Can killing be justified at all?

It’s been really helpful for me to watch this documentary, because it keeps raising some questions in my mind that sometimes I want to put on hold and forget about. I feel like the issue of dolphin slaughter in Taiji really speaks about much broader and at the same time more personal questions. The idea of killing anything for the sake of having something for oneself, or proving something to others, is a bothersome one. I’m thinking more and more that killing is not justified in any case, or for any reason. Many of us agree on that point concerning people, but we often don’t think that for animals. But how much is it really different? I understand that we as humans can relate to one another more, and we can accept each other as equals for the most part, but often we see people relating to animals just the same, or even much more than to other humans. And even though some people cannot understand each other, cannot relate and maybe cannot even see each other as equals, we still generally do not justify killing people. So, why can we justify killing in one sense, and not in the other?

For many years now, and especially since I came to the United States, which happened 3 and something years ago, I’ve been exposed to thinking about eating meat. When I lived my life in Belarus there seemed never be a question that it’s okay to kill animals in order to get food. I do remember seeing my dad cutting a chicken’s head off, and I don’t think I loved that experience too much, even though I do not think of it as a particularly dramatic one either. I also understand that this was the way to get food, and I had to eat, so I didn’t question it. However, when I came to the US and saw how much availability of different foods other than animal meat there is in the world, I started to think, why do I need to eat meat? 12255653_low

Of course, one may say if we stop killing animals, there will be too many of them on the Earth. But animals kill each other as well, so if we leave them alone and live our lives without touching them, they will be just doing their thing, regulating their populations, and evolving into higher species. It comes back to the question from the beginning of the semester about whether we should be part of the ecosystem. If yes, then it should be perfectly justified to kill other animals for food, or for other reasons, kill each other for survival, be wild, just as other animals are in ecosystems. But if we could detach ourselves gradually, we could let the nature and the ecosystems develop on its own without being disturbed by humans. And it seems like that’s what we are doing slowly.

I guess everything happens gradually, and we are learning things step by step. We are getting less cruel, more caring, first to ourselves, then to animals, and maybe to everything that surrounds us. Rick O’Barry is a perfect example. He was the one who started the whole thing with dolphins, yet he learnt that what was happening was not right, and now he is helping to turn things around. And even if it’s not happening fast, we also are learning from him, so the chain keeps going anyway, and eventually things maybe are not so bad as we think sometimes. I mean, if we think back 100 years ago, people were 100 times less caring about the environment, animals, each other. We are changing all the time, and this process can go only faster if we share the change with each other. 

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With great Porpoise the Secret is out!

The Cove has opened the eyes of others and mine, well slightly opened because I was too busy looking away or crying. The slaughter of 20,000 dolphins is a lot to take in but it has been brought to the public eye to help stop it. One of the topics I would like to talk about is Ric O’Barry. Ric is such and amazing badass of a person. I love how much he is making an impact on the marine world as an apology and to make up for his mistake of starting this dolphin craze. As we know from the film, Ric was the trainer for the 60’s show, Flipper. He captured five dolphins to train them for the show. As he got to know, understand and love these creatures he realized how much the dolphins understand and how much captivity effects dolphins. When Kathy, one of his dolphins I believe his favorite, passed away in his arms. He knew he had to change and stop what he had done. As his mission, he is called to save any dolphin in need or dolphins in captivity. Ric started a group called the Dolphin Project to educate people about captivity and to free dolphins. Ric, for me, is such an inspiration being so passionate about saving these beautiful creature’s lives and trying to make up for his mistake. Ten years of training and understanding dolphins in captivity to thirty- eight years being against what he started. So many dolphins have been helped by his efforts; over twenty-five dolphins have been released in Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas, and the United States. O’Barry has made a tremendous impact on the world of humans and dolphins alike. Since The Cove has been released so many lives have been saved. Before The Cove movie 2,000 dolphins would die. Last year only 800 were killed. Yes, dolphins are still dying but 1,200 lives are saved and that shows effort and that people care. Not only are the numbers getting smaller but also the hunters stopped the hunt earlier for the fourth year in a row. We can still help and make an impact by signing petitions or by going to Ric O’Barry’s website SaveJapanDolphins.org to see what else we can do. As artists we can make a difference with posters and propaganda. These are sometimes more powerful the words can ever be.     

