Dolphin Slaughter Documentary ‘The Cove’ Wins Oscar

March 8, 2010

(ChattahBox)—For decades, local fisherman in the small village of Taiji, Japan have been participating in the annual slaughter of dolphins and small pilot whales. And in recent years, animal rights activists led by Ric O’Barry, former dolphin trainer for the 60s TV show “Flipper,” have drawn International media attention to the cruel hunting methods used by the Japanese fisherman. “The Cove,” a powerful and heartbreaking film, which documents the activists as they try to enter the ocean cove to prevent the hunt of the highly intelligent marine mammals, won an Oscar for best documentary last night.

“The Cove,” directed by Louie Psihoyos has not been distributed in Japan, and Kazutaka Sangen the Mayor of Taiji, condemned the film for not respecting Japanese culture. “I think it is regrettable that the film presents as fact material that is not backed up by scientific proof,” he said in a statement.

Psihoyos believes that when the Japanese people view the film, they will agree with him that animals are only meant to be eaten or used as circus entertainers. People will “decide themselves whether animals should be used for meat and for entertainment,” said Psihoyos.

The annual dolphin hunt, lasting six-months, results in the slaughter of about 20,000 dolphins killed for their meat. And dozens of additional young dolphins are captured and sold to aquariums around the world.

The hunting methods are cruel and heart wrenching to witness. And the film “The Cove” perfectly documents the deep emotional investment of the activists, as they try to block the herding of the frightened dolphins into the small cove:

“The hunting methods are notoriously cruel. The fishermen herd the highly intelligent dolphins by banging on metal poles in the water. Once the dolphins are lured into the bay, a net is draped across the mouth of the bay and the frightened dolphins are left there overnight struggling to break free of the net. The Japanese fishermen believe the overnight entrapment calms the dolphins and produces more tender meat. The fishermen return the following morning with buyers from aquariums, whom select the best dolphins for training. The remaining dolphins are dragged backwards with ropes tied to their tails to a neighboring cove, where they are slaughtered.”

The dolphins’ frightened and pitiful cries can be heard throughout the night. “The dolphins are terrified and frantic,” said O’Barry.


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