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The Cove / Taiji Dolphin Industry
The Cove is a brilliantly executed documentary. Although the focus is on the Taiji Dolphin industry, it is not limited to this small location. The global implications and responsibility are addressed in great detail.
A strong case is made against both the eating and captivity of dolphins. Wild dolphins are known to travel up to 40 miles a day. To confine them in any tank is going to inhibit their natural instincts. Being acoustic creatures makes them very sensitive to sounds. Putting them in concrete aquariums and surrounding them with screaming people makes captivity even harder on them. I found it interesting how these dolphins are stresses, but because humans see a “smile” we naturally interpret that as happy when in fact they are under enormous mental and physical strain. It is important to stress mental, because dolphins are some of the most intelligent animals found on our planet.
To witness such tight security by both the companies and government was infuriating. The filmmakers had to use military grade cameras, satellites and unmanned drones in order to spy on this industry. They are not being protected to help secure the intellectual property of KFC’s secret ingredients. They are hiding what they know is unacceptable to most of the world including their own citizens. Most of Japan has no idea this is going on and to blame this practice on a country is wrong. Pressure needs to be placed on the tiny few who are involved. The Japanese people are suffering because of this secret as well. Dolphin meat has a very high mercury content and should not be eaten from a health perspective. Yet dolphin meat is being put into foods without the consumer being aware.
The key to a good documentary is not only to educate us about the problems we face, but also teach us what we can do to make a difference. A great documentary inspires us to take these steps. The cove has been able to inspire the world to make a difference. The Japanese media is now covering the issues addressed in this film helping to enlighten the public. The residents of Taiji are finally being tested for mercury poisoning. Although it has not stopped the Taiji dolphin killing it was able to get a temporary ban on killing bottlenose dolphins in 2009. The Solomon Islands, which also hunts dolphins, has agreed to end the majority of their hunting.
Progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go. After great strides to save the whales the public assumed the problem had been solved. Without public awareness the number of whales killed every year has been increasing. It is important to stay informed.
Warning: Images like the one above are found in the movie.