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The Cove

Wow I have to say this movie was really moving! I can’t believe how people can be so blind sided by money. I’m really surprised how the Japan government just looks over this big issue about killing dolphins, and selling dolphin meat! I’m also surprised how they would just give out poisonous meat to there future generations like that. I would not eat anything that can cause harm to my body, I don’t any one in there right minds would do that!. I don’t understand why people they would kill off dolphins;  Tiaiji makes money but selling the dolphins they catch. But do they really have to kill off the rest. I know that  the Japanese government is trying to get rid of the dolphins because “they are endangering the fish population”, but aren’t they selling off hundreds of dolphins daily to buyers? Isn’t that in itself reducing the population of the dolphins? Why do they have to kill of the dolphins that brutally? 

I’m very touched on how they Ric O’Barry just walked into that conference like that. I wonder what built up his confidence to do that. I really like how Ric O’Barry talked about how hes life and how he regretted not buying flipper and the other dolphin and setting them free, it made him seem human. I also cant forget the ending imaged of Ric O’Barry standing the the streets of Japan show the video clips of violent deaths of the dolphins. 

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The Cove: An Inconvenient Truth

Being surrounded by water both in Rhode Island and Sarasota marine life is always evident. Going to the beaches of Sarasota one can see little fish swimming around your feet as you go in the water. Dolphins are intelligent creatures that actually interact with humans so when they are being endangered at human’s expense it is causes a reason to look into it. The creators of “The Cove” documented the brutal slaughtering of dolphins in Japan. The Japanese believe that they are eliminating so many dolphins due to “pest control” and to allow more fish, which they are pulling out of the waters rapidly, to restore their economy and distribute fish to the world. Of course the killings are the most shocking and disheartening part of the documentary, but what is most appalling is the Japanese fish facility’s manipulation of other countries.

In the documentary, there is a public forum being held with many nations across the globe. The Japanese have targeted smaller countries such as Dominica and Barbados, just to name a few, and have paid them for their support to vote for the “pest control.” When asked about the type of pest control, dolphin species, or other information the countries representatives are misinformed or just uninformed. The Japanese are portrayed to be the “villain” in this documentary and are seen bullying smaller countries by slowly buying them out. Does this effect my entire view on the Japanese culture as a whole? No. What the documentary now poses is how much we the public are being informed about and what goes on behind closed doors all over the world which is the scariest of truths. 

 

The Cove

I was really taken aback by how little regard the Japanese fishermen of Taiji had for the lives of intelligent creatures like dolphins. Overall I was disgusted by their behavior and infuriated that the Japanese government is blatantly lying to the rest of the world about their practices. I cannot understand why they feel the need to slaughter so many dolphins without any real need. The meat gained from that wholesale murder isn’t even fit for consumption. Will it take outrageous birth defects and numerous other health problems to surface before they realize that their actions are idiotic? What’s even more frustrating is that there are people there with the facts in hand that are uniformly ignored, and not just by the Japanese. Ric O’Barry strolled into the IWC with video proof of the Japanese government’s lies and was promptly escorted out. What will it take for people to wake up and accept the truth? How can a race of people be so blind to the world around them? What’s ironic is that I’ve always thought of Japanese as peaceful and harmonious with nature. My views have considerably changed since seeing this documentary. Is the pride of doing what you want in the face of global pressure really worth the degradation of the dolphin population?

