by Ali Berman
Categories: Animals
Tags: , .

On Wednesday night, after his concert in Tokyo, Sting met with friend and dolphin activist Ric O’Barry. The two were originally introduced back in 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival when Sting saw the film O’Barry starred in, The Cove. From that moment on, the singer was an ally to the cause.

Before the concert Sting told the Associated Press, “I was blown away by the movie. We should not be eating dolphins.”

He believes that starting an internal dialogue within Japan is the best way to stop the slaughter in Taiji. Many Japanese people are against killing dolphins, so Sting thinks that rather than applying pressure from the outside, a dialogue within the country would be the dolphin’s best bet.

Sting told O’Barry, “We only evolve as a species when we are in a crisis. We don’t want an empty sea.”

It’s quite apropos that Sting and O’Barry would choose Tokyo as the place to talk about dolphin slaughter in Taiji and the start of internal debate. Perhaps the move was planned by the two of them to get people talking. If so, then I say they are PR wizards. I hope it works. Internal pressure from Japanese citizens would do wonders to stop the dolphin blood bath happening in Taiji.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is a writer, teacher and activist. She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Ali is also a fiction writer. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

View all posts by Ali Berman →
  • Mick

    Sting stated, “We should not be eating dolphins”.

    Why not? Dolphins are no different than any other animal.

    He also said, “He believes that starting an internal dialogue within Japan is the best way to stop the slaughter in Taiji.”

    Only Taiji? About 80% of the dolphins and porpoises that are hunted in Japan are killed in Iwate prefecture. They are also killed in Hokkaido, Miyagi and Okinawa, too. The Harbor Porpoise is the most commonly hunted. Accounting for 96% of the total killed.

    • Michael Raymer

      “Why not? Dolphins are no different than any other animal.”

      Simplistic nonsense. Yes they are. Science has proved it. Dolphins are a higher order species (along with other cetaceans). Comparing cetaceans to chickens, pigs and cows disregards every bit of research that has ever been done.

      And Mick, for a guy who whines so much about Sea Shepherd tactics, why are you calling out a guy who just wants to talk about it? Don’t bother, we already know the answer.

    • Mick

      @Michael Raymer

      “Dolphins are a higher order species (along with other cetaceans).”

      At best, in some scientists opinions, dolphins are a “higher order species”. At this point in time, the idea that cetaceans are “special” and on a totally different level from other animals is simply a matter of opinion.

      “why are you calling out a guy who just wants to talk about it?”

      Once again you have completely misunderstood my comment. Obviously, I was pointing out the fact that he ONLY mentioned stopping the dolphin hunt in TAIJI. As with most, if not all, ‘save the dolphin’ types, he totally ignores the fact that over 10,000 dolphins are killed in Iwate and makes no mention of ending the hunt there. Well, obvious to everyone but you, it seems.

    • don miguelo

      Just a minor point of order:
      “Sting stated, ‘We should not be eating dolphins’. (Then Mick said):
      “Why not? Dolphins are no different than any other animal.”

      By that logic we should all be cannibals, as humans are only animals as well.

  • Ana F.

    Dolphins are beloved creatures, without them a lot of people
    would have drowned and eaten by sharks already. Dolphins save
    people’s lives unlike many animals people eat. The day a dolphin
    saves your life you will remember my words. Plus dolphins are very
    smart too,smarter than many people out there and have no cruel
    intentions like humans do.

    • David

      ‘a lot of people’ Really? You must consider a lot to be a fairly small number.

      “Plus dolphins are very smart too,smarter than many people out there” I don’t doubt that dolphins are intelligent but comparing intelligence across species isn’t really possible.

      “and have no cruel intentions like humans do.” Sorry you are just wrong on that statement.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3323070/Killer-dolphins-baffle-marine-experts.html

      “New evidence has been compiled by marine scientists that prove the normally placid dolphin is capable of brutal attacks both on innocent fellow marine mammals and, more disturbingly, on its own kind.”

  • Michael Raymer

    “but comparing intelligence across species isn’t really possible.”

    While I have no doubt that it isn’t possibe for YOU, the rest of us have no problem accomplishing just that.

    • David

      Well then Dr. Raymer, why don’t you explain just how you do that and how it shows that dolphins may be as intelligent (or more according to AnaF) as humans.

