The Cove, The Annual Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji, Japan
The Taiji dolphin slaughter is scheduled every year from September through March, unless we stop it. Unless you stop it. Every year 23,000 dolphins are wiped out in Taiji, Japan, slaughtered to death, and it’s not even acknowledged.
There is a secret cove located in Taiji, Japan, where Japanese fisherman round-up and slaughter tens of thousands of dolphins every year. Before the slaughter begins, they pick and choose the best to be used in the dolphin entertainment industry including swim-with-the-dolphin programs, dolphinariums, marine park programs, and aquariums. The Cove tells the true horror story about what happens to the dolphins of Taiji, Japan from September through March—every year.
The documentary film is as compelling as it is tragic. Tragic for the dolphins that are needlessly and brutally captured forced into lives of misery in captivity, the rest killed for food. But also tragic for Ric O’Barry, the narrator and star of the film, who feels responsible for this horrific dolphin slave trade. Back some 50 years ago, Ric O’Barry was the chief dolphin trainer for the five dolphins that played Flipper in the 1960s TV series. Following the show’s end, all nine Flippers were shipped to marine parks where they suffered stress, depression, and became sick and died. One dolphin literally committed suicide in Ric’s arms by voluntarily stopping his breathing. As a result of witnessing how miserable dolphins are in captivity, O’Barry has spent the rest of his life—some 45 years—trying to reverse what he helped to start. Today, he is a leading voice in the fight to end the brutal dolphin hunts in Japan and Indonesia for commercialization.
“That’s a dolphin’s worst nightmare right there—hundreds of thousands of dolphins have been killed there. We need to get in and film this, and show the world what is happening. You’ll see the signs “keep out”—”danger!” And there are Japanese fisherman walking around in the hills with knives in the National Park. We need to get in there and film exactly what happens, we need to share the truth!”
Issues With Dolphins in Captivity (The Dolphin Project)
Dolphins are highly intelligent, completely self-aware, extremely social, have strong communities, and have very developed and strong emotions. They have evolved over millions of years, swim for up to 40 miles per day—most often in pods with other dolphins, and are highly evolved smart animals.
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project campaign to protect dolphins, focuses on stopping the killing of these animals in the wild in places like Japan, Indonesia, the Faroe Islands, and the Solomon Islands, as well as stopping the blood dolphin$ trade to dolphinariums and swim-with-the-dolphin programs all around the world. Often, these programs using dolphins for entertainment are associated with the dolphin trade where the remaining dolphins are slaughtered for their meat.
Some issues with dolphins in captivity:
- Captures of dolphins are traumatic and stressful and can result in injury and death of dolphins. The stress of hunting and capturing dolphins, separating them from their communities, and the brutality with which the capture is done, often kills them. Dolphinariums or swim-with-dolphins programs don’t and won’t tell you this. The truth.
- Dolphins don’t perform because they like it, they are performing because they have been deprived of food and are hungry. The captive dolphin industry completely disrespects dolphins’ inherent needs, wants, natural behavior, and instinct – every single day. Swimming with the dolphins, performing, their constant contact with people makes them sick, diseased, depressed, miserable, and causes their premature death.
- Most captive dolphins are confined in minuscule tanks containing chemically-treated artificial seawater. Dolphins in a tank are severely restricted in using their highly developed sonar, which is one of the most damaging aspects of captivity.
- Dolphins have highly sensitive hearing and the high levels of artificial noise caused by humans—cheering, yelling, loudspeakers amplifying human voices, audiences clapping—is extremely painful and stressful for them, it’s confusing, and hurts them.
- Dolphins and whales are emotional creatures, and like all animals, deserve our respect and the right to remain in the wild, free from human harassment and harm.
Film Premiered: 2009
Film Length: 1 hour / 31 minutes
Visit The Website: The Cove
Visit Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project
Release Me, Spread the Word!
Film Awards Won – Won 40 Awards and 17 Nominations
- Oscar Award Winner, Academy Award, Best Feature Documentary, 2010
- Winner Audience Award 2009, Sundance Film Festival
- Winner Audience Award 2009, Newport Beach Film Festival
- Outstanding Documentary Film, Genesis Awards, 2010
- Best Documentary, New York Film Critics, 2009
- Winner Best Documentary, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, 2009
- Truly Moving Picture, Heartland Award
- Best Documentary, Critic’s Choice Movie Award, 2010
What You Can Do
- PLEDGE TO NEVER BUY A TICKET to a dolphin or whale show or entertainment, no SeaWorlds, no dolphinariums, no swim-with-the-dolphins, PLEDGE HERE: http://bit.ly/1NqzMy6
- PLEDGE TO ASK sister city Broome, Australia to sever ties with Taiji here http://bit.ly/2d0NoJL
- SEND LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER of Japan, Abe, to end the hunting of dolphins in Japan and brutal slaughter, here http://bit.ly/1OCOAOI
- EDUCATE FRIENDS by hosting a movie night and watch The Cove and Blackfish
- SHARE about the horrors of Taiji, Japan, and about the misery of dolphins and whales in captivity, educate and inform others who don’t know
- SIGN UP to receive updates and alerts! http://www.thecovemovie.com/newsletter/newsletter.htm
- SHARE this Celebrity PSA video on social media, to spread the word! Video https://vimeo.com/58912932
- DONATE, text DOLPHIN to 44144, or donate here https://dolphinproject.net/donate/ to keep the Dolphin Project going
- VISIT – TakePart.com/TheCove and Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project for up-to-date news
- SCHOOLKIDS – If you are in school, consider screening The Cove movie for your class or school
- DOWNLOAD the PDF about Dolphins in Captivity, know the truth!
