The Cove is a documentary film directed by Louie Psihoyos in 2009, and the film reveals the horrible situations of Japan’s dolphin fishery.
Ric O’Barry is the former dolphin trainer. One day, because of the hard training, one of the dolphin that he trained committed suicide by holding their breath intentionally. After that, Ric O’Barry quitted his job as a dolphin trainer and he decided to become an activist to save dolphins.
Dolphins are able to socialize with human beings. Also, not only dolphins are intelligent, but also they have great capacity for self-awareness so they have their own will to decide to live or die.
Ric O’Barry and his team went to the cove called Taiji in Japan, where people brutally kill dolphins and sell them as food disguised in whale meat, or catch dolphins and trade them to the aquarium or the dolphin shows. Dolphins are sensitive to sounds, and Japanese people use that point to easily capture them. Annually, more than 20,000 dolphins are killed in Taiji, which is the main source of dolphins to all over the world, but people in the town hide their secrets and do not acknowledge what they do to dolphins.
Then, some people might say there would be no reason why the dolphin fishery should be banned if it is a part of Japanese culture. Food is what all human beings need to live, and the choice of food depends on individual taste; if Japanese people love to have something for meal and it is a part of their cultural aspect, we would not have rights to criticize it. Then, is ‘dolphin fishery’ could be justified and be acknowledged in the meaning of food consumption and cultural characteristics? The answer is ‘No’.
First of all, dolphins contain high levels of mercury in their body, so it is very dangerous to have them as edible product. However, killed dolphins are often disguised in whale meat and sold in markets. Mercury is extremely harmful to human bodies as seen as Minamata diseases of Japan, and Ric O’Barry stresses that people should be aware of the dangerousness of dolphin meats which can bring another tragedy to human society.
Secondly, the process of killing dolphins is inhuman while dolphins are extremely friendly creatures and being gentle to human beings. should be seen as ‘slaughter’ or ‘massacre’. As Ric O’Barry said, dolphins have special capacity to commune with human beings, and even they are able to take their own lives if they got threatened, which means they are like mammal counterparts. Also, dolphins are already an endangered species, and killing such a large numbers of dolphins every year destroys whole marine ecological system.
Even though this kind of situations are considered as serious global problems, Japanese government still refuses to change their attitude, and through the film, Ric O’Barry reveals the horrible dolphin slaughter happened in Japan, and stresses that this is the time for us to take action to save dolphins.