Richard O'Barry's Doc 'The Cove' May Have Ended Dolphin Killing

September 3, 2009
Source: TakePart

Dolphin Killing from The Cove

I guess movies really can change the world? One of the most talked about documentaries this year was one called The Cove directed by Louie Psihoyos (watch the trailer). The film documented a covert attempt spearheaded by Richard O'Barry (of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition) and a group of experts to infiltrate and capture on tape the mass killing of dolphins that occurs in a secret cove in Taiji, Japan. It was talked about not only for its filmmaking aspects and riveting story, but also because it was showing the world what happens in that secret cove in Japan. O'Barry just updated a blog with some apparently incredible news.

From the update on the TakePart blog yesterday written mainly by O'Barry, who is currently in Taiji with a number of major media outlets from countries like Germany, England, and most importantly, Japan:

O'Barry is currently in Taiji, Japan with European and Japanese journalists in anticipation of the annual dolphin slaughter that usually takes place the first week of September.

"Today is September 1st, the first day of the dolphin slaughter season in Japan. But when I arrived today by bus from Kansai Airport with media representatives from all over the world, the notorious Cove from the movie was empty. There were no dolphin killers in sight."

Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch brings up comparisons to other documentaries like Super Size Me (which forced fast food restaurants to change the way they operate) and An Inconvenient Truth ("which injected global warming into the mainstream discussion in a big way"). If O'Barry and The Cove have effectively put an end to this, and not just caused them to move locations or change their timing, this is incredible news. It's not often a film can come along, especially a little independent documentary like this one, and truly change the world. It brings a smile to my face to know they had such a powerful impact.

I embarrassingly haven't seen The Cove yet, but plan on doing so as soon as I can in the near future. I still want to see it, especially knowing that they may have put an end to the dolphin slaughtering, and hope this news interests you in checking it out as well. Just goes to show how far a little documentary can really go.

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I saw the trailer for this and it's the first time I've ever actively sought out a documentary. Missed the screening here, but I absolutely cannot wait to see this.

Fuelbot on Sep 3, 2009


It has not ended anything. Well perhaps in that particular spot but in no way did this end dolphin killing in the rest of Japan. Also, the two other documentaries created some media debate and thats it. People still eat more and more burgers with each day and global warming is still a controversial teory without substantial proof.

Shige on Sep 3, 2009


I saw the screening a few weeks back and it was intense and very brutal. It was shocking and made people take notice. It had to be brutally honest to get its point across and I guess thus far it has worked. Powerl documentary and not for kids at all.

dee on Sep 3, 2009


Early days yet Alex, they might have known that the media were coming and decided to postpone the start of the slaughter. I still think putting covert sound deterrents in the cove is the way forward on this one... or investigate why the dolphins come to the cove? What food source is there etc and try and ween them away. As soon as the media leave, and the camera go, do you really think the cove will be empty?

dom on Sep 3, 2009


good news!

DoomCanoe on Sep 3, 2009


Global Warming is only a 'controversial theory' to global warming deniers and apologists. You 'I don't believe in global warming' people are fools and idiots.

zibo fricka on Sep 3, 2009


#2 welcome to the forum Debbie Downer. I haven't seen this Doc but am a big fan of the genre. The picture at the top of this article is one of the most disturbing images I've ever seen. I'll definately have to check this out first chance I get.

Darth Zoidberg on Sep 3, 2009


I have to agree with #2 (about the dolphins...I have no research into the burgers, etc) -- all this did was make them either postpone or relocate. When the Gov't makes it illegal and enforces it, that will be change.

RStewie on Sep 3, 2009


Can someone please explain to me why the Japanese kill the dolphins? Are they a food source?

