Dolphin Times Issue Three – 9/27/13

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Dolphin Times is a weekly article dedicated solely to dolphin-related issues. This issue will cover how the Japanese drive hunt is justified by culture, how environmental threats have affected dolphins and people, and the weekly run-down in Taiji since the last issue.

The goal of this article is to spread awareness and unite together upon global issues. Please join us in the fight…we need your voice!!!

United we stand, divided we fall.

Featured Media: Blood in the Water

http://vimeo.com/63491279

This week’s featured media, in correlation with the topics covered and the beginning of Operation Trident, is a video made regarding the dolphin slaughter in the Solomon Islands. For those who did not read the last issue, the slaughter occurring in these islands is the largest dolphin slaughter, beating the more infamously known massacre in Japan.

“The largest dolphin slaughter in the world occurs not in Japanese Taiji, nor the Danish Faroes, but in the Solomon Islands. Dolphins numbering in the “tens of thousands” have been hunted and killed every year for hundreds of years according to those in the know. The carnage and suffering is exacerbated by those who promote and profit from the live capture and trade industry which was introduced in 2003 by the outside world.

Our mission and hopefully yours also ultimately, is to end what truly amounts to a Dolphin Holocaust in the Solomon Islands once and for all.

This said, we have to point out that at first glance the problem seems immensely complex involving government officials and policies, corruption, bribery, foreign tuna fleets, legal and illegal, foreign traders, domestic traders, dolphin-tooth currency, dolphin-meat consumption, foreign tourists, foreign activists and their foibles, foreign animal welfare organizations and their failings, and, most of all, the age-old native culture itself.
Yet in this day and age barbaric customs based on ancient culture do not justify this slaughter due to the fact that these tribes have stated that are more than ready to give up this slaughter, but do not want to starve in the process!

What it would cost per annum is minimal in any currency other than Solomon. When we hear the local chiefs mention that $1,000 USD to $2,000 USD a year would give the life back to thousands of dolphins, it saddens many a heart to realize that with such a minimal subsidy so many lives could be saved.

This is the bottom sad line:

Two tribes doing the hunting would stop with the aid of about $2,500 USD total annually. This amount would feed members of both tribes for a year. And if there were no hunts to feed the coffers of the dark traders, they would have one hell of a time actually acquiring and hiding their terrible captures and the transport of dolphins into a life of captivity.
Accordingly, the solution when found, might still be comparably complex. There is no simple or simplistic fix without the intervention of the Royal Family.”

Japanese Dolphin Killing: Tradition or Cultural Fallacy?

Japan kills thousands of dolphins every year for profit and so called “sustenance.” Many people in the world now know this, whether they care or not. But how did this mass dolphin slaughter begin? In this section we will explore the common pro-slaughter argument that it is part of Japanese culture.

The drive hunt in Taiji, Japan (drive hunts occurred in many more cities but we will focus on just this one) began in the 1970s. Many sources, including the fishermen and ever-so-unreliable Wikipedia, claim that it has been a cultural tradition for hundreds of years. Given, whale and dolphin hunting has existed that long, but the drive hunt has only lasted a few decades. Japan, being a nation founded in cultural pride, has a clear but understandable bias towards this issue. Dolphin drive hunting (paying attention to wording is key…do not be fooled!) is not cultural because it has no sense of antiquity or national unity. Only a small percent of Japan participates in and supports the drive slaughter of dolphins, whereas nearly all of them uphold the importance of family, a tradition Japan has endeared throughout its history unlike the drive hunt.

Furthermore, even if the drive hunt was cultural that still doesn’t make it acceptable. I mean slavery was part of American history for a long time and many thought it was okay. But we all in America regard that as immoral now. It is important for cultures as diverse and wonderful as Japan’s to evolutionize and keep the things that make the nation so amazing while changing those that will in the end do the nation harm.

