(Fishermen cutting Dolphin Meat)
Overall, I found the entire experience of watching The Cove (or at least the portions we have seen), to be highly upsetting and frustrating to say the least. My aggravation towards this situation stems from many places covered in the film (like government cover-ups, using culture as a scapegoat, and the brutality). However, I feel as though one of the primary sources of my annoyance is derived from the fact that the Japanese Government and the fishermen of Taiji seemed completely unconcerned that they are poisoning Japanese citizens with mercury.
According to The New York Times, “dolphin meat consumption in the area has decreased” and “a few stores no longer carry the delicacy, and some local schools stopped serving whale meat to students”. While this is a good move forward, this only seems to be due to the Japanese public becoming slightly more aware to the issue of dolphin meat containing toxic levels mercury. However, the Japanese government still seems to be content in hiding behind the cultural practice of eating dolphin in small towns like Taiji (or passing it off as whale meat in larger towns) rather than outright banning dolphin meat from being sold. With dolphin meat containing up to 1,600 times the suggest levels of mercury consumption in humans due to their high trophic level, the reality of the situation is that the Japanese government is turning a blind eye as they abet in the poisoning of their people. I find it to be rather unnerving that one’s government can so easily withhold such vital information from their people, especially when problems with mercury poisoning had been a rampant problem in Minamata in the 1950s.
Thus, The Cove presents many incredibly valid and potent points on the brutality of dolphins that need to be changed with great haste. However, I find it disturbing how this brutality is also greatly influencing the health of many humans, yet the Japanese government is obstinately letting the practice continue regardless of the risk.