Friday Fliks: Phinfest Special Edition

Animal Love, Advocate Freedom

Film: Breaking Through The Clouds

The Cast:

  • Christina Nicholls – Lolita
  • Nathaly Lauren – Lolita’s Mother

“My family faded away once more and I cried, why must life be destroyed by the merciless hands of time?” 

Lolita and her mother singing. Picture by Natica Nutella and Zach Affolter. Lolita and her mother singing. Picture by Nathaly Lauren and Zach Affolter.

Zach Affolter’s short film “Breaking through the Clouds”  is based on the true story of Tokitae (a.k.a Lolita), a killer whale who was forced from her family into the life of captivity at Miami Seaquarium. The film tells about how she lived happily with her family, J-Pod in Penn Cove, Whidbey Island – It also explains how she was cruelly ripped from her native waters and loving family fifty years ago (8/08/70) to be placed in a shallow, illegally small tank at the marine park. Originally, she had a podmate named Hugo who died an untimely death from a brain aneurysm…

View original post 260 more words


Japan Whaling to Resume, Violence is Feared

As we all know,  Japan has announced that they will continue whaling again this season in Antarctica. Here is yet another disturbing article about this issue:


Japanese officials recently announced that Japan fully intends to return to the Southern Ocean in Antarctica and resume its brutal whaling practices in the designated marine sanctuary.  Although Japan claims that the whaling is for scientific research, this bogus claim fools no one and just makes the Japanese look ruthless, foolish, and worst of all, irrelevant in a world that condemns that practice.  The fact that Japanese fishermen continue to slaughter dolphins in Taiji because they feel it is their right just adds a layer of making the Japanese seem pridefully self important.

Minke Whale and calf

Most of humanity rallied behind that island country when they were rocked by earthquakes and devastated by nuclear fallout following the tsunami last March, so this decision by Japan feels like an insult to those who respect international agreements and refrain from the wanton killing of whales – resulting in a cloud of anger and resentment that engulfs the warm support recently offered to Japan.

The fact that last year almost all of the female minke whales they slaughtered were pregnant signifies to the Japanese that the whaling was an important scientific find, while the rest of the world sees killing pregnant whales as both bad management and barbaric.

Japan’s whaling research body, the Institute of Cetacean Research, today said 91.6 per cent – or 262 of the 286 mature female minkes taken during the last hunt – were pregnant.

“Almost all of the whales are becoming pregnant each year. This is good news. This is great. It shows that the Antarctic minke population is increasing rapidly,” the ICR’s Glenn Inwood said today.  (Sydney Morning Herald)

Worse yet, Japan claims it is willing to up their game in dealing with activists, threatening to ‘do what it takes’ to fend off anti-whaling efforts and to slaughter the whales just to bring the meat home to a country that is losing its taste for both the meat and the conflict. Needless to say, the U.S. finds this stance to be unpalatable.

“We are very concerned about Japan continuing its whaling program in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary,” said Monica Medina, U.S. commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and principal deputy under secretary of commerce for NOAA. “These catches will only increase the growing friction within the IWC over how to deal with the large number of whales that continue to be killed while a moratorium remains in place. There is no reason to kill these creatures in order to learn about them. All the necessary science that we need for the management of whales can be achieved using non-lethal techniques.”

“The safety of vessels and life at sea is the highest priority for the United States.” said Medina. “I ask all parties to respect the Commission’s wishes and immediately refrain from any acts at sea that risk human life or safety. These dangerous confrontations in the Southern Ocean must stop before someone gets seriously hurt or even killed.” (Westmoreland Times).

John Daly's rally applies here...

And activists are prepared to meet the challenge:

In a statement issued last Friday, Sea Shepherd vowed to take on the whaling vessels again. “They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again. … We will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion of arrogant greed into what is an established sanctuary for the whales,” Sea Shepherd’s leader, Paul Watson, said in a statement on the organization’s website. Sea Shepherd will have more than 100 people in the Southern Ocean to block the Japanese whaling fleet, according to the statement. (CNN)

Hopefully the responsible governments of the world will wake up and intervene, and Japan will choose a peaceful path in time to avert disaster.

Taji Told to Stop Dolphin Slaughter…Japan Times


The town of Broome on the coast of Western Australia has put its sister city, Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, on notice: Stop the yearly dolphin slaughter or the relationship is off.

News photo
Harvest: Fishermen work on a boat filled with dolphins in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, in October 2003. AP PHOTO

The local council in Broome voted unanimously Saturday to send a warning to Taiji to end its dolphin “harvesting,” council head Graeme Campbell said Monday.

