Taking The Cove, the Incredible Account of Dolphin Slaughter, to Japanese Theaters

Illustration for article titled Taking emThe Cove/em, the Incredible Account of Dolphin Slaughter, to Japanese Theaters

The Cove, last year's Academy Award winner for Best Documentary, is an incredible account of the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. Now the crew needs help bringing the damning film to the Japanese public.

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I just watched The Cove recently, and in its hour and a half run time, it manages to cover an incredible range of material that could easily fill three documentaries of their own. The film touches on the corrupt dealings through which Japan leverages power in the International Whaling Commission, looks at the cultural history of whaling and dolphin-hunting in Japan, and, most remarkably, shows how a team used custom, cutting-edge spy gear to infiltrate and videotape the titular cove, a heavily guarded lagoon where over a thousand dolphins are killed every year. It's edge-of-your-seat type stuff that stands up against any heist movie I've seen.

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Ric O'Barry, a controversial dolphin activist and protagonist of The Cove, has put out a call for donations to help support his impending trip to Japan to screen The Cove in 27 theaters. O'Barry says, plainly, "We think the people of Japan will press for an end to the dolphin slaughter if they know the truth." And having seen this powerful film recently, I think he's right. [The Cove]

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DISCUSSION

MAKE2 Mifune

I'm gonna play devil's advocate here.

Films and documentaries like these are extremely biased and take a very subjective approach towards what is considered normative behavior/cultural traditions that are isolated (as opposed to widespread).

These hunts in no way threaten the respective animal populations, as the species targeted in these annual hunts are at no risk of extinction, nor are they endangered. The amount of animals that are hunted pose no threat to the sustainability of the local animal populations.

Americans legally hunt and kill more deer, elk, and moose each year, with little impact on the local ecology.

This gets more attention of course, because our sea mammal cousins are much cuter. These stars that rally around these causes, are doing nothing for actual conservation or environmental efforts and are doing little more than using the "issue" to get themselves more publicity. It's bullshit.

Pollution of the oceans, degradation of coral reefs, and commercial over fishing do exponentially more damage to whale, dolphin, and most importantly, shark populations, as they damage everything from the bottom on up. The aforementioned issues kill many times more animals than these hunts ever will in a hundred years. But of course, because it's not as noticeable and attention grabbing as OOH DOLPHINS & PANDAS, it generates a lot less press, and a lot less controversy.

So who are we to judge?

Yeah let's focus on attacking an isolated cultural practice that poses little threat instead of attacking the bigger issue. Hollywood will award you for it and people will buy into it. Congratulations.