Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whale (and Dolphin) Wednesday - Ric O'Barry

September 1 begins the annual, brutal dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.  This story was brought into the public eye by the 2009 documentary The Cove by Ric O'Barry.  The slaughter goes from September 1 through April 1 killing thousands of dolphins while others are "rescued" by being chosen for a live in captivity.
They are driven into the cove by "banger boats" where they are then brutally and inhumanely speared to death, turning the cove bloody red.  The Japanese have no mercy in these killings, killing complete families and pods of dolphins, including babies.

O'Barry worked for 10 years in the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 years working against it.  In the 60s, he was employed by the Miami Seaquarium where he captured and trained dolphins, including 5 dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the TV series.  He also trained Hugo, the first Orca kept in captivity.

When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O'Barry realized that capturing and training them is wrong.  He feels that Kathy commit suicide by purposely stopping her breathing, giving up and drowning.  

On the first Earth Day, 1970, Ric O'Barry launched a campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry.  Over the past 40 years, he has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in Haiti, Columbia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas and the US.  He is the leading voice in the fight to end the brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, and the Faroe Islands.

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  1. I just came back from California where I had the pleasure of watching these wonderful creatures romp and play in the ocean. It was marvelous to see. How awful that events like you described are taking place.

  2. That sounds really dreadful. Why would they want to slaughter these beautiful creatures?

  3. Why, why, WHY would they do that?? This is easily one of the most horrible things I've ever heard of.

  4. Those killings are so brutal and wrong.

  5. Thank you all for commenting. I don't think many people realize this is happening and it is so brutal. I am planning to post many more updates and more information throughout the killing season. This is wrong on SO MANY levels!
    They are killed for their meat, which is contaminated with high levels of mercury so they are not even getting nutritional value out of it

  6. He is doing good work. The killings are terrible.

  7. I knew quite well about this.
    I think it's a mere matter of sensitivity, and a lot of people just don't have it. What a world!

  8. Images from that documentary will forever be seared in my brain. Truly horrific.