On the 1st September hundreds of people gathered at the Japanese Embassy in London to protest about the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji. We were all armed with whistles, posters loud voices and a passion to stop the inhumane capture and slaughter of thousands of dolphins.
We were all upset at the news that our hero Ric O’Barry had been arrested the previous night and was facing harassment at the hands of the Japanese police. We chanted “Let Ric Out!” When we heard the news, that he had been released, we all celebrated and cheered. You can never hold a great man down!
On my sign, my dolphin was pleading “Help me, Stop Taiji”. This represents what I think the dolphins, travelling though the waters near Taiji, would be asking of the Japanese officials and the people of the world. The dolphin was asking for help from those at the embassy – to please help stop the terrible slaughter. The Japanese Government need to step up and listen to the dolphin cries and to all of us who know that the annual hunt is wrong.
“Death” and “Captivity” were also there to show the Japanese officials there aren’t many options for the dolphins of Taiji. They are either sent to a prison in captivity or killed for no reason.
The Japanese fishermen would like you to believe that it’s a tradition to slaughter dolphins in the waters near Taiji. We know this isn’t right. But if tradition was a good excuse, it still doesn’t make it right. There have been many traditions over history that have now been stopped because we are now educated and know better. Stop hiding behind “tradition” and do what is right!
It was great to see so many supporters of this cause gather together as one, as we fight for what is right. At the moment the dolphins might be crying “Help me Stop Taiji” but maybe one day soon they will be saying “Thank you for stopping Taiji”. Wouldn’t that be great?
I have recently been to Scotland on holiday. We were close to Spey Bay, so decided to visit the Sottish Dolphin Centre. The manager, Alison, was very kind and sat down with me for a chat.
The Scottish Dolphin Centre is based in an old fishing building in Spey Bay. It’s been established for 12 years and is a charity that is part of the Whales and Dolphin Conservation. In Moray Firth there are approximately 190 dolphins and these can be viewed in smaller pods of about 5 or 6 dolphins.
At the Scottish Dolphin Centre there are lots of interesting things you can do. One of the most exciting things to use is the wild life cameras to watch for dolphins and other wild life.
You can also learn a lot about dolphins and conservation through all the information boards, activities and talking to the very knowledgeable staff. There are volunteers who speak to visitors about why it’s important to take care of dolphins and our oceans.
You can make a donation and ‘adopt a dolphin’ through SDC. Money from donations goes toward dolphin conservation, campaigning, research and education. If you’d like to help in other ways you could volunteer in the shop, educate others, clean up the beach, or do letter drives – writing letters to important leaders. There are lots of opportunities to help!
I really enjoyed meeting Alison and talking to her about the centre. I asked her what she would like people to know about dolphins, and here are 3 things:
They breathe air just like us. They come up to the surface to breathe air.
When they need to sleep, only half their brain sleeps. The other half needs to stay alert to make sure they are safe.
When a baby dolphin is born, the other dolphins in the pod help the baby dolphin up to the surface.
I asked Alison if she was aware of what is happening in Taiji. She is aware and feels very sad and angry about what happens in Taiji. Bottle nose dolphins are the dolphins that you can view at the Scottish Dolphin Centre and it’s sad to think of all the bottle nose dolphins, and other dolphins, being treated so badly in Taiji.
I had a great time during my visit to the Centre. If you are in the area, I recommend you visit. And it’s FREE! If
you can’t visit, how about making a donation or ‘adopting a dolphin’? Visit the website here
Thank you to Alison for making me feel very welcome during my visit. I hope to come back and see you again sometime!
My name is Harry and I am 11 years old. I am writing to you because I was concerned to see that you are promoting and supporting The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.
The reason this worries me is because The Mirage keeps dolphins captive and this is cruel and inhumane. I thought that you were an animal lover and would be upset by this as well. I am shocked and sad that you don’t care about these dolphins.
On The Mirage website they claim their dolphin habitats are for scientific research and education. There doesn’t seem to be anything educational about what they do with dolphins. They charge people money to do activities with dolphins.
A new “experience” they offer is Painting with Dolphins. How is this for research or education? Do dolphins do this in the wild, in their natural habitat? We all know this is wrong and The Mirage are exploiting these animals to make money. Forcing a paintbrush into the mouth of a dolphin is very upsetting. It is cruel to treat animals in this inhumane way.
