‘The Cove’ – Saving the Dolphins

Tomorrow morning I am leading our staff devotions where I get to share something that means a lot to me. I had already prepared something before the weekend, but after watching a documentary last night I decided to base my devotion on that.

Here it is – – – –

My devotion is on something that will not make you happy. In actual fact you will probably leave here this morning furious, disappointed and so angry your blood will boil – this is a GOOD thing. This may be an uncomfortable devotion for you and very upsetting and you may not want to know cause it is too distressing, but I think everyone should know about it. We need to open our eyes to what is happening in our time – after all we are required, under God’s instruction, to be responsible.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

The word dominion means authorization, management, privilege, property, reign, rule, sovereignty, territory

In other words, we are responsible and held accountable by God in the way we rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens and the livestock and all things. Accountable to God.

I am not a greenie…I think, I am not a vegetarian and I don’t have a problem with those who are. God does allow us to benefit from the animals. Bible principles allow us to kill animals to provide food and clothing or to protect ourselves from harm. (Genesis 3:21; 9:3; Exodus 21:28) However, life is sacred to God. Our dominion over the animals must be exercised in a balanced way that shows respect for life. The Bible speaks negatively of a man named Nimrod, who apparently killed animals and perhaps humans for the sheer thrill of it.—Genesis 10 . Jesus spoke of God’s concern for animals in these words: “Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them goes forgotten before God.” (Luke 12:6) Obviously, God does not regard animals as just disposable items, to be thrown away at will.

When giving the Israelites laws, God taught them proper care of animals. He required them to return a stray animal to its owner and to help animals in distress. (Exodus 23:4, 5) Animals were to benefit from a Sabbath rest, just like humans. (Exodus 23:12) There were laws governing the proper treatment of farm animals. (Deuteronomy 22:10; 25:4) Obviously, animals were to be cared for and guarded, not exploited.
Proverbs 12:10 explicitly states God’s viewpoint: “The righteous one is caring for the soul of his domestic animal, but the mercies of the wicked ones are cruel.”

True, God’s original purpose was that man have “ dominion over the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) Cruelty to animals has no place in that purpose.

God created many intelligent and unique animals at the beginning of time, and one of those that have fascinated many are dolphins.  We have all heard the recounts of surfers being saved by dolphins during an impending shark attack.  There was one guy who said he was with a mate out surfing when his friends face went completely white. There was a Tiger shark targeting them as it came towards them – 2 metres off, a dolphin appeared and intersected the shark making the shark hit the side of the dolphin. The dolphin kept at it until the shark went away. There are so many accounts of these kinds of things happening in the surf.

People have said that when they have been sucked out in a rip, or in a boat wreck, dolphins have come to the rescue. There have also been many stories of dolphins healing many people who can’t walk and so on it goes.  Dolphins seem to understand….and trust humans.

Dolphins have super-sonic hearing which they use to communicate with one another. Their ears are 7 times more sensitive to sound than human ears. They are an extremely social animal that stick together at all times – a pod of dolphins. Using their sound, they know about our bones, organs or even if you are pregnant. They can actually see through us.  They are extremely sensitive to sound. It has been proven that dolphins can comprehend things and understand complex language patterns, which is incredible for any animal. They are classed as the most intelligent animal on the planet and they can live up to 50 years of age!

On Sunday night, Kirk and I watched a documentary called ‘The Cove’. Did anyone else watch it? It is about a team of people who undertook a secret mission to expose what is happening in Japan with dolphin slaughter.

the team.

This team are serious, with night vision goggles and video cameras hidden as fake rocks, and sound recording devices to go in the water to hear what the dolphins are saying. The team snuck into the cove at night in the pitch black and set up their gear ready to film the daily massacre of many, many wild dolphins. This mission was crucial in exposing the unknown killing of these animals.

Let me give you an overview of ‘The Cove’:

There is a little village in Japan called Taiji (map).  Just off the coast there is a passage that dolphins swim through 6 months of the year. The dolphins have been passing by Taiji for hundreds of years.

Starting from the 1st September (tomorrow), Japanese “fishermen” will get into boats and wait for the first lot of dolphins to pass through. 

The boats at Taiji, Japan.

The fishing boats have big steel rods off them that stick into the water, which they loudly bang using hammers.  The noise from this creates a frightening soundwall for the dolphins and they try to flee the area by swimming as fast they can into the cove, away from the boats, but into a trap.  Once the first hundred or so dolphins are in the cove they put up nets to trap them and then leave them there overnight. The next day, dolphin trainers from amusement parks, including Sea World in some countries and zoos come by and select which dolphins they would like to keep for themselves – the pretty ones usually.  The others are taken around the corner to a secluded and top-secret cove that is sheltered from public eye with barbwire and fences, where they drive steel rods into the dolphins bodies to kill them all.

The cove at Taiji, Japan after a day of killing dolphins.

It is not a quick killing, but a slashing. The water looks just like red paint…..it doesn’t even look watered down. They kill the entire lot, including the little babies.  In the documentary you can see the dolphins trying to jump out of the water onto the rocks while the others are being stabbed.  It is a mass of panic and you can see the fishermen laughing as the dolphins are bashing their tales and bodies against the boats trying to get away. The fishermen then scuba dive for the dolphins bodies and collect those that tried to escape.