“The council respectfully advises . . . Taiji that it will be unable to fulfill its pledge as a sister town of Taiji while the practice of harvesting dolphins exists,” Campbell told The Japan Times. The town will advise Taiji through diplomatic channels, he added.

Taiji has drawn heavy criticism, especially from antiwhaling groups overseas, for its dolphin slaughters since the practice came to light in 2005.

Akio Usagawa, chairman of the Taiji International Friendship Association, said the town has not yet received the ultimatum from Broome, which has been Taiji’s sister city for 28 years. The two towns also have a longer historic relationship: People from Taiji migrated to Broome to train locals how to collect pearls about 100 years ago.

The Broome council’s resolution says it has always recognized the relationship with Taiji and Taiji’s assistance in the development of the town’s pearl industry.

However, the resolution continues, “significant local, international and national pressure has been placed on the (town) and community of Broome through social and economic sanctions that may continue to cause significant harm to the community.”

Also, Broome is requesting that the Australian and Japanese governments offer assistance to Taiji so the port can develop economic opportunities other than slaughtering dolphins, according to the resolution, which concludes by saying, “This council looks forward to fulfilling its pledge of sister town relationship with Taiji at the earliest possible time.”

Taiji will consider what action to take after receiving a formal notice from Broome, Usagawa said. “Taiji and Broome have had really good relations,” he added.

Taiji has been pressured by various interest groups about dolphin catches, but not to the extent that the assembly felt compelled to take up the issue, Usagawa said.

According to the Fisheries Research Agency, 12,813 dolphins were caught in Japan in 2007, of which 10,218 were in Iwate Prefecture and 1,623 in Wakayama Prefecture.

Usagawa said it is fair to say almost all dolphin catches in Wakayama are in Taiji. Dolphins are eaten or sold to aquariums in and outside Japan, he said.

SeaWorld’s Hypocrisy


By: Ric O’Barry

Ric & Dolphin Tank at Taiji Whale Museum, Japan

SeaWorld is fighting being fined by OSHA and by proposed regulations from OSHA that would effectively bar trainers from entering the waters with captive orcas, threatening SeaWorld’s profits of which 75% is attributed to the orca shows alone.

Many former SeaWorld trainers have come forward expressing their concerns that SeaWorld was covering up the dangers trainers faced in working with orcas and that orcas are simply not suitable for captivity:

Now, SeaWorld, in addition to fighting in court, is trying to snow the public with a new press release, entitled: “SeaWorld Uses Ingenuity to Save Rescued Whales, Dolphins, Sea Lions.”

The PR statement says: “Few are aware that SeaWorld operates one of the world’s most respected wildlife rescue programs and has treated more than 18,000 animals over the last four decades.”

You can read the full SeaWorld press release here:

Yes, SeaWorld saves some marine mammals. This is true.
But everything is relative.

Relative to the profit that SeaWorld makes every year ($1.4 billion last year) their rescue program is but a token effort.

And contrary to their claims in their press release that the “goal for every rescue is to be able to successfully return the animal,” SeaWorld often keeps these animals in captivity for their displays and shows instead of releasing them back into the wild.

(The federal Marine Mammal Protection Act states that captures of marine mammals for captive purposes must be done in a humane manner.  This is why SeaWorld and other aquariums in the US have not captured any new dolphins in the wild for a number of years – capturing dolphins and orcas in the wild is inherently an inhumane practice involving nets, chases, and often drive hunts that kill many of the animals outright.  On a complaint filed by Earth Island Institute in 1992, the federal government blocked the import of cetaceans from Taiji to Six Flags Discovery Park (formerly Marine World Africa USA) in Vallejo, CA, due to this law, and ever since US marine parks like SeaWorld have had to either breed their own dolphins and orcas in captivity or retain stranded animals by claiming they could not be released back.)

If they were here in Thailand helping the Dolphin Project Team and I stop these two new dolphin abusement parks from starting up, and in the Solomon Islands and Taiji, stopping the trafficking and slaughter of thousands of dolphins, or in the desert of Egypt speaking out against captive dolphin abuse, or in Indonesia doing something to end the extreme suffering of captive dolphins in traveling circuses, then SeaWorld might have some credibility.

But they choose to pretend the abuse and suffering are not associated with their industry.  They refuse to police their industry and help abolish the dolphin trafficking conducted by “Ocean Embassy” (former SeaWorld trainers Ted Turner, Robin Friday et al).

They refuse to help crack down on fellow member aquariums in the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) which, as we speak, are getting dolphins from the inhumane and bloody dolphin drive hunts in Taiji, Japan.  Indeed, the Taiji Whale Museum, which supervises the hunts and trains wild dolphins for captivity is a member of JAZA, the WAZA affiliate in Japan!

Theirs is an industry of hypocrites.

Photo by Mark J. Palmer.