As many people know, The Cove is a documentary about the dolphin slaughter that takes place in Taiji, Japan. And as many people will tell you after seeing this film, with no previous knowledge about dolphins in captivity, they will tell you that aquariums in America and most of Europe are linked to this dolphin slaughter. There is a large problem with that though: It's not true. Don't get me wrong, what happens in Taiji and in other parts of Japan with cetaceans of all kinds is just horrific, but they are not linked to the western world of marine parks and aquariums... well, they haven't been in over 20 years that is. Admittedly, there were some rash decisions made by dolphinariums back in the 80's, as this video explains:
That video really reminds me of when I became interested in cetaceans due to SeaWorld, as Stewart Clark explains, it's that first visit or close-up encounter with a live animal that hooks you for life. But... last year, SeaWorld had some pretty bad publicity, with the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau due to an accident with Tilikum and there were the deaths of four orcas, Taima (and her stillborn), Sumar and Kalina. All of this bad publicity fed the activist Ric O'Barry and others with ammunition to try and criminalize marine parks and aquariums for keeping cetaceans. Captivity in itself is a very complicated issue, whether we're talking about a cetacean or some other animal, it really depends on the individual and where they came from, and I'll touch on that in a later, more in-depth article. As it stands, Ric O'Barry blindly assumes that marine parks and aquariums in the western world get their dolphins from the slaughter, but these two videos I have embedded below investigates the facts of the matter.
Videos originally posted here: http://www.seaworldparksblog.com/thecove