Friday, November 12, 2010

Stop the Killing

     For many children, their favorite part of the aquarium is the dolphin show.  For kids, its exciting to sit in the "splash zone" and get waved to by the dolphins as they swim by.  However, to the dolphins, the shows that they are forced to do is their worst nightmare.  Routinely jumping around, swimming, and showing off their tricks may seem to be like a fun activity for the animals, but its really just unhappy work.  In the beginning of the show at the Baltimore Aquarium all of the dolphins are introduced.  Many of them have been rescued and nurtured back to health, then turned into a show dolphin.  It seems as though the aquarium is doing the dolphins a favor by saving them, bringing them back to good health, and giving them a fun activity to do.  But the dolphins should be freed as soon as they have returned to normal health.  To go from living free in the wild, to living in small tanks, forced to do unwanted activities, is not what the dolphins want at all.  As previously stated its incredibly unhealthy for the creatures to be stuck in tanks all day and not given enough room to get proper exercise.
     The dolphins that have been saved deserve to return back to their normal world and home, the ocean.  Living in tanks not only prevents them from getting enough exercise, but can make them very sick.  A few years ago, the Baltimore Aquarium was losing dolphins left and right and nobody could figure out the reasons for their abnormal deaths.  Finally, it was discovered that they water and filter noise was making them sick.  Dolphins are incredibly sensitive to their surroundings and something as small as the filter sound could kill them, as shown in this case.
     Recently I traveled to Florida and had to the chance to visit an aquarium that was dedicated to nurturing animals back to original health and and then sending them back to freedom.  The two animals that stuck with me the most were the sea turtles and of course the dolphins.  When I visited the sea turtle exhibit, there were three sea turtles in a tank the size of a kiddy pool at your local community center.  One turtle was desperately trying to climb over the edge, and escape.  My heart broke for the poor animals and I knew that they belonged in the wild and were incredibly unhappy in the small tank provided.  The next exhibit I went to was the dolphin pool.  It was located outside, and was literally a back yard pool.  It was a good size for two dolphins, but nothing compared to the ocean.  As I hung my head over the railing, I watched the two dolphins float.  I waited for them to start playing but nothing happened.  They both just floated on top of the water, pushing a little ball around with their noses, hardly moving at all.  Occasionally the one would go under water and splash his tail, but nothing like dolphins I see on the beach.
     I left the exhibit both angry and sad.  It was a wonderful the aquarium was doing for the animals, but they all needed more attention, room, and exercise.  I was sad for the animals because I knew that being stuck in tanks was depressing for them and I was angry at the aquarium for not giving the animals the proper living conditions according to their needs.  In the future, I hope to contribute to the freedom of dolphins by spreading my awareness to my fellow classmates, peers, friends and family.  I also hope to help by boycotting dolphin shows, and pretty much anything related to animals being caged or stuck in a tank.  Never again will I go to another dolphin show in my life.  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mayor Sagen

     Ric O'Berry recently traveled to Taiji, Japan with the high hopes of making progress with Mayor Sagen to stop the killing of free dolphins and the selling of toxic meat.  O'Berry was hoping to end the slaughter, and find an alternative job for the Taiji dolphin fishermen so they could continue working and making money for themselves and for their families.  However, Mayor Sagen has taken back his world.  He originally promised to allow the Japanese and international media representatives the right to inform the Japanese people about the dolphin slaughter.  Recently, he has enforced severe restrictions that has taken away the Japanese and international media right to expose the information.
     Mayor Sagen has also stopped the showing of "The Cove" in Japanese theaters.  He has done everything in his power to prevent the people of Japan from learning about what goes on in The Cove.  Many people living in Japan have no knowledge that The Cove is even a real thing because the town of Taiji, Japan comes across as a dolphin loving place.  It has been discovered that Sagen has met with representatives that prevent the showing of the movie "The Cove" by threatening movie theaters and distributors.  These very same people also are working to get rid of the freedom of speech in Japan.
     Ric O'Berry was very disheartened by Mayor Sagen's actions and made the decision to leave the conference and go back to Taiji, Japan and continue his fight to free the dolphins were the atrocities are taking place.  O'Berry has made it clear that he is not partaking in the boycott of Japan because he thinks its counterproductive and will only set back the progress they have made.  He hopes to continue fighting to free the dolphins and educating the Japanese about the poison in the meat that they often consume.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Dangers of Mercury

    When most people learn about the slaughter of dolphins they wonder, why?  It's very unusual  in American culture to hear about dolphins being killed, especially inhumanly.  But that's just it.  We are the reason these innocent creatures are being killed.  When dolphins are captured they are picked through and the ones that meet the requirements are chosen and sold to large corporations such as Sea World and are used as show animals.  To most people, it comes as a shock to learn that the dolphins that are not chosen for life in a tank are brutally killed and their meat is sold, though it contains dangerous amounts of mercury.
     The dolphin meat is typically sold to local markets and bought by the town natives.  Without knowing the true dangers of mercury, the natives have continued to buy and consume the mercury contaminated meat.  In turn, Tetsuya Endo, a professor of the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, discovered that residents of Taiji, Japan have extremely high concentrations of mercury in their bodies because they have consumed the contaminated meat.
      The school systems had been given the meat for free and it was being eaten by the children, unaware of its dangers.  In the movie "The Cove" it shows two men in a town incredibly concerned about the meat being served to their kids at school.  After showing much distress about the topic, the meat was removed from all school systems and now the food is mercury free.  However, this is not the same for meat in markets.  Although the stores know that it is dangerous to sell the meat to their people, they continue to do it.  They have disguised the meat in packages that say its whale meat.  Not only do they sell the meat to their native people, but they eat the meat themselves.  Many people in the movie that were involved in protecting the business were tested for mercury poison and almost all came back positive.