I had to hand it to the filmmakers and Ric O’Barry for their patience dealing with the Japanese fishermen as well as the politicians of Japan. I don’t know that I would have had the self control to keep from avenging a few of those dolphins. Especially when faced with such obstinate behavior. Clearly the Japanese of Taiji know they are doing something wrong. They were constantly following the filmmakers around and questioning Ric O’Barry about his involvement with the documentary. If the culture there believes that they are doing the right thing, then why hide your activities? If it’s truly part of your culture, then why are you ashamed? What they’re doing is wrong and they know it. That doesn’t make them a proud race of people, that makes them bullies and thugs that are only doing what they want without regard for how it affects others. If I ever get a chance to visit Japan again, I will be sure to pay those bullies a visit.

The Cove

I have some what change my opinion from the discussion we had in class, after some long thought. When asked why we shouldn’t kill dolphins, I say well they are self aware and highly intelligent so that could be a reason why, but I still thin that if people really want to hunt them, like we do deer and moose then there should be strict hunting regulations and seasons. But for me the health concern is a bit more prevalent, we are already over fishing like crazy and most of our seafood has some level of mercury. Places like Japan are at a major risk, due to their food mostly being seafood. 

Now on the question of well what’s the difference between domestic animals and hunting wild animals. We farm the domestic animals and replenish there population with each meat sold. Also domestic animals cannot, I repeat cannot survive with out humans. Cows would not be able to survive, neither would dogs or pigs, unless they are introduced into a feral population or were born into a feral population. Now hunting you are giving a time period to allow the animals to replenish, when there is regulation if there are none then the population begins to be at risk.

Lastly on the topic of respecting someone else’s culture, that at times can be complete bullshit. There are some cultures that are just horrible and brutal to not only nature but the people of that culture. Plus culture is always changing and its a natural thing to change, its what happens, we don’t pull apart a persons body with a horse anymore. And some cultures have died out like Nazism and the Apache culture, both we not good at all. So the question is, is the old japanese culture of whaling really acceptable anymore, or does it need to change?

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The Cove

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There a lot of words I could use to describe this documentary, but I think ‘shocking’ sums it up pretty nicely. I can’t wrap my head around the idea of a human killing animals like that so mercilessly and without real cause. The fact that these dolphins are being slaughtered for really nothing other then because these people ‘feel’ that it is necessary. I’m also really surprised at the Japanese government’s lack of involvement or even awareness of the issue. It’s hard to believe thousands of dolphins, animals that many people connect with on a personal level, can be massacred with no one knowing about it or recognizing it. I think one of the most shocking topics bought up in this documentary was the mercury levels. This is a problem that was once an issue in Japan that lead to mental and physical disorders. And it is happening again (or could happen again if not corrected) today. Dolphin meat contains over 4,000 ppi of mercury  when the legal limit is under .1 ppi. This meat is being packaged and sold as whale meat and being used in school lunches across their country. The fact that these fishermen don’t care about how the are effecting people is astounding. The fact that the government is ignoring this is astounding. It makes me think about all of the other issues that are swept under the rug. Not only in Japan, but in our own government. 

 

On another note, in class today we talked about Beggar the dolphin. I grew up fairly close to where he use to live. He use to swim up a small river between houses with docks near oscar schere park which is less then five minutes away by car. When I was in middle school, we use to have class kayaking trips down that river where we happened upon him several times. There are signs when you reach a certain part of the river that say “Don’t feed Beggar.” I never got to feed him. There were a lot of reports over the years about him. He bit a few people, and there was even one man who tried to have him put down, saying he was a menace and terrorizing people. They had reports in the newspaper about Beggar when he passed away. He even made it on the local news hour. Its really sad how he died I suppose. People feed him out of a desire to connect with a wild animal, and I’m sure Beggar felt something similar. And it’s sad that that curiosity and our ignorance is what ultimately killed him. 

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish.

“So long and thanks for all the fish”, that was the last the earth will ever hear from the dolphins, or so it was in the Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy where dolphins were the second smartest animals on the planet earth. During the entire conversation about dolphins in class one particular topic stood out to me. Their intelligence; Humans have always been interested in intelligence in the animal kingdom from monkeys, elephants, parrots and dogs you name It if it has a spark of intelligence people want to know about it.

