nature, not to play silly games in a tiny pool for our amusement. For those animals fortunate enough to avoid being killed for whatever reason, they are released back to sea, where they will spend the rest of their emotionally traumatized lives. Sadly, some may die from the physical and emotional trauma they have endured. The Sea Shepherd has already confirmed that their Cove Guardians have found many babies and juveniles, who couldn’t possibly survive without the guidance of their murdered/captured mothers, washed up on the shoreline after the now-disrupted pods have been driven back out to sea. As Captain Paul Watson, founder of The Sea Shepherd said ”It’s time for Taiji to realize that this is the 21st Century and cultures that practice barbaric rituals have no place in the kinder and gentler new world we must create if we are going to protect diversity and guarantee a healthy eco-system for our children and our children’s children” For the greater good of the planet, we have an opportunity to educate future generations around the world about how human greed is contributing to the death of our ocean life and devastation of the environment. We need to look at ways to end this dark and gruesome chapter of humanity and introduce funding alternatives for the Japanese fishermen and the town of Taiji, to build jobs and revenue without harm to dolphins and whales. On the plus side, with the benefits of social media networking, the global spotlight, albeit a very small one, is very
firmly fixed on Taiji. If it wasn’t for the unwavering dedication of conservation groups like The Sea Shepherd, Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, WWF and many others, nobody would be the voice for the dolphins and this brutal hunt would go on unabated and unseen by the world, most likely bringing about the extinction of multiple species of dolphins in a short period of time. In 2010, The Sea Shepherd’s launched ‘Operation Infinite Patience’ placing volunteer Cove Guardians on the ground in Taiji, live streaming and reporting every slaughter and capture under the restricted confines of the ever changing Japanese laws. Despite every effort by the dolphin killers and Japan to hide the bloodshed in Taiji, the Cove Guardians have been the world’s window and international pressure is now mounting. US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, daughter of JFK, expressed her dismay last month on Twitter, a first for a US government official to criticize the hunt and many celebrity names are getting behind the campaign. Fingers crossed, we are on the precipice of a massive socio-economic change that could very well bring the end of the dolphin drive hunt for good. So, if you have a week to spare in your busy life, don’t go and support a live dolphin show or participate in a confined swimwith-dolphin program anywhere in the world, in fact, boycott these facilities for the rest of your life. Instead, consider a trip to Taiji in support of the Cove Guardians, the only group on the ground documenting these atrocities and bringing them to the rest of the world throughout the entire killing season. And if the weather is bleak and the tides are too strong to drive hunt, you might even witness a ‘Blue Cove Day’. We can’t survive without the oceans but the oceans can survive without us.
Issue 15 of The Leeds Debacle