The Japanese town of Taiji received unwelcome attention when The Cove, a film following its annual dolphin hunt, won an Oscar. Sayuri (not her real name), who worked as a dolphin trainer in Taiji in the 1990s, gives her reaction to the film.
“When I saw the film I was deeply shocked. What the movie shows is very similar to my own experience of working as a dolphin trainer in Taiji. Only it went further and showed things that even I hadn’t seen.
Before I ever became a dolphin trainer, I had read many books that made me think that keeping dolphins in captivity was bad.
I wondered whether or not I should choose this profession and I decided to temporarily leave the aquarium that I was working at. I set out for Japan’s Ogasawara Islands to meet some wild dolphins.
I was literally blown away when I first saw wild dolphins. Those dolphins were smiling, they were happy. They had an agility that the dolphins in aquariums just didn’t have.
I became worried about the dolphins that I had left behind in the aquarium. I wanted to protect them, to make their lives just a little happier. And so I became a trainer of captive dolphins.”
Read the rest of this here: BBC News - Dolphin hunt: ‘We must open our eyes’
These parts really got me upset:
“All I could see was that a rope was tied around the fin and they were taken away. What I didn’t know was that they get trapped in a small cove and killed in such a violent way, that the ocean would turn red from their blood.”
“There was one time when I went to the cove every day. It was when a family of killer whales was chosen for the aquarium.
“They were anxiously swimming around and with each passing day, the big dorsal fin of the leader of the group would turn over on its side and it would look up with such a sad expression.”
“I have seen myself fisherman rejoicing over news that a group of killer whales was caught and that a lot of money would be coming in.”
“Foreigners would often come to Taiji to buy dolphins and I remember them saying that Taiji was the only place in the world where they were able to buy dolphins so easily.”
This is just one reason why I cannot support captivity. The brutal slaughter, the selfish profit. It hurts my heart that these dolphins are suffering for our selfishness.