S on Sep 3, 2009


i am looking forward to watching this movie, it seems like a very intense story to #6... its not called global warming anymore... there was never concrete proof to be able to say 'global warming' and it became more of a political and passion issue... its called "climate change" now, cause you know, the climate it changes

Janny on Sep 3, 2009


@6 Global Warming is only a 'fact' to left wing fear mongers and people who stand to profit from a green initiative. You 'I believe in global warming' people are gullible and blind. Also... what's with Japs and the killing of smart sea mammals?! Whales, dolphins, what's next. They need more Sea World's.

bozo on Sep 3, 2009


Did you guys actually see the movie? It's nothing more than liberalist propaganda, and not good journalism. Good journalism shows both sides. It villifies the Japanese as a culture, and is so over the top that it's laughable. Most Westerners laugh at India holding cows as sacred, and it's the same for the Japanese with sea creatures when we pitch a fit about them killing whales and dolphins, etc. S, in answer to your question, the film actually states that the dolphin meat is sold miss-labeled as whale and other sea animals that the Japanese traditionally eat. Bozo, obviously you didn't see it, because it states that the dolphin slaughter is to BLAME because of Sea Worlds and other park attractions. They had pick Dolphins to put into captivity when the dolphin slaughter begins, but slaughter all those that are not wanted.

Terence on Sep 3, 2009


While it would be nice to think that this documentary could end the slaughter of these animals I doubt this will last, more likely they have either postponed or moved the killing elsewhere, Japan's reliance on food resources from the sea is much too big an issue that it would stop the practice, you only have to look at the whaling and shark fishing inustries which have equally been condemmed by the worlds media but continues daily with the risk of making certain spieces extinct. To offer up an answer to a previous question: I have no idea why the slaughter is carried out in such huge numbers but i'm guessing its to reduce the number of fish stock lost to Dolphin feeding- less fish to catch= less money for the fisherman.

CHACK on Sep 3, 2009


"move ;pcatopms" what the hell? Big typo! I want to know what you meant to write...

LINKFX on Sep 3, 2009


^ Whoa sorry for that typo... Wrote this up way too late last night. Fixed it above. Meant to say "move locations" to another cove or something, like what #4 said above.

Alex Billington on Sep 3, 2009


Has anyone here seen Penn and Teller's special on dolphins? It shows that dolphins really aren't that smart.

J on Sep 3, 2009


It's good to know that films can really make a difference in the world. The Cove is an extremely important film that everyone should experience. It's truly eye opening

Luke on Sep 3, 2009


Just drop a nuclear bomb on Japan. Again, that should make them think twice about chopping up whales and dolphins. People don't change, because people are idiots. As for climate change, the waters will rise people will die, move house and do the same dumb things they always do, killing each other and animals, etc, etc. Documentaries don't change shit.

Crapola on Sep 3, 2009


Im sick and tired of these people killing whatever they want without so much as a single thought about anything else except themselves and their sick and crazy ancient practises. It’s time the world stood up to this and put a stop to it. Seems to always be the Japanese or Chinese. They are just not happy unless they’re out there knee deep in blood and single handily wiping out species after species for some out of this world cure for the fact that none of them can get it up - ever heard of Viagra you ignorant egotistical spoilt wee society of people. If it’s not the dolphins, it’s the whales and if not the whales something else all for their pathetic excuse of a lifestyle. These ancient practises need wiped out once and for all and no the excuse that my father did this and his father and so on and so on just won’t cut it anymore. It wasn’t that long ago that the papers printed pictures of the new born girls that were discarded into the gutter. Rant over I think.......

Dar-El on Sep 3, 2009


Even if it caused them to postpone, or relocate, it's a small start. At least they're making it more known about what's going on. People can change, but most need to be pushed to do so. Maybe in the future things will be different.

Sabes on Sep 3, 2009


#6 zibo fricka. Good nargumentation technique. The ones not agreeing with you are fools and idiots. Good call there. Off you are to your wikipedia research.

