Monday, August 30, 2010

Mammals: Dolphins

by Dick Mac

I watched The Cove last night.

I have been a bit shell-shocked since.

I know the Japanese resent the Western domination they've suffered since the end of WWII. It seems to me, and is suggested in the movie, that their insistence on continuing to hunt marine mammals is not rooted in their need for a food supply, but a need to snub Western ideas and ideals about the need to protect those animals.

The mercury levels in our oceans are particularly bad for dolphins, who seem to absorb and manage higher levels of mercury more quickly than fish. One scientist/activist in the film referred to them as living toxic waste dumps.

Dolphin meat is dangerous to eat. It is not tasty and it contains upwards of 2000 ppm of mercury. Generally, food from the sea is allowed to be sold only when the mercury level is 4 ppm or lower.

Many Japanese believe that nobody in Japan eats dolphin. The government perpetuates this myth by allowing dolphin meat to be sold as whale meat, and most consumers do not know they are getting dolphin.

There is no natural market for dolphin meat, so I can only conclude that this is a matter of "honor" and "tradition" that Japanese officials cling to the way Americans cling to flags, guns, and bibles.

In fact, the dolphin meat industry is completely fabricated and propped-up by the Japanese government. In order to continue propping-up the dolphin-slaughter industry, the Japanese government is considering a law that requires Japanese schools to serve dolphin in school meals. School meals are mandatory in Japan; children are required to eat all of the food they are served. Serving them toxic dolphin meat will likely have the short-term effect of benefiting some politically well-connected "fishermen"; but could have devastating long-term affects on the health of Japanese children.

The International Whaling Commission is completely ineffective, as it is a governing body that does next to nothing. In fact, Japan has successfully collected enough votes with bribes to begin reversing some of the hunting bans that have been most effective over the past few decades. How? They give money to the politicians of small, developing nations to build fisheries. These countries really need the money, and since the United States can only prop up a certain number of industries, we are in no position to try and outbid the Japanese in this market.

Dolphins are mammals. They have a remarkable sense of self-awareness, they may even have ego for all we know. They belong to the same branch of living things as humans, yet we treat them like fish.

We waste billions trying to contact beings in space who may not be there and we slaughter beings in the ocean that we KNOW communicate effectively, live in familial units, breathe air, give birth to live young, breast feed, and grow hair.

The slaughter of dolphins at The Cove in Japan is wrong. I am willing to discuss dolphins as a viable food source for people; but what is happening in Japan is veiled in secrecy and is endangering not only dolphins, but the citizens of that nation.

Watch The Cove on Animal Plant.

1 comment:

leftbehind11 said...

I desperately want to watch this movie, even though I know it will horrify me. It is completely wrong, but I think the more America tries to fight it, the more Japan will cling to it because they resent Western ideals. The only people who can stop this horrifying, disgusting event are the Japanese people themselves, and even that is iffy.