Photograph by kind permission of 'Animal Rights Photography'
"London holds the key to abolishing the Taiji dolphin slaughter. I really do believe that. There are millions of compassionate animal lovers in the United Kingdom" ~ Ric O Barry talking about the up and coming Carnival March taking place on Saturday 16th January 2016, which has been organised by a small group of passionate volunteers to raise awareness to the horrific annual dolphin drives and its links with the captive trade.
Photo by kind permission of Esther Lenthall
Ric O Barry has spent more than forty years of his life fighting against the captive industry, after turning his back on the trade in the early seventies. For ten years he was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, capturing and training dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, Ric realised that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks was wrong. This was when his campaigning began, when he knew he had to help protect them from the awful exploitation, which he continues to do today as founder of the Dolphin Project.
If there was any speck of doubt in people's minds about the Taiji fishermen's link to this vulgar, greed driven trade, the proof could not have been made more solid on December 20th 2015, when approximately 80 dolphins were driven into the cove to endure two days of abuse and starvation for the barbaric captive selection.
These extremely intelligent sentient beings, probably the most loved creatures on the planet are viciously stolen from their families with no compassion, or kindness shown for mothers with babies, or juveniles, in order to entertain the human population. Should we be allowing this to happen in the 21st century? Would we feel comfortable watching a dolphin show knowing this?
After their two-day ordeal out of approximately 80 dolphins, many were stolen for captivity, whilst others died of stress, and manhandling. Only 20 were finally driven back out to sea, of which at least four of the released were juveniles and only one had a mother left to swim beside. It's unlikely the other three youngsters will have survived
The social media live streams by Ric's cove monitors gives no uncertainty to the shocking truth behind dolphin and whale captivity, clearly depicting the horror and sickening cruelty to line the pockets of a few. There is proven scientific evidence regarding the level of intelligence and family bonding within these cetaceans, but irrespective of this, all animals, just like humans have the ability to feel fear and pain, the fear of death being the worst fear for any living being.
Dominic Dyer- Policy Advisor for Born Free Foundation, who will be speaking at January 16th event, is confident in regards to the impact the London protests are having in raising awareness. "London is now the centre of the largest global protest movement in the world against the cruel slaughter of dolphins at Taiji Cove in Japan. During 2015 seven major protests took place in London bringing thousands of people onto the streets outside the Japanese Embassy in Trafalgar Square & outside Parliament. This is a new social media led people power movement that is gaining huge global interest & media attention & is putting growing pressure on the Japanese Government & Fishing Industry to end the Taiji slaughter. London is shouting out loud & proud for dolphin protection in Japan & around the world. Care and compassion will win over ignorance, greed & corruption, we fight on for dolphins in 2016!"
Photo with kind permission of Jo Phillips
Nicole Ventor and Jo Phillips, two of the volunteer administrators/organisers from London Against the Dolphin Massacre, just like Ric O barry are adamant they will not stop the protests until the fishermen of Taiji are made to cease the dolphin drives, which take place annually between September and March.
Jo's recollections of their last hugely successful protest on Friday December 19th 2015 speaks volumes to the passion in so many people's hearts about the plight of the dolphins.
"It was a cold and grey winter's day when hundreds of people adorned with bright lights, holding lanterns, candles and red roses lined the pavements outside the Japanese embassy in London. 'One voice for the dolphins' inspired others in India, Hong Kong, France, Australia and New York to stand in solidarity to expose Taiji's crimes against nature. Together our voices rang out as one across the world. Together we cried out - 'enough is enough!' As it grew darker powerful imagery beamed across Piccadilly's busy thoroughfare onto the embassy's walls for the whole world to see. "Our light shines through the darkness. Our light will never fade it will only grow brighter. Our light states that we will never give up until this ends. We stand together as 'One Voice'. The world is watching you."
Photo with kind permission of Jo Phillips
Across the world there is a minority of the human race who shamelessly continue to exploit other living beings for selfish greed, power and profit, whilst governments seem to turn their backs and allow it to happen. We need to change this, but the only way we can is if we unite to put things right.
Nicole from LADM urges people to join the demonstration on January 16th, after 2016 brings more bloodshed and terror for the dolphins. On the eve of the nation's most loved artist David Bowie's death approximately 30 more dolphins were slaughtered in the cove at Taiji. Ironically the movie 'The Cove' which famously drew attention to the slaughters was granted permission by David Bowie to use 'Heroes' as a sound track and the protest on Saturday will be paying their respects to the artist by singing the song during the demonstration.
"The Japanese government claim this is culture, but one live dolphin can be worth up 100,000 dollars for the world wide captive industry. This is a multi-billion-dollar industry and we need to make sure visitors to dolphin shows, or anyone contemplating a swim with dolphin entertainment package is aware of the evil masked behind a dolphin's smile." she told me.
For further information about the Taiji dolphin drives and the upcoming protest in London on Jan 16th please click on links below and if you love dolphins as much as I do pledge never to buy a ticket to see a dolphin show.