Many may not know what truths lay behind one’s nation. They may be unaware of the horrendous scenes that take place as they can only see the unscathed masks presented to them. This idea can be seen throughout Louie Psyhoyos’s documentary, The Cove. In his documentary, former dolphin trainer, Ric O’Barry and his crew are seen investigating Japanese dolphin killings in the city of Taiji. His main mission is to exploit the gruesome killings and put an end to the dolphin massacre. Throughout his journey, many connections with food are made as dolphin meat is used not only for economical purposes but for national pride as well. Through the use of dolphin meat in this documentary, advances toward spreading the truth of the dolphin hunts and stopping them are made.
The first example to show how dolphin meat is used in the documentary can be seen when pedestrians are questioned about eating it. Throughout the documentary, many examples of the residents are shown to be unaware of the dolphin eating and killing. A prime example can be seen when a pedestrian is interviewed as shown in this screen shot:
“A pedestrian in a state of confusion when told of dolphins being eaten in Japan”
In this screen shot, the old lady becomes in a state of confusion and shock when the news of eaten dolphins were told to her. This just shows how the city of Taiji and Japan were able to cover up the fact that they were hunting dolphins and selling them in the forms of entertainment and meat. Also, coupled along with this idea, are when the families go to the market and see the dolphin meat for sale. Due to the Japanese government and their little tactic of mislabeling, they are able to hide the dolphin killings. Not only are they buying it, they are buying mercury infected dolphin meat. The little fact that many Japanese residents were unaware of such a crisis just shows how important it is to uncover the truth and spread it. Besides the selling of dolphin meat, Japan also used it in order to gain national pride.
The next example to show how dolphin meat was used to make advances in spreading the truth can be seen when dolphin meat began to become a sense of national pride. This idea can be seen when it was stated in the documentary that dolphin meat was a part of the Japanese culture and that they should be able to kill and eat dolphins. To further this idea, it can be seen when dolphin meat began to play a part in children’s lives as seen in the screen shot below:
“Young students are given dolphin meat as school lunch”
This screen shot specifically shows how the Japanese wanted to show how much dolphin meat meant to them and their culture. They were willing to feed their children, and basically their future, mercury infected dolphin meat. The children did not know of this poisoning, but since it was part of their tradition, they ate it. Besides the fact that the Japanese were giving out dolphin meat to schools to use as lunch, they used it as a way to explain their hunts and justify them. An ironic statement that should be made about this idea of tradition is the fact that people are unaware that their culture eats dolphins as seen in the previous screen shot. If dolphin meat was a part of their nation’s ideology, then why were their so many people oblivious to this fact? If the people asked questions like this and wondered where their meat came from, then ending the dolphin hunting would be that much closer. This just shows how dolphin meat was used as a way to progress their mission.
The last example to show how dolphin meat was used as a way to advance the spreading of the hunt and stop it can be seen when the dolphin killings were made public by O’Barry. The crew managed to obtain clips of the killings and was made public as can be seen in the screenshot below:
“O’Barry carrying a monitor showing the killings of the dolphins”
In this scene, O’Barry is publicizing the dolphin hunt and only a few stop to watch. As the clip progresses, more and more people stop to see and finally learn of the killings. They become enlightened and now realized that the dolphin meat at school came from this, came from the horrendous actions done at Taiji. This clip basically sums up the documentary’s mission as it shows how the spreading of the horror is slowly progressing.
The documentary was capable of spreading the news of the dolphin hunt through the use of dolphin meat as the method of obtaining it was exposed. Many of the Japanese were unaware of the killings and a conflicting sense of national pride arose. Even with the publicizing of the killings, it is up to the people to question where their meat came from and to stop the killings.