Aug 30 2011 by Cara
Australia is home to some of the most diverse and beautiful marine ecosystems.
Schools of tropical fish vivaciously swim above the living, breathing coral reefs; whales migrate during June-October in order to mate, breed and immerse themselves in our warm tropical waters; sharks brood in the deepwater patiently waiting for their prey.
The rejuvenating blue oceans serve as a utopia for all marine animals big and small.
Here in Australia, we are also lucky to be surrounded by the most playful and intelligent marine animals, namely dolphins.
I've sat upon Turrimetta Head in Sydney's Northern Beaches while watching a small pod of active dolphins swimming past into the horizon; I also remember having a swim in close proximity to a dolphin at Seal Rocks on the coast of NSW.
Australia is a country where dolphins and all other marine animals have the right to breed and live freely, yet we are also home to prisons of cruelty and unjustified entertainment taking the form of multimillion dollar complexes such as ‘Sea World'.
You might be asking yourself, ‘Why are marine amusement parks so cruel?' Well now you will learn the facts.
Have you ever wondered where the dolphins in these types of complexes are sourced? Where do they come from or how are they chosen?
Well this brings me to my main discussion, ‘The Taiji Dolphin Slaughter'.
Every year in the small Japanese town of Taiji, thousands of dolphins are trapped in a hidden cove where they await their destined fate.
The ‘dolphin drive hunt' is carried out by approximately 26 fisherman before sunrise, as they head out in their motorized boats to deeper water, they begin to observe any signs of dolphins swimming past.
When a pod of dolphins is present, the fishermen place numerous stainless steel poles in the water against each of their motorized boats.
As the fishermen begin to strike the metal poles viciously, a loud sound is produced, frightening and causing panic and frustration among the dolphins.
In order to escape ‘the wall of sound', the helpless dolphins swim closer to shore where they are trapped by fishermen nets in the hidden cove.
The chosen method is used because dolphins are incredibly sensitive to sound, recreational boats are not even allowed to be within a 50-100 metre (50 metres for licensed tour boats) distance to dolphins due to their incapability to handle noise.
Once the dolphins are trapped and left overnight (to eventually become ‘relaxed'), they are sadistically stabbed with long, sharp spears or fisherman's hooks; some are even taken aboard whilst still alive.
The ‘valuable' ones, usually Bottlenose dolphins, are chosen by dolphin trainers to be exported and used as entertainment at dolphinariums and complexes like ‘Sea World' and ‘Marineland'. The rest are sold as meat in the Japanese market.
So now you know the cruelty that goes behind closed doors.
There is no viable reason or even excuse to support marine amusement parks and dolphinariums.
In fact, by supporting these ‘theme parks' you are just encouraging these so-called fisherman to continue the slaughter of these intelligent and sentient creatures. (Please note that dolphin meat is of no benefit to the body, like shark meat, it contains highly toxic levels of mercury!)
The Taiji Dolphin Slaughter serves no purpose to us. We do not need dolphins for entertainment (let alone any animal) and this issue simply highlights how dependent human beings have become on other living creatures.
The dolphins need to be saved, not because they are cute or playful (even though they really are) but because they are needed in order to balance the food chain of the marine ecosystem.
Because quite frankly, without the ocean, there is no hope for life on Earth.
We, as the younger generation, need to help the older generation realise that tradition is not an excuse for cruelty.
I'll leave you with a few inspirational quotes.
Richard O'Barry - "If you aren't an activist, you're an inactivist".
Gandhi - "You must be the change you wish to see in the world".
- Your ATAAC Marine Animals Ambassador and ocean lover, Cara.
Help save the Japan dolphins!
I will leave you now with a clip of how dolphins should really be treated- in their natural habitat and free!
Please watch the inspiring and powerful documentary ‘The Cove' for more information or visit:
Take Action by signing this petition:
Keep some dates in your calendar to help save the dolphins and raise money for organisations that really do make a difference:
1st of September- International Day of Awareness for the Dolphins of Taiji.
Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne/Auckland demonstration details here
For Sydney peeps:
15th of October- Come down to Manly Youth Centre (6pm to 10:30pm) to watch a screening of the interesting and captivating documentary ‘Sharkwater' and meet the crew of the Bob Barker (Sea Shepherd vessel). Check out the trailer of Sharkwater:
6th of November- Come enjoy yourself at the Palm Beach at ‘The Boathouse' to raise money for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Living Ocean. Captain Paul Watson will be there and also performing will be the marine animal loving and very cool band ‘Lime Cordiale'. Check them out!