I recently went to see a film that shocked me to the core and I encourage everyone to go see it and discover a dark deep secret about Japan and its relationship with dolphins and how we can help to take action against this not well known evil practice. The film is called: The Cove.
Synopsis: In a sleepy lagoon off the coast of Japan lies a shocking secret that a few desperate men will stop at nothing to keep hidden from the world. In Taiji, Japan, former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation “Flipper.” One fateful day, a heartbroken Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent and self-aware creatures must never be subjected to human captivity again. This mission has brought him to Taiji, a town that appears to be devoted to the wonders and mysteries of the sleek, playful dolphins and whales that swim off their coast. But in a remote, glistening cove, surrounded by barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs, lies a dark reality. It is here, under cover of night, that the fishermen of Taiji, driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling and the consequences are so dangerous to human health that they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it. [Courtesy of IMDB]
The Cove is a spectacularly compelling documentary that goes far beyond than most films dare to go, so kudos for the audacity of the filmmakers, activists and high tech elements provided by supporters of this important cause of saving dolphins from tragedy. The film takes a deep investigative role Mission Impossible style, trying to uncover a deep secret and hard to swallow truth about what happens in this little quite and an assuming town of Taiji, Japan. From the beginning, when Ric O’Barry is seen wearing a surgical mask driving through the roads and streets of this town–who hates him and his philosophies–the viewer gets the impression of an Ethan Huntesque approach, by O’Berry traversing through the town incognito on a secret mission.
The ironic part of all of this is that O’Barry believes he’s partly to blame and with a reason, as he introduced the dolphin to this billion dollar business of exploiting this harmless and loving sea creature by his introduction of it to the hit TV show: Flipper. This same billion dollar industry is the one that pays as much as $150,000 per dolphin to be later taken to captivity for shows in aquariums and aquatic parks like Sea World, and these are the lucky dolphins that make the cut to be sold. Most of those captured dolphins have a much bleaker future as they are brutally killed. What most people aren’t allowed to see is what happens afterward, when the ones that didn’t make the cut are moved to this secret cove, a place of complete darkness ruled by merciless fishermen. What’s most disconcerting about the whole story is the politics behind it, as there isn’t an organization that officially protects dolphins, the same way whales are protected. For some reason dolphins were not included even though they belong to the whale family. What’s worse is that Japan recruits countries in the Caribbean to get votes and support their cruelty to dolphins and to allow Japan do as they want again with whales, violation international conventions. It’s legal to fish for dolphins in Japan, and the filmmakers estimate that 23,000 dolphins are “harvested” there annually, making Japan by far the largest fishing industry in the world, and the highest exporter and killer of dolphins. A quote from a resident of Taiji is simply mind boggling, as they believe the following: “we are just trying to get rid of them because they are a pest”, utterly shocking!
The film is ended beautifully with a great song by David Bowie “Heroes”, which plays over the closing credits, and with its lyrics about swimming like dolphins and the line “We can be heroes just for one day,” moved me and the people I was with to take part on this important cause. The song’s powerful lyrics act as great motivation for us humans to do something about this travesty and try to become some sort of heroes by saving this unique creature from extinction. By the time the credits have rolled most of the audience was left deeply moved, wiping tears off our faces with something in mind that most of us shared; get together as one in this noble mission!
I urge everyone to go see this very important film, which deals with a REAL issue that needs to be addressed by all of us and governments around the world; furthermore, it covers a much bigger issue, that of the depletion, erosion and pollution of our oceans. A fact addressed in the film claimed that: “in 40 years we will be out of fish from our oceans if we continue at the rate we are going”, this is devastating figure, and extremely selfish from our part, so we MUST take action and make a change NOW!
How can we do this?
The creators of this great film have not only created the traditional website for it, but have taken the whole issue a step further by creating a take action, take part website for everyone to go to and help make a positive change, so I encourage everyone to go check it out and do the right thing:
Here are Five Things that we can all do to begin with NOW:
1. Write to our leaders and help get the word out in Japan
2. Learn more about dolphins in captivity
3. Choose the safest fish to eat
4. Help Save Japan’s Dolphins efforts on the frontlines
5. Support the filmmakers with donations