The Mirage also offers paying customers the opportunity to be a “Trainer for a day”. To be a trainer you have to force the dolphins to do silly tricks. The dolphins don’t perform tricks in the wild – I’ve never seen a dolphin in the wild balance a ball on their nose – this is not educational. It is also a well known fact that dolphins are deprived of food to make them do these silly circus tricks. In the wild, dolphins are free to hunt for food whenever they feel like it.
Ellen, I would like to know if you think these activities are educational or done for the purpose of research. To me, it sounds like they are doing these things to make money and just telling the public that it’s for education and research.
There are lots of documentaries, for example ‘Spy in the Pod’, Blackfish, The Cove and also lots of books that educate us about dolphins. We don’t need to see them or keep them in captivity to learn about them.
On their website The Mirage states “Guests see the dolphins in a naturalistic environment, exhibiting natural behaviors”. How is a pool in the middle of a desert a naturalistic environment and how can a dolphin painting be called a natural behavior?
Being someone who says they are an animal lover, I would think you would see that keeping dolphins in captivity and forcing them to do tricks is wrong. You are a big celebrity and lots of people listen to what you say. By promoting The Mirage you are telling the world that you think it’s ok to keep dolphins captive.
After seeing you talk about the Cove I thought you were aware of the bigger issue. These dolphins in the Mirage may not come from the Taiji dolphin slaughter, but supporting dolphin habitats and shows contributes to the slaughter. If no one buys a ticket, there is no need to hunt and capture dolphins.
I would like to ask you Ellen to stop promoting and supporting The Mirage Hotel. There are lots of other great hotels that you can promote that don’t hurt and mistreat animals.
Thank you for reading my letter. We all love dolphins but we don’t need to see them to love. We can love them just as much when they are swimming wild and free.
From Harry Morgan
and all the dolphins held prisoner in habitats and parks all over the world.
A little over a week ago, the terrible Taiji season finished for another year. Just because the capture and slaughter has finished, doesn’t mean we stop raising awareness and fighting for dolphins. There are many dolphins suffering in captivity and we need to help them!
The World Society of the Protection of Animals says that “53% of newly captured dolphins dies in the first 3 months”. This happens because of stress, unhealthy water and the dolphins being exposed to human infection. These dolphins are dying so that we can be ‘entertained’ and ‘have an amazing dolphin experience’.
One very popular way sea parks make their money is through swim with dolphin programs. There are many reasons why a life of captivity is bad for dolphins, (see here and here for reasons), and swim with dolphin programs just add to the list!
These ‘encounters’ are often advertised as being educational, where you can ‘shake hands with a dolphin’. Dolphins held in captivity are in an unnatural environment and there is nothing natural for the dolphin (or us) about shaking hands or kissing dolphins for a photo. Education is about learning facts and truths. You can learn a lot more by reading books and researching the internet.
It might surprise some uninformed people to know that dolphins are being forced to participate in these swim programs, just like they are being forced to do silly tricks for the public. Trainers deprive the dolphins of food as a way of making them shake hands, jump, balance a ball and kiss. The dolphins have no choice – no trick means no food. The dolphins cannot escape this life, they are prisoners and slaves.
Swim with dolphin programs are very stressful for the dolphins as they are being forced to ‘swim’ in shallow water and beach themselves so that paying customers can touch them. This behaviours are not natural for the dolphins and we shouldn’t be abusing them for our entertainment.
Please don’t buy a ticket to a dolphins show. This is how we can stop the abuse of animals. If no one goes to the show, there will be no shows!
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And please remember……..
A few weeks ago I started a Cove Club at my school. We live on Croker Island so we are called “Croker Cove Club.”
We watched the movie The Cove and my friends were very upset about what is happening in Taiji. One of my friends said “There is too much sadness and too many lies”. I think she is right. Everyone said they were shocked by what was happening. They also think dolphins should be free to live in the ocean.
It would be great if more kids started a Cove club in their school. We need to get more kids involved to speak up about Taiji and the cruelty of keeping marine life in captivity.
Please start a club if you can!