Our oceans are becoming cesspools of pollution. No big fish seems immune to the toxins that churn on a daily basis. Last year a trapped whale in Northern California was so toxic it was deemed too harmful to come in contact with. This pollution has been making its way into our food supply for decades but only in the last ten years or so it has become common knowledge that tuna, at least, is loaded with mercury. Before the mercury scare in the US everyone was worried about dolphin meat. Dolphins, to us, are sacred creatures – glimpsed occasionally streaming through our waves in the Pacific, or else performing dazzling tricks for us at amusement parks like Sea World.
But the film The Cove will, if enough people see it, change the way we value dolphins, eat fish, and eventually, whether we will ever be able to watch dolphins, with their permanent smile, perform tricks. The one-two punch of director Louie Psihoyos and dolphin activist, Richard O’Barry make the incredibly compelling argument that we are in the wrong to not only allow killing of dolphins for meat, but also wrong in our participation of the circus games.
O’Barry spent many years helping to capture and train show dolphins used for the show Flipper. But when the dolphin that played Flipper died, it motivated him to devote the rest of his life to freeing dolphins and protesting their treatment. The film contends that the same methods used to trap and kill dolphins in the cove of Taiji, Japan, ultimately leads to those cute little dolphins we all love and enjoy at Sea World.
Perhaps the film goes a bit far with this claim, as most of those who work with dolphins at the major aquariums would disagree. On the other hand, the film also contends that dolphins are no ordinary animals; that they have gifts even we humans don’t possess and that their intelligence is a good enough reason to preserve them. Right, tell that to all of those poor chimps who continually suffer at the hands of science. Chimps and gorillas aren’t even protected. We might want to start there.
Still, there are many reasons to see The Cove besides the activist side of it. It’s filmed like a thriller with nail-biting scenes, villains, heroes and potentially a semi-happy ending. Okay, so the Japanese are kind of given short shrift here, and okay, we’re not quite ready to start atoning for our own sins against animals here in America. The fact remains that if this film becomes popular enough, it might stop this one practice in this part of the country. Even if it doesn’t solve all of our problems, it’s a start.
The filmmakers are not mincing words with The Cove. This is a call to action. There are websites set up; a request is made to spread the word in the hopes that there is enough outrage to stop this unnecessarily cruel slaughter of these majestic creatures. If interested, the best place to start is here: http://thecovemovie.com/