On September 1, Taiji, Japan's annual dolphin slaughter begins. As depicted in heart-wrenching detail in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, fishermen lure between 1,500 and 2,000 dolphins into the shallows of the cove and separate out the ones deemed worthy of selling to an aquarium. The rest are harpooned and slaughtered, their meat sold in supermarkets.
In the boundless waters of the open ocean, a free, wild dolphin can live up to 50 years. A caged dolphin, on the other hand, circles its tiny tank without purpose—often to the point of depression and suicide. Even in the largest aquarium facilities, captive dolphins have access to less than 1/10,000 of 1 percent (0.000001) of the swimming area available to them in their natural environment. Compare this to the fact that some wild dolphin pods can swim up to 100 miles a day hunting for food, and you'll begin to grasp why holding one captive in a tank amounts to nothing more than the cruel deprivation of basic cetacean rights.
Our blog Cove Watch is your one-stop shop for updates on the efforts of dolphin activist Ric O’Barry and a team of two dozen delegates to save the lives of as many Taiji dolphins as possible.