It is understandable that pride has been the reason for Japan’s reluctance to end whaling and the drive hunt. They are afraid the rest of the world will dominate them. That has been their fear throughout history. And that fear and pride clouds their minds. In order for a culture to stay alive, it must uphold traditional values while collaborating and taking a spin on other’s cultures. Take the Philippines for example. They have upheld their culture in working together while adapting things such as importance of family and food from Asia, technology and government structure from America, and vocabulary from China and Japan, not to mention the US. Their culture is now extremely unique and powerful.

In order for Japan to overcome its nuclear disasters, dying seas, and world problems, they must let go of their pride and broaden their minds. I would hate to lose such a unique nation filled with cultural beauty because they were too proud to let go of wrongs justified by culture. We, in a critical state of our environment, must see things as they are. The oceans are dying. Nuclear waste is seeping into the now radioactive ocean. If Japan wants their nation and the world to survive, they must set themselves free from the chain of pride and let their culture follow the course of evolution.

A Radioactive Ocean: Mercury Poisoning? Oh My!

As many are aware, our oceans are unhealthy and dying. Not only do they face an over-exploitation of resources, but severe pollution from factories and power plants. In the past two years after they were hit by a tsunami, Japan’s nuclear power plants have malfunctioned. Tons of nuclear waste has leaked into the oceans. Russian scientists tried to extend a hand of help to Japan, but they refused saying this was their problem.

What effect does this have on the oceans? 300 tons of toxic water has leaked (date September 4th, 2013) from the reactors so far. Though scientists claim that because the radiation is diluted from the currents surrounding Japan it doesn’t pose a health problem to humans, this radiation can increase from plankton to fish to large predators (such as dolphins), and then to humans in a process called biomagnification. Considering how unsafe the food supply already is from pollution of the ocean, the radiation leak only amplifies the worry, especially since Japan’s diet consists highly of ocean life and 80% of the U.S. seafood supply comes from the nation.

This just goes to show how important the dwindling ocean is to our, and all of life’s survival. Since this article focuses only on dolphin-related issues, we will apply this to mercury poisoning of individuals who consume dolphin meat. Since biomagnification was discussed earlier, we will start from the beginning of the pollution cycle. Mercury is put into the ocean in various ways. The most common is from waste emanating from industrial plants that either enters the ocean as runoff or from being dumped into the water. It may not enter as a large amount, being consumed by plankton. But as it goes up the food chain, from one trophic level to the next, the number greatly increases. When the mercury enters dolphins through the fish they consume, it is found at 2,000ppm. And that is consumed by people who eat dolphin meat (which is often mislabeled as whale meat coming from Antarctica), causing a serious health problem in mercury poisoning, a problem Japan knows all too well from the Hiroshima Bomb and Minamata.

The Minamata catastrophe is a perfect example of biomagnification and mercury poisoning. An industrial factory in the western town Japan known as the Chisso Corporation produced a chemical called acetaldehyde, which is used to produce plastic. Mercury entered as waste into the Minamata Bay as a chemical that can enter the food chain: methyl mercury chloride. And the biomagnification process began. Mercury entered the humans in the city through the mass consumption of fish and shellfish, causing untimely death and despair. Symptoms of mercury poisoning are not pleasant and essentially kill the brain, causing partial paralysis and muscle weakness. Civilians didn’t know what hit them.

And sadly these same problems are occurring again as the ocean grows more and more polluted. Killing and eating dolphins not only is a cruel process but kills those who eat it too. It was appalling to hear that it was almost made a permanent part of the school lunch in Taiji. So please, stop the slaughter and let both human and dolphin children live.

Weekly Taiji Update 9/17-9/27

Since the slaughter of Pilot Whales on the 17th, no dolphins of any kind have been killed on the 8 hunting days that have passed. Whether it be from strong weather conditions or no dolphins to be found, the cove has remained blue for over a week. But could this mean the dolphin population passing Taiji is running low? Or have the dolphins found a new migration route bypassing the slaughter? Whatever the reason, the good news is that no innocent blood has been spilled, no families torn apart for a week. Let us hope and pray this continues and the slaughter ends, leaving the sea in blue forevermore. But we cannot just wait for this to happen. We must take the initiative, get out in the field, and make some noise!!! The next issue will go in depth on ways we can help make a difference. Until then, let the world hear all our voices together pleading for this to end!