Shige on Sep 3, 2009


anyculture taht has a need to participate in such a low, despicable and cowardly act is nothing but pure SH*T...I spit on their entire historyh...may they all die...

fuckthejaps on Sep 3, 2009


fuckthejaps, is spitting something that runs in your family??your mother told me that she prefers to spit, so i slapped her in the face and made her swallow my nut. don't tell me i gotta do the same for the nasty ho that is your grandma?

ilovejesus on Sep 3, 2009


cows.. chickens... pigs... dogs... kangaroos... sharks... dolphins... whales... what the fuck's the difference? oh right.. dolphins are smart! put down that cheeseburger and shut the fuck up all you dumbass hypocrites. i say KILL EM ALL! yeeehaaaaw!

rajjhaveri on Sep 3, 2009


It's so nice to see that your post about Ric O'Barry and "The Cove" has stimulated such a healthy conversation. But it's a shame that these last few comments turn the debate into a silly mud-slinging session, Ric O"Barry does comdemn the Sea Worlds of the world, and there are very concrete suggestions about how to curtail the marketing of dolphins alive or dead. It's also important to know that dophin meat, which is sold in Taiji and in the fish markets of Tokyo is highly contaminated with mercury, and those who eat it are a serious risk of mercury poisoning that can be deadly. Know, too, that dolphin's brains are larger than human brains, and if you're sure that it's not size that matters, consider that dolphins understand human sign language, but that humans have not a clue about how to decipher their rather complex and sophisticated communications. I highly recommend you see "The Cove." It's a supurb film that will clearly cause people who think documentary films are boring to reconsider their prejudice. If you want to know more about the film, I invite you to read my review at Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin, on Sep 3, 2009


I can't lie...I'm curious as to what dolphin meat tastes like. I want to see the movie (looked great) and I'm sure once I see it I'll want to sign up to help save the dolphins. But I also agree with rajjhaveri...what's the difference? I tasted meat a long time ago and I like it and eat it regularly and I don't think I could ever become a, if I really don't care what cow my steak is coming from, why should I give a damn about dolphins? So, yeah, I'd like to eat me some dolphin. And panda. And bald eagle. And, if I could go back in time, dinosaur.

Kevin on Sep 3, 2009


Dave Chapelle is so baller he eats scrambled dinosaur egg

racistamerican on Sep 3, 2009


#26..... Please see #25's advisory on dangers of eating Dolphin.

SS on Sep 3, 2009


#28.... what's not dangerous to eat these days? mad cow, bird flu, blah blah blaaaah

cockblocker17 on Sep 3, 2009


Like someone else said, It's either the Japs or the Chinese that kill many animals for the most stupid reasons in the world, like Tigers for example just to make "medicine". No wonder these countries are struck with tsunamis, earthquakes and so on. Karma is a bitch, ain't it?

OG Bobby on Sep 4, 2009


I wonder... if a cow or chicken looked cuter like a dolphin or tiger, if we would make a bigger deal about killing them? Imagine all those adds at Seaworld where you see kids playing with these dolphins that appear to smile. Who could kill a smiling dolphin. A chicken on the other hand just reminds me of an old mean lady. Regardless, what determines if an animal should be eaten as food or not. Vietnamese family near where my grandparents live had a barbecue in which they eat dogs. In Europe, dogs are treated like crap and you often seen a dog walking the streets like a piece of trash while here in America, you see them treated with the same equality of children in some instances.

Nate on Sep 4, 2009


Thanks for the that comment, Nate. Us "Europeans" is a pretty big place to throw off such stupid comments as that one. Here in the UK, animals are loved, especially dogs, I know I love my dog as my best friend. You're thinking of the poorer areas of Europe. And really, all animals should be treated nicely. It's a common misconception for us humans to believe we have more importance than everything else in the world. We share the world with other animals, and yes we are animals ourselves and must survive, but must we continue to treat them in such horrific fashion? Hell no.

Movie Fan on Sep 4, 2009


I did a radio interview on Thursday about "The Cove" and its implications for places like Sea World and other dolphin encounter experiences. If you'd like to listen, you can hear on line it at

Jennifer Merin, on Sep 4, 2009


Q: what do hamburgers, chicken wings, hot dogs, porkchops, steaks, fish sticks, shrimp, lobster tails, dolphin meat all have in common? A: Surprise... They all come from a once living organism. It is quite amusing, the level of ignorance from some of these posts so far. Crawl out of your holes for christsake. If you point your finger three more point back at you. Yes. I did see this movie. No. I do not agree with the japanese fishermen (especially the toxicity of mercury in the dolphin meat and the harmful effects it poses to the japanese public) But dont for a second tell me that our society has no blood on our hands either. Its all a matter of perception at the end of the day isnt it?

