Archive for Ric O’Barry
www.msnbc.com 2nd November 2010
The annual dolphin slaughter in the quiet Japanese village of Taiji was slightly different this year. Following the release of the Oscar-winning documentary ‘The Cove’ last year, the event has attracted world-wide media attention as well as numerous conservationist groups. The attention was such that Taiji’s town council agreed to hold a conference on the subject. In Tokyo, over 400km away, the government’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku stated that he hoped the meeting would promote understanding in an ancient Japanese tradition. However, the two-hour meeting has not gone well. The Japanese fisherman claim that western societies kill other animals for food while the protestors highlight the barbarity of dolphin-killing practices as well as the high toxin levels in dolphin meat. Furthermore, Ric O’Barry, the central character of ‘The Cove’, threatened to boycott the talks due to severe media restrictions. In the end Mr O’Barry did not have to boycott as he was escorted from the area by policemen following comments about the cruelty of dolphin training (Mr O’Barry was the trainer of the original Flipper dolphins). Town Council chief Katsutoshi Mihara said to the conservationists: “It’s not right for you to force your values on us.” Every year Taiji, with a small population of 3,500, slaughter 2,000 dolphins, around 10% of the country’s total.
Sources: http://www.suntimes.com 2nd September 2010
The acclaimed director of ‘The Cove’, a documentary on dolphin hunting in Taiji in Japan, has had to call off his protest to the annual slaughter due to threats from a Japanese ultra-nationalist group. The hunt, which begins every year on September 1st, consists of a small number of fishermen herding pods of dolphins into a cove then stabbing them to death. The whole event was caught on camera by Ric O’Barry, the 70 year old ex-dolphin trainer who worked on the Flipper TV series in the 1960s. The resulting documentary, ‘The Cove’, received international acclaim and won an Academy Award for best documentary.However, due to the threats received to his person, Mr. O’Barry is instead holding a reception in his Tokyo hotel for a hundred followers followed by a trip to the US Embassy to deliver a petition with 1.7 millions signatures demanding the halt of the slaughter.
The Japanese government declare that the killing of whales and dolphins is no different than the killing of cows and pigs (although each dolphin carcass can fetch as much as $150,000). A similar event occurs in the Faroe Islands between Scotland and Iceland where the local population (most of which are not trained fishermen) annually slaughter pilot whales in the name of tradition. The same argument is used by the people of Taiji and the ultra-nationalists who threatened Mr. O’Barry. But is barbarism really a tradition to be proud of?