United we stand. Divided we fall.

Many thanks for reading this article and I hope you found it a good read. For suggestions regarding the next article or questions regarding what you read here please email dolphindefender@globalwildlifewarriors.org and expect a response within 48 hours.

Zach Affolter
Global Wildlife Warriors
“the dolphin man”

Sources:
http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/cetacean-kill.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolphin_drive_hunting#Japan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiji_dolphin_drive_hunt#History
http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/04/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-crisis-explainer/index.html
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/fukushimas-radioactive-ocean-plume-due-reach-us-waters-2014-8C11050755
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mmckinzie/fukushima_radiation_risks_from.html
http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/biomagnification.html
http://www1.umn.edu/ships/ethics/minamata.htm
http://www.medicinenet.com/mercury_poisoning/article.htm

All text has been originally written by Global Wildlife Warriors and may only be reproduced if appropriate credit is given. Links to facts are provided that were used to write this article. No statements, unless otherwise stated, were copied and pasted into this piece of writing.

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Message to the Lost Ones: RIP Bottlenose 12/16/12

image
After four days of torture,
the world is looking on in dread,
as the blood stains the water
and The Cove becomes red

You looked on in agony,
letting out panicked screams,
as you watched your family
disappear like a bad dream

As the day came to an end,
and all light began to fade,
the past and future you did apprehend,
as you lay in The Cove afraid

As a new day came,
the clouds failed to go away
and there was nothing but rain,
as things continued to go astray

Mothers looked on, helpless,
as more children were taken
by the greed of the heartless,
who never seem to waken

The day slowly dragged on,
as the insatiable men could not stop;
Their forever-lasting hunger never gone,
while harvesting the crop

As the boats left for another night,
you all were still trapped,
screaming in fright,
after again being sacked

A new day began,
but there was no sun,
only rain again,
the day was not won

You lay in agony,
the recent nightmares
playing in your minds rapidly,
causing deep despair

You called out for help,
but no one heard
so much as a yelp,
not one single word

As the day darkened once more,
The horrifying images kept playing
over and over again as the rain poured,
while you awaited the horrible slaying

Sure enough, as the horror continued,
the boats came again,
signaling the slaughter ensued,
as more children were taken then

As you watched the last of your family
disappear over the horizon,
more screams erupted in the agony,
knowing that the day would never brighten

The Cove now becomes stained
from the blood of the innocent,
spilled by the men with no shame,
as the world was left dissonant

After all you’ve gone through,
and all of the pain you’ve felt,
it may seem hard to continue
into the next life with this welt

May you know that even after
all that has taken place,
your souls still live on,
shining like a star in space

I wish all those who lost
their physical bodies tonight,
to not let this chaos
darken the light

I wish all those enslaved
to remember who they are,
and hear the sound of Ocean’s waves,
that will lead them out of the dark

May all of those hurt
know that the world ignites
to bring you out of the dirt
and into the light

May those filled with sorrow
know that the sun will rise
on a new day tomorrow,
as the world is apprised

This day will come
sooner than you think,
as we march to a different drum,
in a blink

With the light of the new moon,
the shades of the sea take on a new hue,
as the world comes out of its cocoon,
leaving the ocean FOREVER BLUE!!!

Swim free ❤
~Rising Sun

Message to the Lost Ones: R.I.P. Rissos 12/8/12

As the day is now gone,
and the final bell has rung,
it seems impossible to reach dawn
without the slightest glimpse of the sun

The Cove is once again
filled with innocent blood,
all because of dark-hearted men
who have never understood

It seems as if hope has left us
without a gentle kiss,
or even a warm caress,
leading us down into the abyss

We are left in tears,
as the reality of the horrible nightmares
and our greatest fears
are too much to bear

But as the day turns to night,
the haze subsides,
and the horror is brought to light,
with the changing of the tides.

