by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes, Film/TV.


Thanks to efforts from celebrities like Hayden Panettiere and Miranda Kerr — as well as several animal rights organizations and documentary filmmakers — Japan’s deadly “Dolphin Slaughter Cove” is today quiet. For now.

Yesterday marked the beginning of Japan’s traditional dolphin slaughter and Ric O’Barry, star of the recently released documentary The Cove, was on site to witness any killings. What happened next is actually quite inspiring to hear. From his Save Japan Dolphins blog:

I vowed to be back in Taiji when the dolphin killing began. I’ve often been here alone, or accompanied by a few environmentalists. Sometimes, I was able to talk a major media organization into sending someone. But the people of Japan never learned about the dolphin slaughter, because none of the media in Japan (with the exception of the excellent Japan Times) have ever sent reporters to the killing Cove. Until today!

When I got off the bus at the Cove this afternoon, I was accompanied by my son Lincoln O’Barry’s film crew, a crew from Associated Press, Der Spiegel (the largest magazine in Germany), and the London Independent.

No dolphins and no dolphin killers. We would not have had a story at all, except for the police who were there, waiting all day for us to appear. Nine policemen came to talk to us.

Now, I have said this repeatedly: Unlike the Cove fishermen, the police from this Prefecture have always acted professionally, courteously, and fairly. I have never been mistreated or threatened by the police here. I think they are a microcosm of the people of Japan – the very people I am trying to reach about the dolphins!

And as I was talking with the police, as the international journalists stood around listening, suddenly a camera crew arrived from Japan! And then another! And then still another!

You have to understand that this is SO IMPORTANT. These TV stations have REFUSED to cover the story in Taiji for years and years. NOW, for the first time, they have shown up, with cameras rolling. The head policeman talking with me even said, for the cameras, that the police are not there to support the dolphin killing fishermen. We shook hands, and they left.

As I said, it is a good day for the dolphins. And for me personally, as the police only wanted to talk with me, not arrest me!

“The Cove” movie led to the strong action by the city of Broome, Australia, in suspending the sister-city relationship with Taiji. So now, the Japanese media are sitting up and listening, for the first time.

And I’m telling them: “This tour is to show journalists the GOOD things about Taiji.” You see, with “The Cove” movie out now, we don’t have to show the BAD things about Taiji. Soon, the whole world will know about the Taiji dolphin slaughter. And all Japanese will soon know about the cover-up that has occurred by the government in refusing to stop mercury-contaminated dolphin meat from being sold to unsuspecting Japanese consumers and children.

But Taiji can change this image of shame, if they want to. I will be telling them that the town of Nantucket used to be the capitol of the whale killing industry in the US. Now, it uses its history of whaling combined with whale-watching to market tourism very successfully. Whales and dolphins are worth more alive then dead. Taiji can do this, too. But the killing has to stop.

Yes, today was a good day for dolphins. Tomorrow, I will take journalists with me around town to show them Taiji. Tomorrow, too, I predict will be a good day for dolphins. Every day that we are here and the fishermen KNOW we are here, will likely mean no boats going out to round up dolphins for the killing Cove.

And because of “The Cove” movie, the dolphin killers must now fear hidden cameras and microphones, even when they THINK we are not here.

And soon the world spotlight from “The Cove” will shine a very bright light on Taiji.

Photo credit: Sea Shepherd/SaveJapanDolphins

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Luke M.

    Amazing news. Everyone should spread the word about The Cove, it makes a huge difference.

  • Nicole

    I dont know it sounds like the quiet before the storm to me

  • Sea Shepard Fan

    Maybe its me, but I just cant believe what people do for greed. Its disgusting! How can a human KILL these beautiful animals????? Why? It makes me sooo sad. Sometimes I really hate the human race and how destructive we are. LEAVE OUR BEUTIFUL WORLD ALONE OR ITS GOING TO BE GONE FOREVER!!!

  • Katharine Canfield

    Ric O’Barry, you have done such good and vital work. Yet what will happen when you and the press leave Taiji??

