Friday, January 05, 2007


"What makes you so angry about this story?

That the Japanese people don't know that the largest slaughter of cetaceans in the world -- 36,000 a year -- is taking place in their own waters, at Taiji, Iwate and Futo; and they don't know that the Japanese people are hated around the world for this. The Japanese media is to blame for this blackout. That's a story in itself. It's very hard to get information on how many they capture in Taiji, but it is probably about 3,000 dolphins.

Tell me about why you switched sides in 1970.

I captured about 100 dolphins myself, back in the 1960s, including the five that played Flipper. I was the highest-paid animal trainer in the world. If I wanted I could set up one of these dolphin training programs and make 3-4 million dollars a year. I changed when Flipper died in my arms from suicide. I use that word with some trepidation but I don't know another word that describes self-induced asphyxiation. Dolphins and other whales are not automatic breathers. Every breath that they take is a conscious effort, which is why they don't sleep. If life becomes miserable, they just don't take the next breath. Flipper looked me in the eye and stopped breathing.

In those days I was as ignorant as I could be. Now I am against captivity. It has no socially redeeming feature. It is not educational. How come I can't find one person among the millions who have visited the 50 dolphin facilities in Japan who is against this industry? I organize a worldwide protest outside consulates every year and the only city where I can't get a protest going is Tokyo. So what is the value of having dolphins on display if it doesn't sensitize people? It is just casual amusement. It is a form of bad education that serves to perpetuate our utilitarian relationship with nature."

Excerpted from The Samurai Dolphin Man and the Japan Connection
By David McNeill
[That link takes ridiculously long to open - at least on my computer - if same is true for yours, try this much faster link]

via Christine Marran, w/ thanks to Jeff Bryant


Anna said...

I followed your links right through to O'Barry's website and left a little practical encouragement there. I'm glad that you wrote this. An horrific business and a fine man doing good work.

A splendid phrase that - 'our utilitarian relationship with nature'.

Trace said...

It seems with all the hard work of a faithful few, some changes are in order. I hope this will be the case.

Robert Brady said...

Yes, step by step, every little bit...