Even as your souls are stripped
from the bodies they once called home,
the scale has tipped,
and in Ocean you still roam

Know that you are now one
with the great Ocean,
reminding all what needs to be done
to set the remedy of love in motion

The one thing the dark-hearts
will never understand
is that love never departs,
no matter how dark it is at hand

Those who can see the truth
will know that in the end,
only love can see us through
this horrible dead-end

Hope for the hopeless,
and light for the blind,
only love can save us;
this must be kept in mind

Think of it always:

it is always love that prevails,
so get ready for the ride,
and raise those sails,
as we change the tide

As the rain comes down,
washing away the tragedy of today,
know that what comes around comes around,
and the day will soon be saved

I know this day will come soon:
As the shades of the sea take on a new hue,
the world comes out of its cocoon,
leaving the ocean FOREVER BLUE!!!

Swim free ❤
~ Rising Sun

Message To The Lost Ones: R.I.P Rissos 11/7/12

After a night of endless torture,
and nightmares tearing through your mind,
The Cove runs red in our horror,
as the innocent are killed by the blind

For too long has this happened;
the Stone People have plagued the world
as the ways of love are forgotten,
causing us to be trapped in an evil whirl

They see only with their eyes,
and think they can own everything,
despite the sad cries
that sound upon the beating

They think that they can take
without giving back to the world,
and leave a ravaged Earth in their wake,
claiming every pearl

But what they fail to see
is that they can never own
that which comes from the sea,
no matter the way the wind is blown

And so as your souls depart
the pearls claimed by the Stone People,
know that they can never take your heart,
which will always be as free as an eagle

As your souls return to Ocean,
know that you will live on,
flying high on emotions
with the light of the new dawn

So farewell my friends,
I will see you all tomorrow,
as a new day begins,
free of sorrow

Don’t Buy Tickets to a Dolphin Show!

Sea Shepherd @SeaShepherdTaiji: A family of pilot whales including a baby has been netted into the killing cove. There is no hope for this pod now. #Tweet4Taiji

After almost a week of the seas remaining blue, it is heartbraking to know that this pod will join the countless others who have lost their lives in the ignorance and greed of man. Some members of this family are about to be stripped of their freedom and put into some concrete tank  while the dying screams of their brethren echoe across The Cove. Why? Because people buy tickets to see dolphins in captivity. Their money literally pays for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of dolphins every year. How? By paying to see captive dolphins, one is supporting and encouraging the captive industry. Thus, people who buy tickets cause slaughters such as the one in Taiji to take place. To provide dolphins for their entertainment. For money. If we don’t buy tickets, the captive industry will cease to exist, and thus, the slaughters will stop as well. So PLEASE do not buy tickets to a dolphin show, or you are supporting the slaughter and capturing of dolphins such as the one soon to take place. Stop believing in the lies that marine parks like SeaWorld are telling you. How can they possibly love dolphins and marine life when all they care about is money. Look on their Facebook page; they are using it as a tool of promotion, not to spread love and compassion towards nature. Humans: please open your eyes and WAKE UP! If this were being done to another human being, it would be considered a crime. Yet it’s ok to do it to another species just, if not more, intelligent as us just because they aren’t human? Start understanding and open your eyes to reality. How many more lives are going to be wasted before we get the big picture?

 

And now to the ones about to be incarcerated in man’s ignorance: Up until this point you all have lived free in the great expanse of the ocean. Some of you are about to be sent off to CCC’s (Cetacean Concentration Camps) never to see the sun’s shine, the light of the moon, or the stars EVER again. Despite all of the torments experienced in life, our souls are reborn into The Circle. None of us is forgotten and lives on forever. Your spirits will remain in Universe and will serve as a wake up call to mankind. None of you will have lost your life in vain.

