Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

The Cove Redecorated: "Living Together With Dolphins"

Taiji, the site of horrific dolphin slaughter, plans to open a marine park.

The Japanese town of Taiji, known for the inhumane, reprehensible, and bloody annual slaughter of dolphins that was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove", plans to open a marine mammal park. According to the mayor of Taiji, Kazutaka Sagen, "We want to send out the message that the town is living together with whales." People will be able to swim and kayak along side the dolphins in the cove, redecorated and disguised as a wildlife park, and where the mass killings will nonetheless continue. 

Thousands of bottlenose dolphins have been captured in nets in the cove and bludgeoned to death. In 2011, 928 were caught. Some were sent to aquariums while others are wantonly and mercilessly stabbed to death leaving the water in the cove by Taiji deep red from blood. (The photo here is from and more information about the bloodbath can be gotten here.) It's a sickening sight, as is the laughter of the people doing the killing as if it's just fine to slaughter these highly sentient beings. 

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Wide-ranging international pressure to end the brutal slaughter of dolphins in the cove has had little effect and my hope that the new marine mammal park would end the bloodbath was put to rest when I also read, "A town official, who declined to be named, told AFP by telephone that the town 'is no way going to stop' its annual dolphin hunt, adding local residents see no contradiction in both watching and eating dolphins." So, is this really "living together with dolphins"? Mayor Sagen seems to think so. I'm glad he doesn't want to live together with me. 

This is one of those situations where it is essential to keep the pressure on to stop the slaughter of the dolphins and also to stop the plans for the marine park. You can easily do so here. You can also take action at the website of the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) and watch "The Cove" here. Please do so. 

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

more...

Subscribe to Animal Emotions

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?