Chapter 20: Pillage, Prostitution, Murder

I was among them but not of them.


When I look at the photographs of July 4th World Day for Captive Dolphins, I am pleased, I would write proud but I have always felt awkward with that word. Although the 4th, which I later expanded into a July 1st - 7th week, never grew big enough to shake the dolphinaria industry on a worldwide scale, a day I hoped they would learn to dread, it was and still is a creative idea. In the 2000s, I got inspiration from Ric O'Barrys Japan Dolphin Day and created, June 30th World Whale and Dolphin Day. Ric wrote in an email to me, " that he had his detractors" but he also had a lot of supporters too, judging how well supported his day was. Certainly he could create a lot of press coverage because he had trained the dolphins for the television Flipper series in the 1960s for which he latter bitterly regretted his involvement. I thought a World Day for whales and dolphins could incorporate other issues that campaigners would raise their voices in support. I forgot though, I am only Alan Cooper, not Ric O'Barry, by that I mean there are some within campaigning that judges not the value of the idea but who is behind it and their " fame". That is a great shame and so once again I only received a limited amount of support. I thought with the Internet, days like these would be easy to "sell" but all I found with the 'net was that it wasn't this revolution of information and mobilisation of ideas, but more akin to the much older technology of a pin cushion, full of pricks.


June 30th 2008 will be like most other days for whales and dolphins and marine life generally. The seas well be pillaged for the bounty of fish life by ships equipped with all types of nets, mesh size and length. The nets differ in dimensions to catch their primary target of fish. Worldwide thousands of tons of fish will be caught on June 30th to be sold in fish markets and eventually end up in some way or other on a consumer's plate. In the industrialised fishing process other unwanted fish caught in net will be discarded along with dolphins and whales, sharks, turtles and anything else unlucky enough to be swimming in the vicinity of the 'nets of death'. These unlucky individuals are called 'discards' or 'incidental by-catch'.


Like the great leviathan, living in relative harmony with Planet ocean, the dolphins,'angels' of the seas, June 30th may be like no other. Somewhere in the world a pod of dolphins will be swimming, perhaps it will be in the waters of Ukraine, Cuba or Japan, the traditional hunting grounds for capturing dolphins for sale into the slavery of captivity, and now the Solomon Isles have joined this growing select band. As the demand for swimming and therapies with dolphins for international tourists has grown, so have the capture operations. The dolphins will be spotted and chased down by men in boats, they will be encircled with a net and gradually become exhausted, they will be forced into shallower waters, into a holding area where the future slaves can be inspected and selected. The men will be looking for youngish specimens, unmarked, so they already fit the ideal caricature of 'flipper' in captivity that has been brain-washed into the punters of dolphin shows. Those that are unwanted and have not died or been injured by the chase may be released unless in Japanese waters where they will be killed and processed into meat.


On June 30th a graceful giant of the sea, leviathan or whale will be swimming peacefully in the North Atlantic, co-existing with Planet Ocean as it and its ancestors have done for millions of years, long before man rose to prominence to cast its violent shadow on other life. June 30th will be like no other day for one leviathan, for lurking or in deathly pursuit will be an Icelandic or Norwegian whaling ship. Mounted on the bow of the ship the penthracite grenade will be fired and explode into the whale. What must it be like for the whale to die if it is lucky in a few minutes or if not for much longer? What does it say about our human 'civilisation' that in 2008 we allow another mammal to be killed in such a barbaric way? And for what? Meat and blubber to sold to a foreign Japanese market or kept in cold storage because nobody wants to buy it because the contaminants in the meat and blubber make it too toxic to human health to eat because we have polluted the seas with our effluence from industry. Elsewhere in the North Atlantic June 30th may be like no other day for a pod of pilot whales if they are unlucky enough to be swimming close to the Faroe Isles and are spotted. In that case they will be herded and driven into shallow water by boats and beached and finally killed by a knife cut behind the blow hole and for what? A cruel machismo tradition that dates back to the 16th century but has no place in the 21st.