 

May the moon shine brightly,

as the oceans shimmer under its light,

creating a silver path that illuminates the night

that reminds us of who we are even in our plights    

 

May all the incarcerated know

the strongest wind blows,

carrying their souls through Ocean’s flow

No matter how lost, their souls still glow

 

They will remain in The Great Circle,

living on forever as angles

Delivering the message of love to the devil

and reminding all to remain faithful (referencing hope; not religion)

Ocean will miss your presence,

but your light will never evanesce

For you will be reborn into Ocean’s haven

Teaching one and all to coalesce

You will forever live on in our hearts and souls, reminding us of what we are fighting for. In times of hopelessness and despair, let the light rekindle the fire and melt away all darkness with its warmth.

May the light in the dark

guide us through the night

May the light be the spark

that delivers us from our plight 

Erwin is released from jail as the ICR’s injunction is denied in U.S. District Court

Erwin is released from jail as the ICR’s injunction is denied in U.S. District Court

from seashepherd.org

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Volunteer, Erwin VermeulenSea Shepherd Cove Guardian Volunteer,
Erwin Vermeulen
“It is a victory for Sea Shepherd, for environmentalists; It’s a victory for the whales.” -Charles Moure, Harris & Moure Law Firm

February 16 was a lively day in court for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  In Wakayama, Japan, closing arguments were presented in the case of Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen, while in Seattle the Institute for Cetacean Research presented their preliminary injunction in the case of the ICR vs. Sea Shepherd.

In Wakayama, following the closing arguments by both prosecution and defense, the judge signed an order, presented by the defense, for Erwin to be released from custody pending the judge’s verdict.  The prosecution exercised its right to appeal to a higher court in order to force Erwin to remain in detention for the remainder of the trial.  The trial judge took the extraordinary step of sending the paperwork to the higher court last night, thus ensuring that the appeal would be heard today.  The higher court sided with the trial judge and denied the prosecution’s appeal.  Erwin has been released from detention and will rejoin his fellow Cove Guardians.

Erwin will be back in court on February 22 to hear the judge’s verdict on the assault charges.  The prosecution has only asked for a fine of 100,000 Yen ($1.300), should Erwin be found guilty.  No jail time was requested.  This demand for such a meager fine and no jail sentence, along with the strong case presented by the defense, exposed the fact that the prosecution’s case is without merit and was poorly investigated.  It has become clear that arresting Erwin and charging him with assault was politically motivated.  The prosecution’s appeal against Erwin’s release from detention is blatant injustice and more proof of the underlying political motivation behind this case.

In Seattle, Sea Shepherd’s legal team, Harris and Moure, presented an outstanding defense against the ICR’s attempt to halt Sea Shepherd’s activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Judge Richard A. Jones denied the whalers’ motion for a preliminary injunction meaning Sea Shepherd has legal authority to continue anti-whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.  Judge Jones made it clear that he would look at the reason why SSCS is in the Southern Ocean as well as the events taking place there-in other words the ICR’s illegal whaling activities are under as much scrutiny as the whalers’ claims against SSCS. The Harris and Moure team has filed a motion to have the entire case dismissed from the United States District Court. This motion has yet to be ruled on.

The Steve Irwin maneuvers around the Japanese Harpoon Vessel, Yushin Maru 2. Photo: Billy DangerThe Steve Irwin maneuvers around the Japanese Harpoon Vessel, Yushin Maru 2.
Photo: Billy Danger

Divine Wind
Visit our
Operation Divine Wind
site for information about our
2011-12 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign

Ten Definitions of a Cove Guardian hero, by Captain Paul Watson (1) Went to Taiji to document the atrocity against the dolphins (2) Was arrested in a deliberate framing operation by the Taiji police (3) Did not confess to their bogus charges (4) Stayed true to the activist rule of “No One Talks, Everybody walks.” (5) Stayed true to the activist rule “No One Signs, Everything is fine.” (6) Stayed strong until the end and never faltered once. (7) Remained humble and focused on the mission at all times (8) Refused to eat their meat and fish and endured a white rice only diet in jail (9) Spoke the truth to power in a Japanese court knowing that the Japanese conviction rate is 99%. (10) Never apologized for defending the dolphins from the barbarians at Taiji. Erwin Vermeulen – A Cove Guardian Hero

Dolphin Times: Issue 2


This issue will explain to you the differences of dolphins in captivity and in the wild, as well as connections of dolphin captivity and slavery. At the end, there will be an update on the latest dolphin news.  If you have any concerns, suggestions for the next issue or private comments, please email me at dolphindefender@me.com.

