Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Cove (Annual Killing of Dolphins in Japan)

The Cove

The Cove is a 2009 American documentary film that describes the annual killing of dolphins in a National Park at Taiji, Wakayama, in Japan from an anti–dolphin-hunting campaigner's point of view. The film highlights the fact that the number of dolphins killed in the Taiji dolphin hunting drive is several times greater than the number of whales killed in the Antarctic, and reports that 23,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed in Japan every year in the country's whaling industry. The migrating dolphins are herded into a hidden cove where they are netted and killed by means of spears and knives over the side of small fishing boats.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan's most recent progress report 1,569 cetaceans in Taiji were killed during the 2007 season, including methods other than drive hunting. The Ministry claims that only 1,239 cetaceans were killed by drive hunting, and that a total of 13,080 cetaceans were killed throughout Japan in 2007.

The film was directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos. Portions were filmed secretly during 2007 using underwater microphones and high-definition cameras disguised as rocks.

The documentary won the U.S. Audience Award at the 25th annual Sundance Film Festival in January 2009. It was selected out of the 879 submissions in the category. On March 7, 2010, The Cove won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 82nd Academy Awards.

Allegation of Inaccuracy

Certain individuals have accused the film of fabricating evidence to support the stance of the filmmakers. The assistant chief of the whaling division at Japan´s Fisheries Agency Hideki Moronuki is portrayed as having been fired in the movie. However Moronuki was not fired, and is still working for Japan´s Fisheries Agency.

Mercury Concerns
Since 2000, Japanese researchers, such as Tetsuya Endo, a professor at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, have found high concentrations of mercury, which can cause mercury poisoning, in the whale and dolphin meat sold around Japan. In their studies, Taiji residents who eat whale/dolphin meat had high levels of mercury in their hair. Whale meat contaminated with mercury is commonly eaten in the town, and residents have been found to have 10 times the level of mercury in their hair when compared to average Japanese citizens. In June 2008, AERA, a Japanese weekly journal, reported that the whale and dolphin meat sold in Taiji contained a level of mercury 160 times higher than normal, and that the hair of a local sample of eight men and women had 40 times higher mercury levels, based on a research conducted by the National Institute for Minamata Disease (NIMD). The NIMD published the full data of the research online a few days later, and explained it in detail to avoid misrepresentation of the research results. It has pointed out that the amount of methyl mercury, which causes neurological damage, was not exceedingly high, and the mercury in hair showed rapid decrease since tests carried out by other institutions a few months later on the same people. NIMD further offered to help monitor the health of Taiji residents. The NIMD has checked more than 1,000 Taiji residents since last year, and no sign of Minamata disease (mercury poisoning) has been reported.

Two Taiji councilmen, whose interview published in the Japan Times in 2007, appeared in The Cove to point out the danger of having dolphin meat in the school lunch program due to the risk of mercury poisoning, which is particularly harmful to children and pregnant women. 150 kg of dolphin meat was donated by the local fishers and served in schools in October 2006. The local, tainted dolphin meat was not served in schools before, or after. However, the councilmen continue to support the hunting of dolphins, and one of them said "it is annoying to be used in such a movie which intends to stop the hunting", adding "I think we [were] abused."
In 2010, hair samples from 1,137 Taiji residents were tested for mercury by the National Institute for Minimata Disease. The average amount of methyl mercury found in the hair samples was 11.0 parts per million for men and 6.63 ppm for women, compared with an average of 2.47 ppm for men and 1.64 ppm for women in tests conducted in 14 other locations in Japan. One hundred eighty-two Taiji residents showing extremely high mercury levels underwent further medical testing to check for symptoms of mercury poisoning. None of the Taiji residents, however, displayed any of the traditional symptoms of mercury poisoning, according to the Institute. Japan's National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, however, reports that the mortality rate for Taiji and nearby Koazagawa, where dolphin meat is also consumed, is over 50% higher than the rate for similarly-sized villages throughout Japan.

Definition "Cove":

  1. A small sheltered bay in the shoreline of a sea, river, or lake.
    1. A recess or small valley in the side of a mountain.
    2. A cave or cavern.
  2. A narrow gap or pass between hills or woods.
  3. Architecture.
    1. A concave molding.
    2. A concave surface forming a junction between a ceiling and a wall. Also called coving.
The Cove
Also you can watch it at: Novamov

No comments: