The Cove – Review

This is the second documentary that I watched and decided to write a post about it. In my the other blog I wrote a post regarding extracted information from the documentary The Inconvenient Truth, the facts behind global warming. When I am trying to do the same to The Cove, I found difficulties in doing so because The Cove is more like a real life action movie of a group of activists risking their life to reveal the truth behind dolphin hunting in Taiji, Japan rather than a collection of facts. This documentary was awarded the Oscar Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010 as they brought attention of the world towards inhumane treatment towards dolphins especially the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.

Beautiful cove of Taiji.
(Image taken from Tiffany&Ink blog)


We often see the dolphin shows on TV where the dolphins leap out of the water gracefully and interact cheerfully with their trainers. This dolphin show trend was not popular until the release of Flipper TV Series in 1964 which was about story of a bottlenose dolphin named Flipper and Ricks family. Since then, dolphin captivity became more common and makes a lot of money from the audiences. However, people do not know the suffering of dolphins behind the show just like other animals in the circus. Ok this might not be the focus of the documentary but the dolphin slaughter which is covered up by the Japan government. Yes we slaughter cows, pigs, poultries, fish etc. for food but the secret slaughter of dolphins is just so unreasonable since their meat is not suitable to be consumed and they have high intelligence, even higher than dogs and cats (many people around the world are mad at dog meat trade in China). There is no big protest towards dolphin slaughter in Japan because people do not know about the blood spilled at the cove in Taiji.

Pristine sea stained red with blood.
(Image taken from Digital Journal website)


During the seasonal migration of dolphins passes by Japan in September, that is when the hunting season for dolphins begins. The hunters scare the dolphins to the shore by creating noise and trap them there until the next day when the dolphin trainers will come and select the ones they want. The rest of the dolphins will end up bleeding to death at the cove, out of everyone’s sight. The number of death can be up to 23 000 each year. It was a very risky and tough work of the team leading by Louie Psihoyos in uncovered what has been happening behind the beautiful cove of Taiji by using hidden cameras and hydrophones. My heart was in my mouth when they were carrying out the mission in the dark because if they were caught, they would be dead. The team also did surveys on the streets and found that hunting dolphins as the Japanese culture was just a lie to make things seem rightful. The consumers in Japan are even tricked to buy dolphin meat which is sold as high quality whale meat. If you watch the documentary you can see things done by the Japan government to hide away the ugly side of Taiji.

Dolphin meat? Whale meat?
(Image taken from National Geographic website)


I do not hate Japan because of things they have done in the past and the dolphin slaughter, but the lies they have told to the world make me feel disgusted towards the Japan government. Since animals are given to human as food, slaughtering of animals is normal but unnecessary killing is just a sin that is unforgivable (of course when people see the scenes in the normal slaughter house they will be disgusted as well). They kill because they can.

Here are some dolphins facts extracted from the documentary:

  • In the wild, dolphins can travel 40 miles per day.
  • Instead of sight, sonar system is dolphins’ main sense in ‘seeing’.
  • Due to their sensitivity towards sound, dolphins get stressed up when the surrounding is too noisy.
  • The language people used to communicate with dolphins is a version of American sign language.
  • Breathing is a voluntary movement for dolphins (unlike human, we breath automatically) which requires conscious effort.
  • Dolphins are self-aware, they can understand how to manipulate circumstances, how to interact with people and how to use their imagination in creating innovatively.
  • During the Greek era, harming a dolphin could lead to death sentence as dolphins were known to save humans’ lives.
  • Two animal rights activists, Jenny May and Jane Tipson got murdered because they tried to stop dolphin traffics.
  • Dolphin meat is heavily loaded with mercury (20 times higher than recommendation by World Health Organisation), a heavy metal which contributes to Minamata disease.


Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins. Bottlenose dolphin is the one common in dolphin shows.
(Image taken from Horizon International Solutions site)


Take your time and watch the movie. Brace yourself for some unpleasant feelings. For your information, the effort of old Ric to rescue the dolphins is still going on. You can check out this website to find out more.

P/S: This article is taken from my blog.

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