DIFFERENCES OF DOLPHINS IN THE WILD AND CAPTIVITY 

Dolphins in the wild:

  • Have large home ranges (e.g. orcas can dive as deep as 60m and travel as far as 160km in a day and bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Cornwall, UK, have been recorded travelling up to 1076km in 20 days.Are almost always in motion, even when resting and spend less than 20% of their time at the water’s surface.
  • Orcas and Dall’s porpoise are two of the fastest animals in the sea (Dall’s porpoises can reach swimming speeds of up to 35mph).
  • Live in highly complex societies; with some individuals holding key roles within a specific group (e.g. communicator with other pods, nursing).
  • Choose to form strong, long-lasting social bonds with certain other members of their pod.
  • Are intelligent and can demonstrate problem solving and abstract concept formation, e.g.. utilise tools – female bottlenose dolphins in Australia have learned to use natural sponges to protect their beaks while foraging among sea urchins on the sea bed.
  • Are altruistic, some species have been witnessed helping other members of their pod, other species and even humans in trouble. They are self-aware and display highly responsive behavior.
  • Have culture i.e. they teach and learn traditions (e.g. Patagonian orcas partially strand themselves to catch sea-lions).
  • Demonstrate a high degree of vocal adaptability e.g. orcas in different parts of the world
  • have completely different dialects from one another.
  • Live up to 90 years (female orcas) and 60 years (male orcas), and average life span is 40-50 years.

Dolphins in captivity:

  • Are separated from their natural habitat and enclosed in a totally alien environment.
  • Have to undergo medication and fertility control.
  • Aquatic Mammals 2005, 31 (3) lists 199 facilities worldwide. More have established since then.
  • Have to put up with an artificial diet, unusual noise, strange tastes in water, and the proximity of people and other unfamiliar captive animals.
  • No longer have free will to choose social bonds.
  • May suffer aggression from other pool mates more dominant than them.
  • Are sometimes kept on their own (some in hotel swimming pools), e.g. four orcas are currently held in captivity on their own.
  • Suffer from stress, reduced life expectancy and breeding problems.
  • The Marine Mammal Inventory Report, maintained by the U.S. government, lists a variety of causes of death including drowning, ingestion of foreign objects and aggression from pool mates
  • Don’t live past the age of 50 and average life span is 30 years.

To demonstrate these differences, please watch the following 6 minute video that I made about this (warning…first two minutes is sad):

DOLPHIN CAPTIVITY/SLAUGHTER, SLAVERY, AND THE HOLOCAUST: THE SIMILARITIES ARE SHOCKING

For marine parks like SeaWorld and Miami Seaquarium, they obviously need to have dolphins (including Orcas and Pilot Whales). How do they get these dolphins? They go out, take them away from their families, and enslave them in an unrealistic concrete (or other man-made material) barrier. They then work those dolphins to perform for us until they die. Then, they go and get new ones. In Taiji (aka…Hell on Earth), dolphins are selected by trainers (playing the part of Hitler), particularly young female bottlenose dolphins. The ones that aren’t selected are brutally, barbarically, and mercilessly slaughtered.

