I’ve wanted to be a marine biologist for a long time. Growing up on the coast, I went to the Vancouver Aquarium and Sea World in San Diego. This is where I first began learning about dolphins but I never really considered how it must feel to be confined in a tank for all of one’s life.The older I got and the more I learned about marine animals, the more concerned I became about their safety. Below is a speech I recently wrote for my grade eight persuasive essay. I hope it spreads the word about the torture and tragedy in Taiji, Japan.
A Beautiful Day
It was a beautiful day. The sky was a crystal clear blue and the sun danced across the surface of the waves. I felt joy in the feeling of letting my fins glide through the water freely. My family swam next to me chatting about where to swim today, and then out of nowhere we heard an ear piercing banging noise all around us. We swam to the shore to escape the awful sounds. When we reached the shore the sounds stopped but when we tried to swim out of the cove there was a brown barrier blocking our escape. Before long there were hundreds of dolphins swimming around next to us, not knowing what was going on and where to go. It started getting darker but we were all so scared that no one slept. In the early morning the noises started again. All I could see were these big grey boats floating above us. Then people on those boats started sticking long sharp metal poles into the water. I looked at my brother just in time to see one of those long poles piercing him through the tip of his tail. The water was going a deep red. Everyone was screaming and thrashing. I watched as my mom and dad were taken above the water. That was the last time I ever saw them. There weren’t very many of us left and I knew at that moment I was going to die.
I’m sure a lot of you love going to the aquarium and seeing the dolphins but I don’t think you would enjoy those marine amusement shows so much if you knew how the aquariums got there dolphins. I’m completely against the slaughter of 23,000 dolphins in a Taiji cove every year. The fishermen in the village go out in small boats to known dolphin migratory routes. Positioning their boats strategically, they space out to form a line and wait for the dolphins. When the dolphins arrive, the fishermen drop long metal pipes into the water, and by banging on the pipes they create a wall of sound. The sound interferes with the dolphins’ ability to navigate they become disorientated and panic. The dolphins swim away from the sound, and the fisherman manoeuvre their boats herding them into a small shallow bay. Once in the bay, nets are drawn across the mouth of the bay to keep them penned in. Trapped in the shallow water of the cove, the dolphins swim around trying to stay as far from land as possible until the next morning. In the morning, the fishermen draw the nets in, forcing the dolphins closer to shore where they kill them by stabbing and slashing them with knives and hooks. The dolphins thrash about for as long as six minutes each as they slowly bleed to death, turning the sea literally red with their blood.
A Horrific Death
The dolphins are slaughtered mercilessly and some injured or exhausted dolphins simply drown. Fishermen drag still-living animals onto boats with hooks and harpoons or tie them to boats by the tail, forcing their air holes under water. The animals are hauled by truck, or dragged over concrete roads by their tails, to a nearby warehouse for butchering; those who are still alive are stabbed again and left to die of their injuries or bleed to death. Some drown in their own blood. . There is never a happy ending for dolphins in the cove. The dolphins have no chance of escape straight from the beginning. After the fishermen drive them into the cove they usually slash a couple of the dolphins because the others won’t leave an injured family member. Even if a miracle happened and a dolphin did jump the net and escape they have fishermen waiting to spear them on the other side of the harbour.
A Way of Life or Slaughter
It’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone would ever want to harm a defenceless animal like a dolphin but there are many reasons why the killing hasn’t stopped yet. The Taiji dolphin hunters get around 400 to 600 dollars for one dolphin. The dolphin meat was until recently served in the Japanese schools. Dolphin meat is sold in stores throughout Japan. Some of it is labelled correctly as dolphin meat, and some is mislabelled as whale meat. What is never included on the label are the levels of mercury, methyl mercury, cadmium, DDT and PCBs. One sample of dolphin meat has 1,600 times the amount of mercury that’s permitted. So why is it that the Japanese government will still sell the meat to pregnant or breast feeding women when the meat is particularly dangerous to them specifically? Dolphins are also getting murdered because apparently they are killing too many fish and its affecting the Japanese fishing industry. Japan has the second largest tonnage of fish caught every year and has been centered in the Tokyo fish market which is one of the world’s largest wholesale markets for fresh, frozen, and processed seafood so I don’t see how dolphins are causing a problem.
The documentary movie the cove was created in 2003 by the sea shepherd society well working with Ric O’barry the dolphin activist. The sea shepherd society is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. They joined up with Ric O’barry who was a former dolphin trainer and worked with the dolphins in the hit 60’s show flipper, but that all changed after the dolphin Kathy that mainly played flipper died in his arms and his opinion widely changed. From that moment on, Ric O’barry has showed the world the horrible effects of dolphin captivity. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he founded the Dolphin Project, dedicated to freeing captive dolphins and educating people throughout the world about the dolphins in captivity. Together with the sea shepherd society they traveled to Taiji and filmed the horrible tragedies that take place there. They slipped under the radar and captured the massacre on film well avoiding been thrown in jail and chased down by the Japanese police. The dolphin hunt hasn’t stopped but the pressure on the Japanese government is increasing.
Let’s Make A Difference
I’m only thirteen and I live on the other side of the world but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know what’s going on in Taiji. Imagine being trapped with no way to escape, and stabbed once or twice and left to bleed to death. That’s what these dolphins go through. They watch their family members die right in front of them. The fishermen show them no mercy what so ever. Some of the dead dolphins aren’t even used for meat they just kill them because to them the dolphins are nothing but a nuisance and a way to earn money. This is not only sickening but illegal in many countries. This has been a tradition for many years but that doesn’t mean it has to continue. Why is it that if it was 23,000 puppies getting killed every year then the slaughter would have stopped by now? No animal no matter what species deserves to be treated that way.
For more information on the Sea Shepherd Society check out there website