Dolphins show multiple levels of intelligence but scientists are always unsure weather the dolphin actually understands concepts being portrayed or it is simply using it’s highly sharpened ability to mimic what it is seen. There are a few reported examples of dolphin intelligence that we can see in the wild though. The first of these is how the dolphin plays.  Dolphins are known to blow complicated bubble rings and handle them as if they were playing with a Frisbee of some sort. Dolphins have also been known to help other species then them selves for no apparent reason. There have been reports of dolphins saving beached whales and also aiding swimmers to safety with no reward for them. Another example of intelligent dolphin behavior is their creative side. One study was done where a dolphin was rewarded for coming up with new tricks and flips. Once the dolphin realized this there was an explosion of creativity to the dolphins routine show. Dolphins have also been observed using tools on their own. A group in Australia was seen using sea sponge when searching the surface of the ground so as not to damage their bottlenose. Dolphins are also extremely social animals. Once a consistent natural food source is found dolphins will create a “pod” of sometimes thousands of dolphins. This is most likely. This works extremely well for them when it comes to warding off a single shark but it also makes the dolphin venerable to human farming, for example the catastrophe that is shown in the cove. The last and possibly the most impressive trait that sets the dolphin apart from your average animal would be how they communicate with each other. The dolphin uses a form of sonar to create individualization and express him or herself in the ocean waves.

Overall thought dolphins are extremely smart for the animal world. They have skills far above your average fish and show traits often observed in humans. This single point about dolphins made me uneasy during the entire showing of the cove. The idea that in a sense an animal genocide was and is taking place certainly affected me and probably will never let me look at dolphins in the same light as I had before.

Mercury Problems

One of the things that I found interesting was how fishermen were practically poisoning themselves with mercury. You’d think that after all the evidence came out about the high levels of mercury that dolphin meat has, that people would want to stop using them as a form of food. Not only is there high levels of mercury in dolphin meat, but there are also high levels of cadmium and PCBs. According to doctors, the advised level of mercury is 0.4 ppm. The highest level that testing revealed in Taiji was 18.9 ppm.

Mercury can cause neurological damage leading to loss of coordination, vision, hearing, and can produce mental retardation. Scientists are even suggesting stores to take products off the shelves immediately. Even worse is that dolphin meat is usually mislabeled as whale meat, so people don’t actually know what they are eating. Mercury is the second most toxic poison in the world. It attacks the fetuses of pregnant women, causing horrific brain damage.

When looking into mercury and Japan, I found another incident of mercury poisoning. Back in the 50’s and 60’s in Minamata, Japan, a factory dumped mercury into the Minamata bay that poisoned tens of thousands of people. It resulted in a whole generation of children that showed signs of mercury poisoning. According to scientists, the amount of mercury dumped in the bay are actually less than the amount found in dolphins. Based of this incident, you’d think that the Japanese government would try and keep dolphins off the shelves. 

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The Cove

While I was watching The Cove, my heart broke into pieces. I was so upset by the fact that this was actually happening and it made me sick to my stomach. After class, I was going around telling all of my friends about what I just learned. I even texted my mom and told her that I was going to go to Japan to save the dolphins. 

Before I watched The Cove, I had absolutely no idea that any of this was happening. It just made me so upset knowing that there are people out there who can murder innocent animals for no real reason, they only do it because they can. And the fact that the government is telling these fisherman that they’re helping by killing all of these dolphins is so disgusting to me. How can that be helpful in any way? The dolphins have done nothing wrong, they’re just trying to live their life the same way everything else on this planet does. 

While this mass slaughter of dolphins is really sad, it made me hopeful to know that there are people out there trying to stop it. It makes me want to go out and help them in any way that I can. Someone needs to fight against the Japanese government and I’m glad that there are people taking a stand. The things that the Japanese government is doing is so wrong and the worst part is, they seem completely okay with it. They’re lying to the people they’re supposed to be protecting and they’re selling them meat that could potentially harm them. I feel like the Japanese should become more aware of what’s happening right under their noses. More people should be taking a stand and fighting against this unfair slaughtering of innocent creatures. ImageImage Source