Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Cove ... Behind the Dolphins Smile - Dolphin trade and slaughter


Just watched the trailer for "The Cove"; a new documentary by actor, director and producer, Fisher Stevens. He produced "The Cove," an Oscar-nominated film that won the best documentary award from the National Board of Review in 2009. It's timely, with the recent horrific tragedy that occurred last week at SeaWorld in Orlando, Floridawhere Dawn Brancheau lost her life doing the job that she loved.

"The Cove" is a wide eyed view on the dolphin trade and slaughter. Fisher said, " I assumed like many others that dolphins and orcas enjoyed living at Sea World and other marine parks. They always seemed to be smiling, jumping merrily around their tanks, eager to put on a show for human spectators. However, when I met Ric O'Barry, my perspective changed. O'Barry was the man responsible for capturing Kathy -- the original "Flipper" -- from the wild and helping to create the language used to train dolphins to do tricks and flips. When Cathy died in his arms some years later, O'Barry realized the whole process of capturing and training dolphins was wrong."

O' Barry co-wrote the book "Behind the Dolphin Smile: A True Story that Will Touch the Hearts of Animal Lovers Everywhere" where he explains that the smiles you see on dolphins are not the reflection of happiness. In actuality, they hate to be enclosed in their holding tanks and are often not fed until it is time to perform their daily routines. During his time as a trainer, O'Barry learned dolphins had true feelings -- they would get depressed, stressed out, even suicidal. In some parks, the trainers have to give the animals Maalox and Tagamet. Read an excerpt here.

O'Barry realized that the dolphins, whom he made perform tricks for treats, had just as much right to their lives as he did to his. Instead of feeling clever, he felt that he’d been callous. From that moment on, O’Barry dedicated his life to freeing dolphins that are held hostage around the world. Instead of working for the billion-dollar dolphin captivity industry, he now liberates exploited dolphins – he “un-trains” these intelligent marine mammals and returns them to their natural habitat.

The Cove is also going to take you to Japan where they capture, slaughter and trade dolphins.

Check out the trailer and info page and their blog on how you can help save the dolphins.

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