Isn’t it great that The Cove won the Oscar for best feature documentary?
Will it now be shown in Japan? So far it seems that it has been shown only once in Japan, at an international film festival where it wasn’t advertized, and where journalists were prevented from interviewing those few who saw the film.
Despite the film, and the global criticism, the slaughter chronicled in ‘The Cove’ appears to have continued – an eyewitness reported the slaughter of a large pod of killer whales near the end of January. And of course the annual offshore harpooning of 18,000 dolphins has not been affected by any of the Taiji publicity.
The recent killing of the Sea World trainer by an Orca has also raised the other issue, that of dolphins performing for our amusement in 130 tourist aquaria around the world. Even in the best of captive conditions, even under the guise of ‘education’, performing dolphins are a sad sight. The mouth shape of bottle-nosed dolphins makes it look like they are smiling, and this has cost them dearly. At The Cove at Taiji, the hunt for dolphins to capture and send around the world to perform in aquaria has never paused.
Every country supresses actions and history that are considered embarassing or critical, so Japan is hardly unusual in trying to hide both the Taiji dolphin slaughter and the film from its own people. But now the film has a new life, and the Internet remains a powerful force. We’ll see what happens next. A growing spotlight can still have a significant influence.
And everyone noticed that at the Oscar ceremony, when Ric O’Barry raised an innocuous banner indicating where you could send a text message about the dolphin slaughter, the camera immediately cut away. Mustn’t have any controversy, don’t want to offend anyone.
We have plenty of work to do here in North America as well, it seems.