Flipper on Sep 5, 2009


Chances are, if most of you people had to kill something to provide your own meat, you'd be vegetarians. Don't deny this. That's why I'm one, personally, I consider where my food comes from and if I couldn't kill a cow or a chicken or get one from a humane source, fuck if I'm going to get one of your KFC chicken buckets or a hamburger from a factory farm. BUT you folks going "OMG BUT THINK ABOUT WAT AMERICA DOES" are missing the point. This movie is not here to justify what Americans are doing, no one's going to be out saving the dolphins with a camera in one hand and a cheeseburger in the other. This movie is about creating awareness about a specific topic. Factory farms are cruel, there is no denying that and I sincerely doubt this film tries to make any such claim. But this is also cruel and shocking, and you can't say that someone is being hypocritical simply for wanting to bring it to the public eye, different culture or not. And you people that are saying that we have every right to the cruelty we inflict on other animals and who scarf your dolphin/cow/chickenfriendsteak burgers without even so much as thinking about the animal it came from can fuck right the hell off. I'm no PETA freak but seriously. Congrats on separating from empathy and humanity along with it.

Hah on Sep 5, 2009


@ 11.... you're an idiot.

I like websites on Sep 6, 2009


wow sad im only 12 but wish i was their to help must be so hard on the ones who love dolphins and whales.............!!!!!

Shayna Thorson on Dec 4, 2009


Watched the film a few days ago... While I completely support the efforts of the filmmakers to end the barbaric slaughter of dolphins, I was really disturbed by the completely irresponsible way in which the documentary depicted the Japanese. I wouldn't be surprised if people left the theater with mindsets akin to "f*ckthej*ps" above... Just wiki'ing "Taiji, Japan" gives more breadth on the issue (especially the cultural component) than the film does, which is really scary. Why The Cove chose to ignore the fact that there are JAPANESE environmental activists themselves protesting the country's dolphin slaughter among other things is a huge mystery to me. The only thing I can think of is that the filmmakers decided they needed to create a very clear-cut villain in their attempt at giving the doc that "Bourne Identity" flavor...which is kind of sickening if you think about it... I support environmental activism wholeheartedly, but I can't rec The Cove without qualms because of the issue above...

Rosa N on Dec 6, 2009


Its happening again right now

lee Tolley on Jan 21, 2010


Agree with some of you above. Dolphin killing is only as bad as killing any other animal. So if you are not a vegetarian, and you like the documentary please re-think your food choices!

sunmoon on Jan 26, 2010


yes,are all these posters vegan? what about all the chicken,cows,fish etc that are killed so that you can eat them? how about the hens that lay the eggs you eat and their male chicks that are tossed alive in the trash or the grinder? your leather belts,coats and shoes? the milk you drink? a cow needs to get pregnant to be able to produce milk.the male calves are slaughtered for veal.she ends up in the slaughter house too.inform yourselves.

don't be a hypocrite on Aug 16, 2010


There's a difference between animals being raised for food and animals from the wild being killed to support human entertainment. I'm not vegan because I know where my food/meat comes from and I own my own chickens for eggs so I know they're not being mistreated. they're actually very happy chickens!

mbm on Aug 18, 2012


The difference is that in order for life (including dumbass humans) on earth to continue, healthy oceans are required. Dolphins, being major players in oceans ecosystem.. are therefore of major importance. Oceans are vital - therefore dolphins are vital. Sharks are also vital to ocean health. The reason these species are being wiped out is utter human ignorance, as the connection to wiping out themselves isnt being made. As for the non-winners that still deny global warming.. What planet were you on this summer?

Sharkcrusader on Sep 9, 2010


It's more shocking to me that dolphins are on the same food chain level that we are! Hello people! If you kill animals at the top of the food chain it has a bigger impact on the environment. what are these people thinking..?

mbm on Aug 18, 2012

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