Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dolphins Aren't Fish. They're People.

Japanese "fishermen" load dead bottlenose dolphins into a boat at Taiji Cove.  Yes, they murdered the dolphins, and yes, the water in the cove is red with the blood of dead and dying dolphins. 

Sometimes I get tired of respecting the time-honored traditions of other groups of people.

Now is one of those times.  I was reading the news this morning, as I generally do, bio-bots and suicide attacks and Google inventing weird science-fiction gadgets that are bringing the future along way too fast for my tastes.

And once again, the Japanese are up to something they shouldn't be.  What is wrong with these people?

After the Rape of Nangking and the Bataan Death March, not to mention the countless other atrocities and unsolicited crimes against humanity they committed during World War II, a person could be forgiven for thinking there's some kind of blood thirst embedded in the Japanese psyche.

They're not exactly working hard to break down any stereotypes.  According to CNN, as of this weekend, they're doing the whole Taiji Cove thing again.

They've rounded up 250 bottlenose dolphins in The Cove, and they're currently separating out maybe 20% of them for a lifetime of captivity.  Later today or tomorrow, they're going to kill the rest of them, butcher them, and sell them as meat.


Okay, pretty much the whole world condemns this practice.  And the Japanese government continues to justify it.  Here's a statement from them: 

"The Taiji dolphin fishery has been a target of repeated psychological harassment and interference by aggressive foreign animal protection organizations.  Taiji dolphin fishermen are just conducting a legal fishing activity in their traditional way in full accordance with regulations and rules under the supervision of both the national and the prefectural governments."

There are so many problems with this statement I don't know where to begin.  Start with the word "traditional."  It's horseshit.  These "fishermen" aren't exactly Maasai warriors.  They don't live in traditional ways.  They're modern Japanese in motor boats and wielding chainsaws.

The word "tradition" doesn't give you a free pass.       

Of course, the most embarrassing problem with the Japanese statement is the obvious fact that dolphins aren't fish.  Fish are prehistoric creatures with limited intelligence, and driven mainly by instinct.  And even fish are sentient beings, and have their own sort of awareness and intelligence, and beauty.

But dolphins are people.  They're highly-evolved, with vast intelligence, and abilities we're only beginning to understand.

Bottlenose dolphins, in particular, have a larger brain mass than humans.  Each individual has a signature whistle, which they use to identify themselves.  When they make that whistle, it's like they're saying, "Hi, it's me.  It's Ted."

They have self-awareness, just like apes and elephants.  They have complex social structures.  They use tools.  They demonstrate creativity.  They like to play and have fun.  Bottlenose dolphins, just like people, like to go surfing.   

This isn't me saying this.  All of these assertions have been proven by marine research.  So when the Japanese justify their dolphin slaughter by using the word "fish," they're standing on very shaky ground. 

It's about time to put a stop to this idiotic practice.  In the scheme of things, this is low-hanging fruit.  There are so many intractable problems in the world that would cost billions of dollars to solve, and it might not even work.  

This isn't one of those problems.  If the Japanese government could get their heads on straight, you could end this with 100 cops and maybe six or eight Coast Guard boats.  A small handful of so-called "fishermen" would get pissed off, and probably wind up in jail for a few days.  

Do that maybe five or ten times, pay these guys some kind of small subsidy to drop it, and it'd pretty much be over.

Here's some footage of dolphins surfing in South Africa, as well as riding the bow of a motorboat, just for kicks.

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