The Cove (2009)

“A dolphin’s smile is the greatest deception. It creates the illusion that they’re always happy.”

Ric O’Barry, former world renowned dolphin trainer, now activist.

Run time: 1h 32mins

Director: Louie Phisoyos

Language: English

IMDb rating: 8.4/10

One-Sentence Summary

A group of activists set out to expose the annual slaughter of dolphins in a fishing village in Japan.

Brief Synopsis

Every year, local fishermen and representatives from aquatic parks across the world congregate in a hidden away cove in Taiji, Japan to partake in the herding, removal and brutal murder of thousands of dolphins. A small group, fronted by the ‘accidental’ activist Ric O’Barry, formulates a plan to gain access to the restricted area and film the slaughter.

The Trailer

The Vegan Bit

Dolphins are intelligent, curious and creative, attributes Ric O’barry came to fully appreciate during his time training them for the TV series Flipper. He even came to recognise that they were self-aware after showing signs of self-identification during broadcasts of the show (multiple dolphins were used- there wasn’t just one ‘Flipper’). Recognising the error of his ways, Ric set about freeing dolphins from captivity and down the path of activism, which as shown in The Cove, means avoiding angry fisherman, a rather odd, permanently angry fellow who became known as ‘Personal  Space’ (although I could think of worse names for him) and local law enforcement (not always successfully). This change in attitude is something many vegans can identify with- a moment where one suddenly sees things from a different perspective and acts in a way contradictory to their ‘norm’.

The Cove brings up the issue of eating sea creatures whose position towards the top of the food chain means that their flesh is often contaminated with potentially dangerous levels of heavy metals. It highlights the need for more work to be done, particularly where governments, ignorant international bodies and even big environmental groups are concerned. What will come as no surprise is that lobbying and politics (or in reality, money) underpins much of man’s behaviour towards a given species, be it domesticated or not. It’s not only nets cetaceans get caught up in.

Unless this changes, the sorry site of dolphins taking their last breath in the blood red waters of a tucked-away cove in Taiji will continue as it does to this day.

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