      “Measuring and comparing intelligence, or “smartness,” within and across species is not a simple task. Even defining and measuring intelligence in people is controversial.”

      http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ThinkTank/MeasuringIntelligence/default.cfm

      “These researchers are interested in studying both mental ability in a particular species, and comparing abilities between species. They study various measures of problem solving, as well as mathematical and language abilities. Some challenges in this area are defining intelligence so that it means the same thing across species (eg. comparing intelligence between literate humans and illiterate animals), and then operationalizing a measure that accurately compares mental ability across different species and contexts.”

      “Controversy exists over the extent to which these judgments of intelligence are accurate.”

      http://www.ustechreviews.com/intelligence.html

      “Comparing intelligence between individuals of the same species is notoriously difficult. Comparing that of completely different organisms is practically impossible.”

      http://www.helium.com/items/1961981-octopus-intelligence

  • Michael Raymer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgJl4bONOqc&feature=youtu.be

    There’s plenty of other videos and other evidence. It’s everywhere.

    “They study various measures of problem solving, as well as mathematical and language abilities.”

    What the hell does a dolphin need math for? I will agree with you that if you apply “human” standards of intelligence, it is impossible to compare. Dolphins don’t need things like math, reading, etc. That is not the “intelligence” that we are talking about. Self-awareness, the ability to suffer, the ability to feel loss is what I am talking about.

    To put it in another context, I am a religious watcher of “The Deadliest Catch”. I have no moral problem whatsoever with these guys hauling up their pots full of crabs and shoving them into holding tanks. The crabs have no higher conciousness, no self-awareness and no part of their brain that recognizes suffering. The same thing applies to a live lobster that gets chopped in half and put on a hot grill. It’s brain is nowhere near sophisticated enough to recognize what is happening, therefore no suffering occurs. Does this same thing happen with cetaceans? Of course not. They are as capable of feeling loss, suffering, pain and despair as we are. Not to mention, abject fear. (BTW, for all the different directions these discussions go in, THIS is MY motivation for being here.)

    Well done David. You posted links to support your argument and I respect that. But I, for one, have no problem identifying the comparative intelligence between crabs, turkeys, horses, dolphins, whales, etc.

    • David

      So you decide on a definition that fits your beliefs. But someone else may say the use of tools is the measure of intelligence, then many species that meet your definition are no longer covered. Or if someone else feels that the use of some type of language is the measure of intelligence? Then some species are covered that don’t meet your definition.

      • Michael Raymer

        “So you decide on a definition that fits your beliefs” Yes David. And so do you, and so does everyone else around here. Let’s keep the hypocritical indignation to a minimum, please.

        “But someone else may say the use of tools is the measure of intelligence,” Sure. As a matter of scientific fact, human intelligence comes more from our opposable thumbs than from our brain. Or to put it more succinctly, the fact that we have thumbs is the reason why our brains evolved the way they did. We learned that in junior high school.

        ” Or if someone else feels that the use of some type of language is the measure of intelligence?” OK, well, if we are so much smarter than dolphins, etc., why haven’t we been able to crack the language of dolphins and other cetaceans? We have no idea what they are saying. But, as marine park trainers demonstrate, the cetaceans seem to have no problem understanding humans.

        As I say above, you are using a human measuring stick on a dolphin. They have vastly different requirements for their intelligence than we do. Any “tools” they need are built in. This “practical” intelligence you are demanding, is built in. It is not up to them to make themselves understood. It is up to us to understand them. And as I say above, I understand their capacity to suffer. And that is all I need, to believe in what I believe.

      • David

        I wasn’t being hypocritical I was pointing out that since everyone has a different definition, and the fact that no ones is inherently better than anyone elses, its is basically impossible to agree on a comparison of intelligence across species. But you don’t seem to have the ability to read all of what is written before you jump to a conclusion and start typing. SO I guess you join Chris and crumpet.

        And your capacity to suffer isn’t a very good metric, especially when you claim that lobsters don’t feel pain.

        “A new study concludes that crustaceans, like those tasty, succulent lobsters, likely do feel pain when you throw them into a pot of merrily boiling water.”

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16349115

      • Michael Raymer

        David, I wasn’t being adversarial in my remarks. I was responding to your assertion that, “you decide on a definition that fits your beliefs.” Again, we all do.

        “and the fact that no ones is inherently better than anyone elses, its is basically impossible to agree on a comparison of intelligence across species.” I don’t agree with that at all. And saying so smacks more of opinion than scientific finding. To say that humans can’t compare our own intelligence to that of the alligator, jellyfish or sparrow….well, you have a lot of convincing to do.

        “And your capacity to suffer isn’t a very good metric, especially when you claim that lobsters don’t feel pain.”

