To the Councillors and citizens of Broome, Australia
My name is Harry and I am 11 years old. I am proud to be Australian because, in Australia, we are very aware about the environment and conservation issues.
However, one thing I am not proud about is the relationship between Broome and Taiji Japan. The world is aware that Broome and Taiji are sister cities and this reflects negatively on Australia and our citizens.
You will be aware of the thousands of dolphins being slaughtered in Taiji during the hunting season and many other dolphins being sold into a life of captivity. I am writing to ask you to help stop this barbaric hunt by stopping your partnership with Taiji until they stop this terrible hunt.
One of the arguments presented to those of us that fight for the dolphins is that this is “culture” or “tradition”. I would like to make some points about this argument.
Firstly, just because something is labelled as being “tradition”, doesn’t make it right. There have been many instances in history that were once “culture” or “tradition”, but we have been educated and learnt from our mistakes. It was once acceptable to keep slaves, and at one time women didn’t have the right to vote. And who can forget the Apartheid in South Africa or the treatment of Australian Indigenous people throughout history? These are just a few examples of humans being cruel and ignorant, but we have learnt from these mistakes and made right our wrongs. The fishermen of Taiji might call the dolphin hunt a “tradition” but it doesn’t make it right.
Secondly, how long does an act have to be performed to be classed as “culture” or “tradition”? Let’s consider the sale of helpless dolphins to sea parks for thousands of dollars. This is a fairly recent industry and I would like someone to explain to me how this can be classed as “cultural” or “tradition”. Keeping dolphins as slaves to perform tricks is cruel and inhuman. No wild animal should be treated like this and we have no right to take these animals from their natural environment. This is NOT tradition. This is about money and greed.
Finally, if it’s traditional and cultural to eat dolphin, why don’t all the Japanese people consider dolphin food? If you have seen the movie “The Cove” you will have witnessed the shock on people’s faces when asked about eating dolphins. It isn’t considered food so the people were very shocked. Also, if dolphin meat was “traditionally” eaten, why then is it not packaged as dolphin meat? Why it is labelled as something else to hide the real contents?
I would like to invite you to reconsider your relationship with Taiji. I do not expect Broome council to tell the people of Taiji what to do but, through your sister relationship with Taiji, you are condoning and accepting the horrible things they do to dolphins. I ask you to suspend your relationship with Taiji to help save the dolphins. Please stand up for what is right and make us all proud of Broome!
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?
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.