The Cove – a real impact

(Michael Berrill,

The slaughter of dolphins at Taiji has been stopped, at least for this past week, and international criticism, in response to the film The Cove, has certainly been the main reason. Some of the details, along with a clip from Rick O’Barry’s film, are found at .

This is excellent news.

Continued scrutiny of course will be needed to ensure that the slaughter does not start up again.  But the effort of a small group of very committed people has actually had an impact, and this is surely reassuring to all of us:  something that some of us do, somewhere in the world, that is clearly wrong and unethical can be stopped by shining a strong spotlight on it, perhaps with bravery and confrontation, but without violence.

Still, the high concentration of mercury in the dolphins hasn’t been addressed, or even admitted, and further action to curtail the sale of dolphin meat in Japan will be necessary to protect public health. I wonder what effects high levels of mercury have on the brains and behavior of the dolphins, but we are a long way from being concerned about dolphin public health.

Though the dolphin slaughter at Taiji has at least temporarily been curtailed, the capture of live dolphins for sale around the world for leaping performances at aquaria has not changed.  Once captured, the dolphins are ripped from their community and remain the rest of their lives in small pools of water where they leap so beautifully into the air,  impressing the visiting tourists who know so little about what has actually happened to each dolphin they see performing.

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