March 2007

For Dolphin Lovers everywhere:

It has been widely suggested in recent weeks that readers should visit a website to view a gruesome video supposedly documenting the slaughter of dolphins paid for by the “dolphin-swim industry”. The video is truly gross, a document of human savagery almost unparalleled. It depicts the brutal slaughter of dolphins in a cove and in a slaughterhouse on the shore of a Japanese town.

This video has been used as a shock tactic to inspire protest against Japanese dolphin-killing and whaling. To that end, it does some good. However, one of the main people behind the promotion of this video, and the petition one is asked to sign, has another agenda quietly attached to this campaign. I write this to make those people who do not understand that the dolphin slaughter in Japan is not financed by oceanariums or dolphin-swim programs.

The dolphins are killed for several reasons. First, because the Japanese fishermen of the area believe that the decline in available fish for them to harvest is the result of too many dolphins, and second, because the dolphin bodies are worth a lot of money, in Japan, as both meat and fertiliser. As unbelievable as it is, they see the dolphins as a threat and as a resource to recoup their losses.

On a few occasions, when the dolphins are driven into the bay where they are to be slaughtered by the hundreds (the Japanese government issues permits to kill over 20,000 dolphin per year this way), a few have been rescued from this horrible fate by being bought, directly out of the water, by representatives of oceanariums. These few dolphins, whose lives were about to end, have had the odd chance to survive, to go on to live lives among humans. If there are any millionaires out there who can purchase hundreds of dolphins at a time, this would be the place to spend your money... rescue them!

The campaign of protest against the slaughter of dolphins is a worthy one, but it has been twisted by the agenda of an internationally known activist whose personal issues have coloured his judgement. He advocates that all dolphins under human care be force-fed contraceptives, that they be systematically ignored, underfed, and made to seek sources of companionship and communication other than from humans, even while living in facilities where they were born. It is his belief that all dolphins, even wild ones, must not be interacted with by humans. Surfers, beware, he has you in his sights.... No contact, no interaction ever, anywhere.

Even the rescued dolphins who live in the Pet Porpoise Pool in Coffs Harbour, who would have died had they not been taken into life-long care, are in his sights. He wants them euthanized instead of living among humans. Could you walk into a hospital and kill the patients?

In the mind of an extremist no room for reason exists. Only the light that burns in their mind's eye can be seen.

I suggest that no one sign the petition that has been so widely supported. It states that those who sign it believe that the dolphins are killed under the financing of oceanariums and dolphin-swim programs, which is untrue. The man behind the petition has twisted the facts, misrepresented the situation, and lied about doing so.


Scott Taylor
Founding Director, Cetacean Studies Institute

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