Ric O’Barry is best known for his role in popularizing the dolphin during his stint as Flipper’s trainer decades ago. He also is co-founder of the Oceanic Preservation Society. After the dolphin known as Flipper committed suicide in his arms, he began awakening to the tremendous cost of captivity for these intelligent, sensitive and very social animals. O’Barry then began his lifelong quest to free and protect dolphins whenever and wherever he could. He spent ten years building up the dolphin trade and has spent the last thirty-five years trying to tear it down.
Louis Psihoyos and Ric O’Barry Show Amazing Grit and Determination to Save Ocean Life
Dolphins are being mercilessly hunted in parts of the world for various reasons. They are used in entertainment venues, to attract tourists and for their flesh. Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd notes on film how dolphins have saved many human lives throughout recorded history. The founder of Surfers for Cetaceans retells a story wherein a dolphin pushed a tiger shark away from him, most likely thereby saving his life. Yet there is a real threat to the ocean activists, too. Ric O’Barry has been arrested numerous times for freeing dolphins, and two women have been allegedly murdered for their activist endeavors. This is a serious game.
The film is intense and chilling, with nightvision films of the crew sneaking into forbidden territory to record the slaughter that the Japanese carefully were hiding. With prices for a dolphin going as high as $150,000, the fishermen are not likely to be dissuaded from their deadly work. When offered equal compensation for leaving the dolphins alone, the men replied it is not about the money — the dolphins are “pests.” Why? They eat fish that the humans want to catch.
The Cove is a Dramatic and Moving Testimony to Human Nonhuman Relations, Pros and Cons
Minimata disease is the result of primarily pregnant women ingesting toxic levels of mercury which impact the development of the fetus. Children so afflicted are born with multiple serious birth defects. The maximum level of allowable mercury in Japan is 0.4 ppm; dolphin meat may contain as much as 2000 ppm, yet it has been sold in Japan and elsewhere under false labeling. Several heroes emerge during the film trying to expose the unsavory practices and protect the animals as well as Japan’s citizens.