How does this relate to slavery? I think the reasons are pretty obvious…We are taking intelligent beings (more intelligent than us…for more click here and here), treating them as property and buying them for money to…make money? When slavery was still going on in the U.S, wasn’t that what was happening? Our country took African Americans away from their home, and bought them to make more money off of cotton, tobacco, and other crops. After a while, half the country believed that was wrong, and eventually it was banished…or so we thought. True, dolphins aren’t degraded to working on a farm all day to make money, but they’re degraded as circus clowns all day to make money. If we think that 18-19th century slavery is wrong, then why is enslaving animals more intelligent than us right?  As we’ve all recently heard, PETA has sued SeaWorld for violating the Thirteenth Amendment, which states, ” Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The term slave is defined as “An individual who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them against their will.” Let’s see, there’s nothing in either of those two terms that says this applies only to man, and even if it did, that should be changed. Are dolphins “legal property” and are they “forced to obey their owners?” Hmm…sounds like it.

In the Holocaust, Hitler posted propaganda that Hebrews were why there was problems in the world, when in reality, it was them and others like him that were causing the problems. In Taiji, the fisherman say that they’re slaughtering dolphins “for pest control.” According to them (and what they said in The Cove), dolphins are the reason that fish levels are dropping; but in reality, humans (and mostly Asia) are the reason that fish levels are declining. Furthermore, in the Holocaust, Hitler wanted to “make the world perfect.” He did this by taking the Hebrews that “did not fit his conditions,” meaning that if their eyes aren’t blue, their hair isn’t blond, they weren’t in shape, or if they had a disease, to concentration camps. In Taiji, we can look at this in two different, but connected, directions. For example, dolphins that aren’t selected by the trainers that come to capture them (they have even been seen assisting in the drive) are slaughtered viciously. The reasons they are not selected is because trainers do not see them “fit for entertainment.” Hebrews that Hitler found unfit were slaughtered in various ways as well.  In contrast,  those trainers that come and do capture dolphins and take them back to their marine parks are doing the exact opposite.

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking, That’s good isn’t it? Or more commonly, but then they’re saving the dolphins, right?  The answer to both of those questions is no.  The only reason those dolphins usually cooperate in captivity is, WHAT ELSE ARE THEY GOING TO DO? That is their only form, and I find it to be a fake form, of fun. Like many things, fun is not something that people can make. Fun is something that, and I know this sounds cliche, but it’s felt from the heart. People ask me at school, “What’s the difference between a dolphin jumping at SeaWorld and a dolphin jumping in the wild? There is none, right?” Well, if you look at the videos below, you can see that the jump performed by the Orca at SeaWorld is perfect. A perfect flight, perfect arc, perfect height, perfect splash, and a perfect dive. In the wild, it’s not perfect. Why? Because it doesn’t have to be; they don’t care in the wild whether the jump is perfect or not. So, who’s the luckier dolphin? Would you rather spend your whole life doing stupid tricks that have no purpose whatsoever or die? The one that’s imprisoned for life, or the one that’s slaughtered? Honestly, however painful that death may be, I would rather die free than die a slave.

Jump in Captivity: Watch how everything is perfect in the jumps.

Jump in the Wild: Watch how everything is more relaxed and careless in the jumps

COMMON CAPTIVITY QUESTIONS:

Aren’t dolphins in captivity educational?
The primary justification for the public display of marine mammals is the educational benefit of these exhibits. Whale and dolphin displays significantly distort the public’s understanding of the marine environment. Educational messages often take second place to the whale and dolphin performance, which are the main feature of dolphinariums. The tricks that are displayed are exaggerated variations of natural behaviors and do little to further the public’s knowledge of cetaceans and their habitats. In addition, the complex nature of the lives of whales and dolphins cannot possibly be illustrated with reference to animals in a tank. Educational materials offered by captive facilities often blatantly omit facts about a species’ unique social structure and acoustic repertoire, as well as its remarkable extended families and natural tendency to range freely over vast areas. Visitors to captive facilities may be subject to mis-information, and leave with a distorted perception of cetaceans and their marine environments.

Isn’t captivity safer than life in the wild?
Whales and dolphins have evolved over millions of years to live in the ocean; it is their natural habitat. The way to solve hunting, pollution and other threats is to tackle the point sources of these problems, not to take these animals out of the seas.

