Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has released a video about dolphin captivity to coincide with the start of Japan's annual dolphin drive in Taiji.
The video, titled "Do You Know Where Your Entertainment Comes From?" begins with shots of dolphins performing at a marine park to enthusiastic crowds. The video takes a turn when the same footage begins to go in reverse, but goes further back to trace how dolphins end up in dolphinariums including crane shots of dolphins being transported, trained in sea pens and the bloody waters of Taiji, Japan.
Every year from September 1 to March 1, thousands of dolphins are herded into a cove in Taiji, Japan. Sea Shepherd says: “The dolphins that are not brutally killed, are permanently traumatized after being forced to witness the horror of their family members being slaughtered. This is then followed by a horrifying existence of living in a tiny 10 X10 enclosure and being forced to beg and learn tricks, just to receive food.
"Once they have properly 'conformed' to the ritual of performing for a meal, they are ready to be sold into a life of slavery to the highest bidder from marine parks around the world.
"The dolphins endure long rides in the back of trucks and on airlines, sometimes for a total of 30-40 hours. If they miraculously survive this trip, when they arrive to their new “home” they are forced into equally small, sometimes smaller pens, and must live and compete with dolphins from other pods. The enslaved dolphins are now required to perform in shows multiple times per day, and in between shows, they are made to 'play' in the pools with humans, who want entertainment.
"These dolphins are force fed pills that make them more subdued, to keep them from lashing out at humans, and this is followed immediately by 'uppers,' so they will still have the energy to perform.”
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.