Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Problem with The Cove

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:


  1. Explain these...

  2. Okay, I will.

    The first article you linked is about a pilot whale named Argo who was in a stranding (not a drive hunt) back in 2004, and has been residing in an aquarium ever since. He can be found on this table in the link below as number O-1515

    'Shipwrecked' means 'stranding' by the way. Also, it's pretty much impossible for any facility in the states to get animals from a drive fishery, since NOAA deems it as an inhumane way to capture the animals. They can still capture cetaceans, yes... but they choose not to.

    In the second link, with the video talking about Sea World's decisions in the 1980's, I do agree with, like I said, there were some rash decisions made back then, there's no denying the past, but what I'm debating for is the present.

    In the last link, it's talking about Asian marine parks and aquariums, which I am not defending, I'm defending specifically American and most European aquariums that follow strict guidelines even when taking care of stranded animals.

    In the first video in my article, there's a clip of J.J. the gray whale that was rescued, rehabilitated and released by Sea World in the late 90's. Tell me, if they were really such an evil company, wouldn't they just keep the whale? I mean, what other chance are you going to get? And it's not like they haven't received other rare strandings before either, just a couple years ago, they got their hands on a northern right-whale dolphin that stranded, but did they keep it? No, that would be wrong if it was healthy enough to be released in the wild, and they did release it. There are reasons that some animals are kept in captivity and others are released. It's all for the welfare of the animal, not what our hearts want. The issue isn't as black and white as some people would lead you to believe.

    If you can find me real evidence that aquariums and marine parks of the western world have been getting cetaceans, then I may be more inclined to stop supporting certain facilities, but not aquariums and marine parks as a whole. They are an integral part of conservation and awareness and I'm sure you've heard that spiel before in a much more 'corporate' and clean tone, but it's true.