        I said what I wanted to say about lobsters below. Rather than copy/paste, it’s right there. But, we’re not talking about lobsters. We’re talking about dolphins. And the suffering these particular animals go through, just to wind up on a dinner plate is as unnecessary as it is unconscionable.

        I would remind you that the parent article is how Sting wants a public debate on dolphin slaughter. For all the vitriol you and others throw at Admiral Watson’s tactics, why are you against a peaceful and free exchange of ideas and philosophy?

    • Not a biologist but…

      “But, as marine park trainers demonstrate, the cetaceans seem to have no problem understanding humans.”

      And almost the same can be said about dogs and horses and parrots and many other species. I hardly believe it is a sign of superior intelligence. It seems to be an ability to corrolate a given sound to a desired action, not an ability to ‘understand’ the words behind the sound being made.

      Also dolphins do seem to understand math, as do many other animals.

      http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep05/marine.aspx

      “In the heart of the Florida Keys, two dolphins have demonstrated in carefully designed experiments that they grasp “relative numerosity,” the concept that fewer items is “less” than more of those same items.

      Studies have shown that land mammals and birds, particularly parrots, can understand various numerical concepts, and that in primates–chimpanzees, for example–these numerical concepts can be very advanced.”

      And dolphins also use tools, as do a number of other animals.

      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0607_050607_dolphin_tools.html

      “The object turned out to be a marine sponge broken off from the seabed. Later other bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay were observed holding sponges over their beaks, and appeared to use them as a fishing tool.”

  • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

    @ Michael. You make some awkward remarks, regarding that dolphins are of a higher order and we cant compare them with “cows, pigs and chickens.”
    Millions of vegetarian Hindus strongly disagree with you.

    If you ever observed chickens in the wild, you would have seen a loving mother hen taking care of her chicks, and a rooster that hangs around and is ready to defend his hen(s) and chicks for any danger.

    Lets keep it short. And a relevant question in this enduring debat ;
    are you a vegetarian or you think its okay to eat cows but not okay to eat dolphins ?

    Your remark about lobsters being cut in half and BBQ’ed without feeling pain, is also “strange”.

    Last but not least, weather it is okay or not to kill animals, isnt a scientific question, its an ethical or even an ancient religious / spiritual question.

    Simply speaking , does a person choose for “might is right” or for an ethical lifestyle with compassion for other living beings, no matter if they are dumb or inteligent.

    • Michael Raymer

      I’ll respond to this even though I really don’t want to. I come here (to this site) in defense of the whales…and now dolphins. I have responded in other topics, and will do so again. But, I have learned to be selective in which threads I respond too. I’m here for the whales, not for lifestyle choices. I honestly don’t care who is a vegan, vegetarian or whatever. I’m omnivorous and will remain so. I am absolutely fine with someone else promoting the vegan lifestyle. But I’m comfortable with being able to stand up for the whales without becoming a vegan to do so.

      “Millions of vegetarian Hindus strongly disagree with you.” I’m sure there are plenty of things that plenty of people strongly disagree with me about. And vice versa. I’m not Hindu, so it’s not my problem.

      “If you ever observed chickens in the wild, you would have seen a loving mother hen taking care of her chicks, and a rooster that hangs around and is ready to defend his hen(s) and chicks for any danger.” Sure. It’s the survival instinct that 99.9% of the animal population is imbued with. Instinct and intelligence are two separate categories.

      “are you a vegetarian or you think its okay to eat cows but not okay to eat dolphins ?” I am not a vegetarian or vegan. Yes, I think it is ok to eat cows and it is definitely not ok to eat dolphins, whales, etc. Hypocrisy? OK, but it’s my hypocrisy and I’m over it.

      “Your remark about lobsters being cut in half and BBQ’ed without feeling pain, is also “strange”.” Pinch the back of your hand. C’mon, do it. You feel that? Why? The nerves and nerve endings you have in the back of your hand are actually a small part of the equation. All the nerve endings in the world are meaningless, unless you have a brain sophisticated enough to interpret the signals that are being sent to it. Crustaceans do not have anywhere near the level of brain sophistication (let alone the actual nerve apparatus) to process these signals. If they did, how do you think they would feel about living dozens, if not hundreds, of feet down in freezing-ass cold water? If they did, the regular occurance of lobsters and crabs losing their own claws and legs (in battle and otherwise) would not be part of their evolutionary sociology. As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “There would be some pretty careful stepping out there.”

