. . . Thursday July 30, 2009

Murder, Suicide and Flipper

A new documentary called The Cove chronicles the efforts of Ric O’Barry (former trainer of Flipper and current activist working to halt the killing of dolphins) as he tries to save dolphins who are rounded up and either sold into captivity or slaughtered in the village of Taijii in Japan. Both O’Barry and documentarian Louie Psihoyos were interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

You’ll hear about cruelty to dolphins that is planned and carried out by a relatively small group of maniacs in this Japanese village. But you’ll also learn of a similar cruelty that might involve dolphins you’ve bought a ticket to watch or ride.

“I get more upset with the dolphin trainers I see there than the fishermen,” O’Barry tells Terry Gross. Japanese fishermen, he explains, think of dolphins as being in the same category as fish — not least, O’Barry says, because the Japanese character for “whale” translates literally into “monster fish.”

“But the dolphin trainers, who are there working side by side with them, look [the dolphins] in the eye every day,” O’Barry says. “They give them names. They spend time with them. They know they’re self-aware.”

Check the trailer and find out when the movie will be in your town.

Concentration is important!