The Cove, an upcoming documentary about dolphins in Taiji

The Cove, a new documentary on dolphin killings in the Japanese town of Taiji, comes out at the end of August. I personally love dolphins, and I used to enjoy watching them swim at hotels and aquariums in Hawaii when I was a kid. Then again, if I knew the story behind their capture back then, maybe I would have become a dolphin activist too. Some people are opposed to the eating of dolphins. I would never eat a dolphin, but I eat other meat and think that’s fine, so I’m not conceptually opposed to people eating stuff they want to eat. I’m not sure how I’ll feel after seeing this documentary, but I’ll let you guys know.

Interestingly, dolphins were not considered worthy of captivity by humans until the 1960s &mdash that’s when the American TV show Flipper came out.

Related story:
Dolphin slaughter: horrible injustice, or just another meal?

(Thanks, Ken!)

5 thoughts on “The Cove, an upcoming documentary about dolphins in Taiji

  1. Heard about this on NPR’s Fresh Air. The Man who trained the dolphins who portrayed Flipper is try to atone by bring this to light. It seems many Japanese are unaware of this happening in their own country. US prohibits getting dolphins for this but there is demand from the rest of the world. It’s so senseless that they take just the best dolphins and slaughter the rest.

  2. Yes, NPR was where I initially heard the story, too.
    I see the point about people eating what they do, and not judging the “rightness” or “wrongness” of their actions based upon our own cultural norms and morals. You could probably find a social group that would strongly object to virtually any meat animal consumed in the Western world. Pork, lobster, beef, all have groups that find their use as food abhorrent.
    Just remember, as Douglas Adams wrote, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe,
    “…on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.”

  3. Oh boy, I meant Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Lose 50 geek points and forced to attend a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in the company of a group of fanatical fans. Damn.

  4. I thought that it was a cull, as in killing them to reduce their numbers. I might have the info wrong but didn’t the fishermen say that they did it every year and have done for years because the dolphins reduce their catch of fish. This never made and will never make the news in Japan. I’ve lived here 8 years. I asked a few people but no one I asked had ever heard anything about it.

  5. I checked a bit, and it seems that dolphins are actually endangered. Lots are killed just due to the methods used to harvest fish. That’s probably been the case for decades, though.
    The story has been getting increasing news coverage (mostly because it is tied in with a film release, probably) here in the US. They seem to make a point of the fact that because they’re at the top of the food chain, dolphins really aren’t so good to eat. They build up a lot of mercury (Hg) from eating lots of other fish.