- SUMMER OLYMPICS in Japan is in 2020 – The Japanese government does not want controversy – concerned Americans and Citizens of the World! Make the most of this moment and mobilize your voice against this inhumanity. Speak Out Against This Atrocity!
- JAPAN hosts a number of other hunts for dolphins, porpoises and small whales, in addition to Taiji, please speak out, speak up – be a voice for the voiceless!
Please Sign These Petitions!
Articles About the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter
Let’s Finally Put an End to Dolphin Hunting, Tampa Bay Times, by Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the U.S., and Joel Manby
The Difference Between When The Cove Premiered and 2015, Motherboard, by Melissa Cronin
Why Dolphin Killings at the Cove Have Dropped to a Record Low, Take Part, by David Kirby
More About Dolphins & Saving Dolphins
Dolphin Facts here
List of Captive Facilities that have been closed down or never opened due to activism:
How the Japanese Broker Dolphins in Taiji
Taiji, Japan is the largest supplier of dolphins to marine parks and swim-with-the-dolphin programs around the world. The Taiji Whale Museum brokers the deals with the marine parks and dolphinariums, sharing the profits with the town and fishermen. Dolphins that are not selected for dolphinariums are then taken to the “secret cove” and slaughtered for meat sold in Japan. The dolphin drives begin in September and extend through the end of March, where an estimated 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed each year in Japan. A captive dolphin sells for up to $150,000 dollars.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC)
- The IWC banned commercial whaling in 1986. One year later, Japan responded by tripling its kills of dolphins and porpoises and starting lethal research programs on large whales.
- The whaling nations of the world (Norway, Iceland and Japan) set up the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Even though dolphins are whales, the dolphins receive zero protection under the IWC so that they can kill them, and use them for profit-making commercial purposes. These three nations set up the IWC for their own benefit and purpose – to kill dolphins and whales for profit.
- Japan has the scientific research programs that kill Minke whales, fin whales, humpback whales and many other whale species. The Japanese are trying to legitimize a practice that virtually every other country has banned!
Quotes From the Film
“I never planned on being an activist, but one thing leads to another. And now anything that happens to a dolphin in the world, my phone goes off.”
“The Japanese don’t want the West telling them what to do, it’s misguided and a notion of empire.”
“To me, you’re either an activist or an in-activist. I wanted to stop this.”
“The thing that turned me around was the death of Flipper Cathy, she committed suicide in my arms. She was extremely depressed. Dolphins can end their life by not taking their next breath. She swam into my arms, let me hold her, she looked into my eyes, and she stopped breathing. She never took another breath. I spent 10 years building that industry up, and I have spent the last 35 years trying to tear it down.”
“When I started, there were only three dolphinariums, and today it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s causing the massive slaughter of dolphins.”
“Where is Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and other nonprofits – they are silent in all of this.”
“There needs to be a new generation of Ric O’Barry’s and Roger Payne’s – there’s no one coming up to take their place, and they’re now in their 60s and 70s.”
“It’s not about intelligence, it’s about consciousness, the dolphins are totally self-aware. When they are in the killing cove, and the babies are being slaughtered, the dolphins are aware of that.”
“When dolphins look like they are smiling, they look like they are always happy—but it’s the greatest deception and illusion. Because they are all miserable, stressed, and deeply unhappy in captivity – they have ulcers from being so miserable, and have to live on Tagament the human ulcer drug.”
“A lot of marine mammal scientists get their money from Hub Research Institute, which is the non-profit arm of SeaWorld. But they don’t like me, they don’t like my message about the captivity of dolphins and the horrific dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.”
“If you didn’t know what’s going on, you would think the Japanese love dolphins and whales.”
“The Japanese create a wall of sound that drives the dolphins towards the shore, it frightens the dolphins. The dolphins then get into the lagoon and are trapped. Then the fisherman seal in the lagoon with nets. Then the dolphin trainers get into the water to handle and identify their dolphins to sell to the dolphinariums and entertainment venues and they are flown all around the world.”
“Jane Tipson, animal rights activist, was murdered over the dolphin slave trade in 2003. She was the victim of a targeted killing on the island of St. Lucia. She is the second colleague of mine that was murdered. Jennie May was also murdered who fought to protect dolphins, she’s the second person I know murdered trying to protect dolphins.”
“The thing that struck me was dolphins are a lot smarter than we think they are. They are highly self aware. You realize they don’t belong in captivity. One day Flipper ended, and the dolphins went back to SeaWorld.”
“In the wild, they are traveling 40 miles a day, socializing, bonding, hunting. They are sonar experts, they get all their information from sound. But put them in a pool with an audience making noise, and the stress of noise kills them. They are extremely sensitive to sound, and that is their downfall in Taiji.”
“The fisherman say this is our culture, but how can this be their tradition, if the Japanese people don’t’ even know about it? There’s a media black-out, a media coverup, to prevent the Japanese people from knowing about it. Because the dolphin meat is heavily laced with mercury. It’s very very toxic.”
“Almost no one in Japan eats dolphin meat, so where are 23,000 slaughtered dolphins going? Many of the packages sold as whale meat, are actually dolphin meat, with mercury levels exponentially higher than acceptable.”
Directed By: Louie Psihoyos
Executive Producer: Jim Clark
Starring: Richard O’Barry, Earth Island Institute
A Lionsgate Film
A Jim Clark Productions