On Monday this week I was bombarded by my students coming into class and talking about the dolphin drive in Japan. The two questions that were asked the most were "Why?" and "How can we help?" Seventh graders are sophisticated enough to demand good answers to these questions.
The "why?" is a very good question. Japan wants you to believe they are some kind of tradition and therefore not something that should be changed. The truth is these hunts were very rare until 1969. There were only a few in the 1930's and 1940's. The main driving force behind these hunts is money. Some of the dolphins are sold into captivity for $150,000.00 or more. The rest are either slaughtered for meat or returned to the sea without a great portion of their pod. Some of the ones returned to the sea don't make it due to injuries or the loss of their mothers etc. There has also been some talk that the killing is continuing because the dolphins themselves are seen as pests, and competition for fish. In any case, the "why?" is very hard to understand. These are unique social creatures who recognize their own reflection in a mirror, and have complex interactions with each other. They may even have their own language. It reminds me of a quote in the book Divergent by Veronica Roth, "Human reason can excuse any evil." It appears the reasoning behind this evil is money, competition and so called tradition.
How You Can HelpThere are a number of things you can do to help the dolphins in Taiji, Japan. WAZA the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums could actually move to expel JAZA, Japan Association of Zoos the Aquariums because their members are violating their code of ethics. Drive hunting is a true violation of this code. To submit a letter to let WAZA know they need to clean up their act click here.
Boycott anything that showcases marine mammals and whale shows. This includes Sea World and other aquariums and dolphinariums. To take a pledge that you will never visit a dolphin or whale show click here.
Donate money to help the people on the frontlines in Japan here.
This helps monitor the cove and helps get translated copies of the documentary The Cove into the hands of the Japanese and other officials. Caroline Kennedy had a copy of this. Kind of makes you wonder how much it influenced her.
Educate anyone who will listen on the link between captivity and the slaughter in Taiji, Japan. The Cove and Blackfish are great documentaries to tell your friends about.
Sign the petition and letter to world leaders to end the killing in Japan here.
They have reached their goal of 500,000 signatures but are asking for more before sending.
Share, share, share! Tweet and share anything from this blog. Share this video as well.
Tweet the hashtag #tweetfordolphins. Get creative! Make a video for You Tube about your views. You could also share a video on Vine or Instagram. Follow facebook pages like The Dolphin Project to stay current on what is going on.
Telling my 7th graders what they can do is very empowering to them. I would say that it is very empowering to their teachers as well. I will do a follow up to this blog with more addresses and ideas as I find them. Thank you for helping.