  • deena

    Omg. I wish there was a disclaimer before seeing the bloody water. It really affects me, I’m already tearing up.
    “Humans are a sick and dangerous species”. Said a wise man.
    How can you possibly set out to kill a dolphin and do it!? It’s a crime against the entire Universe.

  • ReallyIsaac

    Wow! that’s such great news! :D Lets pray that continues!

  • Mike

    Great News!!! My prayers go out for Ric O’hairy,nThe Cove, The Dolphins, as well as the town of Taiji! Lets hope the cove will remain clear. It saddens me to think how inhumane we are as humans. I myself refuse to kill or hurt animals. I have never been hunting and haven’t fished since I was 6 (now 23). Go Green and save wild/sea life!!!

  • jane

    Yes!!! This is a start. Now to shed light on the other fishing villages where this still goes on…

  • elisa

    excellent work, everyone!

    we can do more! i’ve started a petition to include dolphins in the whale protection act before congress.

    sign it here:

    and get all your friends to do the same! we can keep this kind of slaughter from happening ANYWHERE!

  • Whoever…

    Great news…


    This only proves that socking people with the ‘real’ truth actually works!

    Sometimes it’s necessary to shock people in order for the message to pass through.

    Maybe all of those who claim that shocking people is not the right method to change their minds should take a good look at this example.

  • Gina

    Really great news! I hope the quiet continues. The movie really is very good-quite informative and entertaining.

  • amber15

    can’t believe it! my heart is bursting with happiness for the dolphins, for life and for peace in our oceans………

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  • mabel caquimbo

    “THE COVE” A REAL MOVIE that will show us a terrible reality about this terrible massacre,of this beautiful and inocents creatures. dolphins deserve to live and be free.

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  • Rex Thomas

    Let it be known, that mankind can change for the benefit of nature. There is hope that thru the work of environmental activists like Ric O’Barry and movies like The Cove, the ocean and the creatures it it can live for future generations to enjoy!

  • Erica

    Way to go!
    I cannot see how anyone would call murder of such an intelligent species “tradition”
    In the 19th century, whaling was the base of the entire New England Culture. Then a new source of oil comes along and the whaling industry dies. BUT NOT THE CULTURE OF ATLANTIC AMERICA!!!!

  • Lyn from Australia

    Thank god there are people like you Rick. It sounds like you have got through to the Japanese people and shown them courage and the power of independant thought. I am so glad that the waters of the Cove are blue and not red today…I wonder are there any more “secret” locations?

  • Yannie

    To see what has come of it, fills me with hope…

    Awareness is 1/2 the battle won. Whether its fear or sudden awakening to guilt, who knows what goes through the minds of the fishermen of Taiji or even Private Space… but with more sitting up and listening worldwide… Japan too will sit up and see what is going on in her own backyard….

    And with support, these friends with whom we share this world we all live in, can be safe.

  • susan

    Oh my gosh! I have been trying to tell people about this dolphin slaughter for three years! When I found out that Hayden Panettiere was part of the movie “The Cove” It filled me with pure joy. When I read that there has not been any dolphin slaughters so far in the cove i was ecstatic! Dolphins are truly my life. If I had the money to go to Taiji I woul din a heart beat!

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  • Elly

    That is very good news! I hope they are not going it somewhere else.

  • Selva Azul

    I saw the movie for the first time a few nights ago and have felt sick ever since – it is so shameful to be human sometimes. I have now made a concerted effort to do as much as I can to help stop these killings – as much as I can from my computer and wallet and telling other people, I hope to get out there and support rallys and actually be there physically in the future. One thing that concerned me though was how do you convince people to stop doing something that is their only source of income. People wont starve – they have children and families to support. And this made me feel even more sad/helpless. I cant express my admiration for Ric O’Barry enough- he is a living angel and guardian to our brothers and sisters in the water! when he mentions that Dolphins are more valuable alive then dead and relates back to how the US city of Nantucket had a complete turn around -for the better of both species, it all seems possible! I was told the other day – “never underestimate the power of a mosquito – it may be small but if it annoys you and persist enough, you will do something about it”. Dont give up.

  • Nikki

    That is fantastic news!! but how long will it last, is it possible they are doing it somewhere else? i hope and pray that is the end of the slaughter!!