There has been a war going on in Japan that most people don’t know about. This war is between the fishermen in Japan who choose to catch and kill dolphins and Ric O’Barry, who is an animal rights activist for dolphins.
Ric O’Barry has helped make a documentary about the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan by having cameramen follow him to this city and show them where they herd the dolphins to kill them. This movie is called The Cove. Many students have never heard of this movie or about the dolphin slaughter.
“I’ve never heard about the dolphin killings in Japan,” Madison Johnson, a Salt Lake Community College student said. “I can’t believe that they would really eat dolphins. Wouldn’t it just be blubber?”
It’s true that a lot of the meat from a dolphin would be fat. That isn’t the worst part about eating the meat though.
The reason I’m in such disbelief of the Japanese feeding dolphin meat to its own people is that dolphin meat contains high levels of Mercury. I am totally against the killing of dolphins, but more so the fact that the Japanese government takes this meat and feeds it to its children and pregnant woman knowing very well that dolphin meat contains over 1,600 times the amount of mercury that humans should consume.
In other words, the Japanese government is poisoning its people.
In Minamata, Japan, it’s believed that over 30 percent of its population has mercury poisoning. This town was one of the big fishing towns in Japan. Mercury poisoning had first appeared in Minamata in 1953.
People were shocked that their friends, family and children started having trouble speaking, walking, grabbing objects and thinking normally.
What was even more shocking was when the Japanese did research and started to call it “Minamata Disease,” even though it’s not something you can catch from another infected person. Mercury poisoning is only something that you can get from consuming too much fish with high amounts of mercury.
The Japanese government knows this, but they still put dolphin meat on the shelves. I was shocked when I found this out.
“I would hate to live in Japan if the government is hiding such a big thing,” Lindsay Fillmeth, a Salt Lake Community College student said. “It’s also the fact that they are feeding it to their children. I try to protect my daughter and the fact that the schools are feeding them something that could cause her to become retarded would be unthinkable.”
When I first started to research the topic about the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, I was mainly upset that they were killing these beautiful creatures. Now I am really shocked and mad about the Japanese government doing this to its people.
The government even changes the labels on their meat so that the people buying the dolphin meat will think it’s something else.
“I can’t imagine if some of our food labels were not what they said they were,” SLCC student Troy Henline said. “It’s amazing that their [Japan’s] government is getting away with this.”
Another thing that really shocked me was Japan’s aquariums, in which one can watch dolphins, do tricks, or even swim with them and eat dolphin meat at the same time.
There is so much more to the Taiji dolphin slaughter than just mercury poisoning. I just happen to find the mercury poisoning the most shocking and interesting facet of the matter.
For more information about the dolphin slaughter in Taiji visit savejapandolphins.org.