      “Last but not least, weather it is okay or not to kill animals, isnt a scientific question, its an ethical or even an ancient religious / spiritual question.” You’re absolutely right. And that is why I stay out of the way. Believe me when I say good luck promoting what you feel is the right way to go. This is how we evolve. Maybe in a few hundred years, the Planet Earth will be 100% vegan. If so, more power to you. As a friend, I will say that your solution(s) is not 100% as “ethical” as you think it is, but there is nothing to be gained by not trying.

      “does a person choose for “might is right” or for an ethical lifestyle with compassion for other living beings, no matter if they are dumb or inteligent.” Expanding, lightly, on my last sentence, your brand of compassion may not be as compassionate as you think. Do not think for a second that the vegan lifestyle does not come with consequenses of its own. Again, this is not an argument I wanted to get into (“argument might be too strong a word), it’s not an argument that I want to get into in the future. And it certainly isn’t an argument I want to get into with an ally in the whaling/dolphin slaughter issue. That is why I’m here. Once whaling is eliminated, once dolphins slaughter is eliminated, I’ll probably have no more to say on this site. (And if getting me to shut up doesn’t serve as a great motivational tool, I don’t know what will.) :o)

      • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

        wow, i am shocked about your attitude.

        Eating dolphins and whales is not okay but eating cows, pigs and chickens from factory farms is okay ?

        Michael, i believe that for some people, its the easy way out to only attack others people habits (eating cetaceans) but refusing to have a more critical look at your own habits.

        You seriously can watch undercover videos of factory farms and see how the animals that you eat are abused their whole life, and it doesnt do anything to you ?

        You see dolphins being killed (in a far away country by people that dont look like americans, on internet videos) and you are crying your heart out and swearing that you will stop these horrible people ?

        See cows, pigs and chickens being killed (on internet videos) and terrible abused, and all you can think is “these animals are a lower kind of animals”. No feelings for THESE animals, eh.

        Oh, you are not Hindu so “its not your problem”
        OMG, what an easy attitude…

      • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

        quote from Ady Gil :

        “As horrible as the dolphin hunt is, and I have seen it with my own eyes, it is what they do. No different than factory farming in the US.”

        I can relate to that.

        Quote from Michael :

        “Dolphins are a higher order species (along with other cetaceans). Comparing cetaceans to chickens, pigs and cows disregards every bit of research that has ever been done.”

        In other words, dolphins are inteligent and cant be eaten. Pigs, cos and chickens are dumb and can be kept in factory farms and be eaten.
        Sorry, cant relate to that..

      • Michael Raymer

        herwin, I hate to say it but, you are using the exact same tactics that Kimitake, David and others have tried. Where in anything that I have ever written have I given my support to factory farms? Where have I attacked other peoples eating habits? Where have I said that videos of abused animals doesn’t do anything to me?

        “(in a far away country by people that dont look like americans, on internet videos)”

        That right there is uncalled for and completely out of line. Of all the anti-whalers here, I am the one who refrains from making it a “Japanese” thing. I continually refer to them only as whalers and dolphin butchers. The fact that they are Japanese is irrelevant to me. And when Watson, Bethune, GreenPeace, or anyone else goes after the Faeroese whale butchers, I’m not going to give a damn about their nationality either.

        I’ll give you two pieces of very good advice:

        1. Lose the hysteria. You won’t win a single convert with it.

        2. Quote my statements and my views accurately, or I’ll bury you.

        You’ve posted many things that I could have responded to and didn’t. I have made my position clear. I’m here for the whales and the dolphins. Try to turn this into something it doesn’t need to be and I’ll own your ass.

      • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

        @ Michael.

        I am not using any “tactics”, its just considered hypocritical by many veggie and ar people to defend one species of animal, so passionately, and at the same time eating other species of animals.

        How dare we compare cows, pigs, and chickens with dolphins ! Heavens forbid.

        More accurately, this type of selective animal defense is rather emotional based, like the pet owner who is against eating dogmeat in faraway Corea, but doesnt mind gobbling on cow meat.
        Selective compassion, not something i relate to.

        Since you are a meateater, i ASSUME that videos of factory farm animals dont do you much. IF it does get to you, the more stranger and hypocritical your meateating is.

        Last but not least, you are the one with emotional hysteria (not me) and you are beginning now with verbal abuse like “or i’ll bury you.”
        Sounds pretty emotional to me.

        Not the first time though, eh, just read the recent post and your comments regarding mr Ady Gil who you so unjustly insulted.
        Is this becoming a trademark of Seashepherd ? Trashing anybody who slightly differs in their opinion or aproach ?

        When you loose the argument, you really are a sour loser, eh.

      • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

        @ Michael ,this is just for poking fun at you ;

        Quote Michael :
        “Where have I attacked other peoples eating habits?”

        oh ? you don’t ? You start sounding like a Greenpeacer..

