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Killing of Dolphins

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Japan is constantly evolving and it is a country that is known for leading the world in innovation and technology. It is also a land of tradition and is proud of its ancient cultural background. Unfortunately, some of Japan's ancient traditions are still being practiced when they probably should have been retired a long time ago. One example of this would be the mass killing of dolphins in Taiji. In the thrilling documentary called The Cove, Ric O'Barry and a crew of motivated volunteers go undercover to Taiji to try to stop these actions. That is what Ric is determined to change in the filming and as we take a look at the history, the ruthless killing tactics, and the economic benefits of killing dolphins, it becomes very evident that things need to be changed across the globe.

The message in the documentary "The Cove" had a very strong and heartfelt tale. Louie Psihoyos, the director of this film, made it very obvious that the mass killings of these animals are very secretive and he wants the whole world to know about it. He also touches on how there are more dolphin's killed during dolphin hunting season than there are whales killed in the Antarctic, and still nobody gives a hoot simply because they are unaware. Ric, who was first recognized in the 1960s for capturing and training the five dolphins that were used in the well-known TV series Flipper, made a radical transition from training dolphins in captivity to assertively combating the captivity industry soon after Kathy, one of the Flipper dolphins, died. According to O'Barry, she died in his arms in what he believed was a suicide from being held captive for so long. Ever since then, he set out to free every dolphin he could. He starts the quest by taking us to the small town of Taiji, located in the Higashimuro District of Wakayama. For most people, Taiji is a place of picturesque beauty and hidden horrors. To travelers not aware of its dark secret, Taiji could easily be viewed as just another appealing, historic Japanese village. However, this is not the case.

Beginning in September of every year, dolphins and small whales are corralled by fisherman and slaughtered in the coves that dot the Taiji shores. Thousands of dolphins are killed in these coves through the killing season that lasts through March. As you keep watching, you also realize that the way these "fishermen" are killing the animals is anything but humane. Spears with massive gut hooks on the end and gill nets are two very popular tools. Now in America, killing innocent animals is highly looked down upon and there are many laws in place that protect animals against this. Louie PsihoyosIt and Ric do a great job in explaining the fact that Japan does need to change some outdated laws such as their animal rights section. In addition to all this madness, members of the International Dolphin Display Industry attend these dolphin slaughters to purchase show-quality dolphins for use in captive dolphin shows and dolphin swim programs. One not slected are slaughtered, and sadly, the dolphins bought for entertainment will become so stressed by their captive environment that they, too, will die. So, chances are, next time you go see a dolphin show at the zoo, it came from Japan since it is the largest scale dolphin slaughter in the world and unfortunately very few know it even takes place. Even in Japan, not many people are aware of this atrocity occurring.

Unlike expensive whale meat, dolphin meat is not considered a delicacy in Japan. In fact, even those who continue to eat whale, rarely, if ever, desire to eat dolphin. In addition to the fact that dolphin meat is not sought after and often winds up disguised as pricier whale meat in larger cities, dolphin is heavily tainted with mercury and is toxic if consumed by humans in large portions. Mercury accumulates up the food chain, so large predators such as dolphins, tuna, and swordfish tend to have the highest levels. The latest studies published by the Japanese



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