The idea that dolphins (or any wildlife) must be saved from the threats and challenges they face in the wild by being placed in artificial settings is a terrible conservation message. The fact is that while life IS tough for these animals in the open ocean, it is also complex, challenging, engrossing, and beautiful. It is never going to be a solution to the growing number of threats dolphins face to try to preserve them in the ‘ark’ of dolphinariums (and no legitimate zoological facilities promote the ‘ark’ theory for zoos and aquariums anymore either). If people think that captivity IS a solution to habitat threats the focus is then taken away from reducing the threats to wild dolphins. This potentially means that wild dolphins don’t stand a chance of long-term survival! If people believe that it’s better for dolphins to be in a cage rather than in the wide open ocean, this only emphasizes how dolphinariums miseducate the public.

Captive-born dolphins are happy in captivity, aren’t they?
Another argument suggests that dolphins born in captivity are domesticated. However, dolphins are STILL wild animals, even if they have been kept in captivity for some time, even if they were born there.

Animals born in captivity are domesticated, so they’re not wild anymore?
Domestication is the modification of an animal over a significant number of generations through selective breeding in captivity. Certain characteristics are either enhanced or eliminated and the animals become adapted to a significant extent to a life intimately associated with man (i.e. dogs).

Whales and dolphins are wild animals. In captivity they may develop strong social bonds with their human trainers however this is correctly known as being socialized or habituated, not domesticated. Domestication happens over a very long period of evolutionary time, while an individual is habituated during its lifetime. Breeding in dolphinariums is rare, let alone breeding that occurs between individuals with the most docile personalities or smallest number or size of teeth. Dolphins are tamed, they are not domesticated.

Wouldn’t dolphins in “open” sea pens escape if they were not happy?
This can be addressed on two different levels: Dolphins that have been taken from the wild have been removed from their social group and natural habitat. Finding themselves in an alien environment far from their natural home, these animals may fear venturing out into an unknown sea, away from the facility that provides them with food. Young animals are often selected who may not have learnt all the skills needed to survive in the wild. The captives are also habituated to human company – this does not mean to say that they are happy.

It is also important to remember that these individual dolphins have been conditioned. If you have been to a show- have you ever noticed that the performing animals are fed fish each time they complete a routine or a trick? They may be performing so that they receive fish or other rewards.

 Dolphin’s smile, so they must be happy…
Dolphins have a natural smile. They are born this way (i.e. it’s physiological). Similarly, they do not frown when upset, distressed or angry. Marine biologists study the behaviour of dolphins, using an ethogram (a known repertoire of behaviours used for particular purposes e.g. tail slapping is known to be a warning). It is by studying the behaviour of an animal that we can begin to tell how it may be feeling. Dolphins or whales that swim listlessly around their tanks, using the same route are showing stereotypical behaviour. This is similar to when you see polar bears or elephants rocking back and forth in a zoo. These animals may be suffering a great deal of mental distress. In fact, many dolphins have to take a form of stress medication, Tagumet, because of these conditions.

Aren’t whales and dolphins happy if they do tricks and eat fish?
People always think that if the dolphins were unhappy they would not ‘work’ or would refuse to eat. It is true that some dolphins survive better than others, much like humans do in difficult circumstances. Some dolphins will just get on with their training and shows – and as I said before, what else is there for them to do in these boring bare tanks?

for more questions, please visit my FAQ page.

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DOLPHIN NEWS UPDATES:

This week in Taiji, so far the 30th of October and the 3rd of November are the only days that the dolphin murderers have slaughtered dolphins. The other 4 days, the dolphins either escapes, were nowhere to be found, or the boats could not go out at all. For more updates from Taiji, please visit here.

The deaths of five more dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico was found out to be caused by a bacteria called Brucella, according to CNN. One scientist, Teri Rowles, states that they may be infected due to “environmental stress” which could possibly be related to the BP oil spill. The other explanation that the scientists believe is that the bacteria itself has changed, causing disease. For more on this, click here.