Taiji, Japan

They hook the bodies up into the small boats and then sell the dolphin meat, usually labelled as whale meat. People do not realise what they are eating.  After this, they then get ready to do it all over again the next day.

dolphin meat

I am going to show you two videos. The first one was used to publicise what is happening in Taiji as hardly anyone knew until recently what was going on at the cove…even the townspeople. Of course, they have used celebrities to promote this one. There is one point in the footage where you see a baby dolphin that has been stabbed, fleeing around the hidden corner and out into the open, away from the massacre. Somehow it gets through the net and makes its way straight for a few people standing on the shore (the people on the shore can’t see what is happening to the other dolphins around the corner, but they do know as they are part of the team trying to save them. They are there scoping the place out and preparing to get  in to film it for the world to see. The people are surrounded by Japanese ‘buffers’ whose jobs are to move people away from the area and cause as much hassle as possible so they would leave). You can see this baby dolphin struggling to swim and then it lifts itself up struggling to get its last few breaths and then it just disappears never to resurface. This footage was taken from The Cove documentary.

The second video I am going to show you is all taken from the documentary. You can see for yourself what is happening. It is very, very, very difficult to watch, but I think it is important to stick it out and watch, and for us to feel the injustice and angry that God must also be feeling for his animals – the ones we humans are supposed to be accountable for. These documentaries are made so we can be informed of what is happening, and then do something about it. I for one do not want to be naive about the situation.

Video One

Video Two

So, after we have seen all that, what can we do?

If you can stomach it, I really recommend watching the whole documentary, The Cove.  It goes into all the logistics about the mercury poisoning, dolphins in captivity, the movie Flipper and more.  It is very insightful.

There is a website called Save Japan Dolphins where you can sign a petition or send a letter. It goes straight to President Obama, the Vice President and the Japanese Ambassador to the US.

You can also make a donation so this brave team of people can continue their work in getting dolphin killing banned, buy a T-Shirt to wear and heighten the knowledge of what is happening to the dolphins, buy other merchandise, and most importantly of all – PRAY. Pray that these fishermen will have their conscience take over and they will clearly see what they are doing. Pray that the people who are fighting very hard to have this banned will be successful. Pray that God will show you away to keep his command for us to be responsible for the animals He has given us.

Since the movie, the Solomon Islands have signed an agreement to stop killing dolphins which they have done traditionally in the past, and no dolphins were killed at all in the Solomon Islands last year. The Solomon Islands were after Japan for the amount of dolphins they killed each year.

Signing the agreement with the Solomon Islands.

People are not visiting Sea Worlds around the world and places that promote capture of dolphins. People are making sure the meat they eat is not hidden dolphin or whale meat.

 Here is a quote from the man who started the mission of the cove, Ric O’Barry – “Before The Cove came out, I was beating down the doors of media in Japan begging them to cover the story. After The Cove, they met me at the airport and followed us to almost every location. Our press conference was attended by over 100 media representatives, including every major broadcast outlet. We still have a lot of work to do, but the secret is now out!’

Getting the word out to the world.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Shara on August 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Treens, I still couldn’t watch, but have seen enough footage around the traps to know what’s going on….It just makes me so sick to know that people do this and think nothing of it (of course not just the dolphins, but any animal cruelty) and we talked about accountability at bible study this week, and I believe God will ask “You saw what was happening and what did you do??” It is very easy to feel overwhelmed with burden when viewing the plight of others, animal or human, and wonder how we can help everyone, but I think you summed it up with PRAYER….if you can’t afford to financially or physically help, no one will hold it against you, but EVERYONE can pray! Well done on another great post Treens and I’m sure you’re fellow staffers will be blessed and challenged by your devotional! xo


    • I agree Shara and thanks for the comment. I also think that the biggest difference in all this will come from prayer. Already the Taiji fishermen couldn’t round up the first lot of dolphins today as the seas were too wild. I know that the last time they trapped the dolphins they had to end it earlier than usual, which is also great. Because more people are aware there has been a lot of upset from the Japanese people as they didn’t know this was happening and are now ensuring they eat no dolphin.


  2. Posted by Jenna Brady on August 31, 2011 at 9:46 am

    This is a great devotion! It is a topic very close to my heart, and has been for a long time. I own a Christian book called Dominion – The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy (by Matthew Scully) – it’s very good and extremely worthwhile to read, as it really opened my eyes to the hideousness that is animal farming in our society. If you value logical reasoning and ethical conduct, then you will like this book. Thanks for speaking out about this, Katrina! More Christians need to put forth this message.


    • Thanks for your comment Jenna – I am going to find that book! I think it is so important to be educated about all of this kind of thing. The whole problem in the first place is people not knowing what is happening. Hope you are well xx


      • Posted by Jenna Brady on September 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

        No worries – I just had a look on Amazon and they have heaps of copies, as well as an ebook edition for $8.99. Which would be good if you managed to get that iPad you wanted 😉

        Otherwise, I’ll lend you my copy if you like. I’m very well thanks, and I hope you are well, too! 🙂


  3. Posted by Mum on August 31, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Well done Treens for doing your part in sending out this distressing but very important message!


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s