        You are against whaling and against killing of dolphins. You want to stop people eating whales, not by mutual communication with them and trying to convince them, but by simply forcing them to stop whaling and forcing them to stop eating whale meat.
        This, my friend, can be described as “attacking other people’s eating habits.”, it certainly isnt respecting peoples eating habits.

        Can you admit that you are attacking people’s dolphin eating habits or you want to wurm your way out of it ? Go ahead , it will be amusing to watch.

      • Michael Raymer

        How many times do I have to tell you people that I am not a member of Sea Shepherd? Seriously, the next time David or Mick or whoever questions your reading comprehension, I hope I see the post come up so I can egg them on.

        Your presumption is incredible to me. To defend whales and dolphins, one must submit to herwins take on the world. Period. No other views tolerated.

        You are your own worst enemy. Your own insufferable arrogance is why no one will ever take you seriously. You will not convince or convert anyone to your views because all they will see is an hysterical little twit, stamping their feet when they don’t get their way. Pitiful. If you scroll up and actually read what I said, you’d see that I was speaking to you as a friend and with respect. And this is how you come back at me? Again, pitiful.

        And what is this hold that Ady Gil has on you? All I’ve seen is his accusations against Watson. Please illuminate me on whatever proof you have obtained that his accusations are the truth. I would like to see links and attributable quotes. Since you’re swinging an awful big bat, I assume you have them. I mean, you haven’t shown any of them yet, but this fiery response of yours indicates that you have them. Please share them with the rest of the class at your earliest convenience. Or does a two-sided argument, where the accused gets to defend themselves not work in vegan-land?

        “faraway Corea” Seriously? Corea? This from someone who thinks they won the argument? Can you find it for me on a map? Here’s a hint: It’s really close to Xapan.

      • johnjohns

        Corea is Korea. You’ll find many reference to Corea in Google Books. Try it.

  • mep

    Yay Sting! It’s great that he is getting involved.

  • Bob

    Stink should stick to singing.

    • JayP

      Sting has an opinion about dolphin slaughter just as you Bob…have an opinion about StinK ??

  • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

    Michael, i think this whole Whale Wars is getting to your head.

    About Ady Gil, all you see are accusations that he made against Seashepherd, to sepak in your own words.
    For me i see something diferent, i see an activist named Ady Gil who poored in much money of his own, poored in his good reputation (priceless!), and so enabled Seashepherd to have another ship and some PR, only to be trashed in the end by this same Seashepherd.
    I dont blame him for defending himself and seeking justice. And it also seems TO ME that Ady Gil tried to settle it all in a friendly way before sending in the laywer.
    Nothing wrong with that.

    • Michael Raymer

      Show me the link where Sea Shepherd “trashed” Ady Gil. Show me where SSCS started this pissing contest. I asked for this evidence above and four hours later you still have shown nothing.

      NONE of this would be happening except for Pete Bethune, his big mouth and his instantly refutable accusations. And his need for attention. Am I wrong? Prove it with evidence. I am still waiting because you still don’t have it.

      Of course, I’m asking this of a person who, yesterday, went off completely half-cocked, made baseless and uncalled for accusations of me, and returned the respect I gave with derision and insults. Birds of a feather.

  • van chick

    Another reason why people who actually care about this cause should distance themselves from Sea Shepherd:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hkeapde1GM

    • David

      I like how they disable comments. They just know that they are so right and perfect yet are afraid of dissent.

      The words of the person who posted the video;

      “They refuse to speak to us. If they would simply agree to a discussion, we would not provoke them!”

      So another case of do as we say not as we do. The people of Taiji should just agree to have a discussion, but the Cove Guardians refuse to do the very same thing.

      • van chick

        Actually, there was a discussion between the mayor of Taiji and Sea Shepherd members. It was closed to the public but the mayor was seen walking out, obviously pissed off. He commented that there’s no pointin this since their views are 180 degrees opposite to each other.

        Which isn’t too surprising since people in Taiji have viewed dolphins/whales as prey to be hunted like any other game animal, for centuries. Meanwhile, SS are trying to convince the same people that dolphin/whales are “sentient, near-celestial beings”.

        SS sees nothing wrong with going to a foreign country, getting frustrated when locals can’t understand what they’re saying and venting their frustration by telling them that they smell bad, that they should to “go home”(?) and that they’re perverts that get off on killing dolphins and beating & cutting their wives (as seen in the youtube vid). Hardly the way to set the tone for meaningful discussion.