Blood Dolphins

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    Starting this Friday, the Animal Planet network will begin airing “Blood Dolphins,” a TV series that follows around animal rights activist Ric O’Barry as he denounces what he sees as the “murder” and “enslavement” of dolphins. The title of the series is meant to teach us that the “blood trade” in captive dolphins is just as immoral as the trade in conflict diamonds:

    The trailer for the series shows O’Barry and his companions doing the kind of things they did in “The Cove.” They harass fishermen and directly seek confrontations that will give them dramatic footage of angry Japanese trying to stop their activism. It looks like the goal of the series is to encourage further protests of the Taiji hunt by showing viewers that “not much has changed” in Japan.

    However, it seems that they weren’t able to find enough new drama in Taiji. The show also involves trips to various aquariums so that O’Barry can get up on his moral high horse and tell people who evil it is to keep dolphins captive. One man in the Solomon Islands who had convinced the islanders to stop their traditional dolphin hunts and replace them with an economically beneficial dolphin-catching business is denounced; apparently to the point of tears. Just like in Japan, people whose livelihood depends on supplying dolphins to aquariums feel threatened and respond with anger.

    Time Magazine’s Ecocentric and CNN have used the airing of the new TV show as an opportunity to post stories that present a sympathetic view of O’Barry’s cause. At least one reader of the Time website has seen fit to call their author out on his ridiculous post:

    What piffle.

    The article’s discussion of the ethics of killing animals went from “Westerners eat cows, chicken and pigs by the millions” to “Dolphins are great swimmers and killing them is an affront”.


    “Dolphins are always trying to communicate directly with us” – is that a joke?

    These creeps need to get a grip and then get a life.

    Please, stop with the anthropomorphism. Leave that nonsense to Hollywood.

    Sadly, such voices will be drowned out by the anti-Japanese outrage that will no doubt hit the internet after “Blood Dolphins” airs on Friday night.

    In a related story, a plan by the “Save Japan Dolphins” group to hold a rally on Taiji on September 1st has been canceled because organizers feared a counter-protest by Japanese nationalists. The mostly-foreign “Save Japan Dolphins” group’s own unreasonable extremism has attracted opposition from unreasonable Japanese extremists. What a surprise.

    While we’re on the topic of Japanese dolphin hunting, here are a few great links that anyone interested in this topic should check out:

    • “The Cove” Debate — From the Japanese Perspective: “An effective conflict resolution requires respecting and understanding of both sides especially when it involves two different cultures. To use such a situation as an opportunity to be a hero is a form of exploitation, and it can escalate the conflict further. Given how angry many Japanese are about this, I would say the filmmakers of The Cove are guilty of this. I feel this is a very unfortunately situation.” (Also check out his links and the comments section)
    • Dice reviews “The Cove”: “Where they could have engaged in dialogue, the filmmakers did everything to offend and belittle people with whom they could have found a common ground. An issue that didn’t have to become a nationalistic one has now been turned into one. Once it’s reached that point, dialogue doesn’t matter as all sides aren’t interested in having any rational discussion, but only in pandering to their bases.”
    • Racist undercurrents taint whaling rhetoric” – Dougal McNeill notes that a lot of anti-whaling (and anti-dolphin hunt) campaigning in Australia has “uncomfortable parallels with past anti-Asian campaigns.” The same argument could be made about American views of the Taiji dolphin hunt, which are often expressed in with an uncompromising air of moral superiority that denounces the Japanese hunters and their supporters as “savage” and “barbaric.” ( “kill the Japs” / “we need to drop another nuke” comments are left on this site’s whale/dolphin-related posts just about every day)
    • Penn & Teller ridicule people who believe BS about dolphins being super intelligent beings with special healing powers (Video): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
    • Dolphins are violent predators that kill their own babies – dolphins are kind and gentle creatures who are always trying to communicate with us. They should be set free from aquariums, so that they can….rape and brutalize each other?

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