Captivity Kills

A statement that shocks many when hearing it for the first time. But, alas, its’ truth resonates to the very core, and there is no place where this fact is more evident than here in Taiji.

No aquarium, no tank in marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.

-Jacques Yves Cousteau

If there was no captivity industry connected to this town, there would be no bloodshed within the Cove. The captivity industry fuels this slaughter. Here in Taiji, there are numerous facilities that throw their money the way of the slaughter, and we’re not just talking about loose change. The dolphin trainers- however much they urge that they ‘love’ dolphins- still continue to enter the killing cove during most slaughters, selecting the ‘prettiest’ dolphins to enslave, whilst their families are slaughtered around them.

The past few days here in Taiji have been hunt-free! Over the weekend, Taiji held its’ annual ‘whale festival’, which celebrates Taiji’s involvement in whaling and dolphin killing industries. On these days, we are able to spend more time monitoring these above mentioned captive facilities- most of which urge tourists to spend money to watch these dolphin shows, and swim with these animals that have been taken from the wild, usually in their very early years, and forced to learn tricks in order to obtain the very basic necessity of life- food.

Why mankind feels as though these dolphins should be performing day after day in order to survive, in the meantime helping to line the pockets of heartless individuals with considerable amounts of money is beyond me- luckily, though, the tide is turning, and many are waking up to the complete farce that is the captive dolphin trade. Many claim that these shows display the intelligence of these animals to a world that doesn’t quite understand the capacity of the marine mammal brain. They could not be further from the truth.

This referred ‘intelligence’ is only based upon what humans consider as trivially entertaining. These dolphins are merely learning tricks that humans have invented, using signals designed by humans that do not allow for any kind of responsive communication (the use of hand signals). These shows are nothing more than a display of human dominance and the outside physical appearance of these animals is the basic extent to which these shows provide accurate educational information. The notion of keeping marine mammals captive is outdated and frankly, no longer called for in a society that has come to learn of the incredibly intricate brains of these creatures.

Put simply, any of these facilities that house dolphins for display, swim with programs or breeding purposes are there for one reason- to make money. For as long as the captive industry holds dolphins within their walls, there is a need for these companies to take animals from the wild- to replenish the genetic diversity and maintain ‘healthy’ breeding programs. For as long as dolphins are being taken from the wild, there will be dolphin slaughters. It’s as simple as that. Here is a video I put together of the latest drive hunt here in Taiji;

So, I emphasize the need not to support the captive dolphin industry. If you want to encounter a dolphin- go and see one in the wild. If you can’t get to the ocean, well that’s just too bad. Dolphins (or any species of animal) shouldn’t have to be trucked, flown, ferried and kept in the same small tank for years on end just because it’s more convenient for humans to see them there.

It’s not hard not to buy a ticket, but it is impossible to bring back the hundreds of thousands of dolphins and small whales that have perished worldwide at the hands of the captive dolphin trade.

I’d also like to point out, that it is not due to these animals having a high sense of intelligence that raises the argument that they need not be slaughtered- it is due to the unnecessary cruelty and capture of the dolphins and the destruction to the ocean that it ensues. My passion lies with ocean conservation, and I am a strong believer in standing up for what you are most passionate about to achieve the most successful results. Meanwhile I make my best conscious effort not to contribute to other cruel industries in this world as well as to shed light on them. Unfortunately, I learn of more every single day.

Luckily, humans possess the ability to change our ways, we have the power to stand up and say ‘no more’ and we have the compassion embedded deep within our souls to indicate to us that we are doing the right thing by not supporting cruelty and environmental destruction. For, after all, it is the future generations of humankind that will be thanking us for taking a stand and speaking up, and it is definitely not just Taiji that needs to change… every single one of us do.

If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect.
-Jacques Yves Cousteau

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Educate yourself on what’s going on in our oceans and make your voice heard! We will be updating live from the cove most days- and you can keep updated on the official Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians’ Facebook Page, Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Official Reports, or follow #tweet4taiji on Twitter!

Fingers crossed that the rain that has been drizzling all afternoon will set in well beyond tomorrow morning and there is no hunting! 🙂


For those of you wanting to know more about the lucrative captive marine mammal trade and its’ history- watch this documentary!


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