So, you go to a dolphin show or dolphinarium and marvel at the beautiful dolphins who seem to be having fun entertaining you. You might think that they were all born into captivity so have known no other life and that they grew up cared for and bonded closely with humans. Think again. Look at the photograph above. Inside that tarpaulin, if you look closely, you can see a dolphin being transferred. I now quote from eyewitnesses from the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians crew
“This afternoon, one Bottlenose Dolphin was taken from the Taiji Harbour sea pens to the Fisheries Union, lifted by crane into a truck and transported…
Trainers and possible dolphin park owners then followed the truck in vehicles originating from Mie Prefecture, Japan- where a relatively new dolphinarium that is known to source their dolphins from Taiji (Dolphin Island, Toba) is located. There were over a dozen police and official vehicles present after we arrived at the Fisheries Union- including vans, undercover vehicles, police cars, coast guard, riot vehicles and police motorbikes.. They imposed a police roadblock outside the Fisheries Union as the truck departed, and no less than three police and riot vehicles escorted the truck with the dolphin inside out of Taiji!It is insane the lengths that they will go to cover up not only the slaughter, but the captive dolphin trade…”
What do you notice when reading the above report? What stands out for me is the massive overdeployment of security and police presence. How much do you think that costs? This is to transport one dolphin to a dolphinarium. That should give you a massive clue as to how much a wild dolphin that can be sold for entertainment is worth to this industry. This is why the Taiji Cove hunters are so “driven” to go drive hunting. They have a quota of the maximum number that they can take from the ocean of each type of dolphin or small whale. I am wondering how they get paid. You know in a call centre or even those in traffic enforcement or the police, each member or team is given a target to reach, well I am wondering if that is how these hunters are paid. Perhaps they are paid a basic rate and this is topped up by performance related pay? I have no doubt in my mind that they are tasked to capture a certain number of dolphins for the entertainment industry. This is where the real cash incentive is. According to Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians $32,000 USD is the value for each live dolphin captured. Trained dolphins sell for much more. I do not know how these “lucky” ones are selected during the slaughter process. The whole panic stricken pod is herded/driven into an area of the Cove that is covered with tarpaulin. Some are brutally slaughtered and one or more are sometimes extracted from the killing zone and transported unceremoniously to a pen to be held, fed dead fish and trained for human entertainment. Bear in mind that dolphins are highly sentient family orientated beings and that this individual would have witnessed the wiping out of their family/pod and would have been immersed in their blood during the frenzied kill. Haaaa what is that I hear? Oh, must be the pro dolphin hunt lobby waving a banner at me and shouting ” Stop humanising dolphins! Stop humanising dolphins!”
I imagine that the people who criticise opponents of the hunt for humanising dolphins probably do the same when it suits them. What could be more in the genre of humanising dolphins than keeping them in an enclosed spaces, making them do tricks for their dead fish supper?
The other thing to bear in mind is that people gave generously to the Tsunami Disater Fund believing that the money would be passed to those who needed to rebuild their towns and communities. Well, it is a documented fact that a large portion of this money was siphoned off to pay for security for the whaling industry. There are still more than 300,000 people living in temporary homes, as they cannot afford to rebuild or because radiation levels around the nuclear plant make it unsafe to do so. Politicians from the devastated northeast regularly highlight the slow pace of reconstruction and the lack of leadership from Tokyo. An official from Fukushima prefecture has stated that peoples’ needs in the vicinity of the crippled nuclear facility are not being met. 329,000 people are still living in temporary homes nearly 19 months later.(au.news.yahoo.com/…/japan–tsunami-gives-lessons-on-disast… – Australia) In December 2011 the government admitted around 2.3 billion yen from the fund was being used to boost security around the whale hunt.
I will end this with a slightly adapted version of the Smokey Robinson song. I dedicate this post and this adapted song to all dolphins/small whales who had the misfortune to cross paths with these brutal hunters, whether they were slaughtered in the Cove, like the beautiful striped dolphins were earlier today or are somewhere entertaining our species
People say I’m the life of the party
Because I’m entertaining you
Although I might be leaping high and hearty
Deep inside I’m blue
So take a good look at my face
You’ll see my smile looks out of place
If you look closer, it’s easy to trace
The tracks of my tears..
Please realise that buying a ticket to go to a dolphin show or dolphinarium or captive whale facility means that you are propping up and giving your tacit agreement to this barbaric industry. I and others like me believe that it would be so wonderful if Taiji hunters could earn their living by transforming the beautiful Cove into a tourist and educational centre so that people could go out in boats to see dolphin/whales in their natural state.
“We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.”
—William Ralph Inge (1860-1954)