The Global Olympic Dolphins Campaign has been taking place in cities worldwide over this weekend. Teams were in public places to raise awareness about the plight of Taiji dolphins (and small whales) and asking the IOC to take a pro environmental stance when deciding on the winner of the bid for the 2020 Olympics.
The London campaign was held in Covent Garden, the sun was out and the area was heaving with people. Laura Katie Hydari, host, selected that venue because of the footfall. There were a lot of tourists passing through, some of them Japanese no doubt which was a positive as the media censor what is broadcast in Japan and its citiziens are not aware of what happens in the Taiji drive hunts and how it is funded by the live capture of dolphins for the human entertainment industry.
An Australian lady came to talk to us who had lived in Japan and she confirmed that the Japanese media is ubercontrolled and anything related to Taiji activities is not reported. She added that it is mainly the older generation who eat dolphin and whale meat. But that fact speaks volumes. Follow the money. It is not the meat sales that make drive hunting a profitable enterprise but the capture, training and sale of dolphins to dolphinaria and shows for human entertainment. This is the link that needs to be broken. The only way to do that is to educate people so that they do not visit such facilities. It is simple economics. Demand and supply.
There were a group of teenage schoolchildren obviously on a trip convening near us during the campaign and they were reading our signs and watching us with interest. We did pass the message that they should not go to a dolphin show if they like dolphins. If even one of those teenagers decides to look into Taiji and chooses not to go to a dolphin show and tells her friends why then we achieved something there.
One of my fellow campaigners said that like so many people, she saw some captive dolphins when she was younger as it did not occur to her to think about where they were sourced from. No shame there . This is the same for most people. But now, thanks to the work of animal advocates, those who are aware can educate people so that they can make an informed choice. In this, you are either for the dolphins or against them. Seemples.
One of our campaign team, Jolande was approached by a media student who is thinking of making a short film about the Olympic Dolphins team for her final project. She envisages it being shown in universities and at film festivals. That would be excellent exposure for the cause.
We also caught the attention of a gentleman who was openly hostile to our campaign. He had a good camera and took photos of us and our posters and said that “THEY need to know what you are saying” I am unsure who he was but I felt that he somehow had good connections. He seemed very put out by our presence and message. He sarcastically asked me to smile at the camera whilst he took a close up of me and my poster (pictured above) I smiled and pointed at the poster’s message. So the photos and our message are being discussed somewhere. Good, We raised awareness. Some will support us. Some will criticise us. But it creates discussion and the campaign takes on a life of its own, is organic and evolves. Job done.
Shona Lewendon who founded the Olympic Dolphins Campaign was invited to the Dublin Hilton to meet Ric O’Barry. He had attended the Dublin campaign. He sent a message to the global team.