If you haven’t seen the Oscar-winning 2009 documentary, The Cove by now, you should. Animal Planet recently premiered a new mini-series called “Blood Dolphins”, which follows Ric O’Barry’s efforts to protect dolphins around the world. This new mini-series, (much like the original documentary) is leading to worldwide pressure, outrage and protests around the killing of dolphins for food in places like Taiji, Japan.
I don’t get it. Why is everyone so outraged over this issue? Let’s think about it – people are probably upset and angry for the following 5 simple reasons, and here is why that thinking is flawed:
Because killing is cruel: Yes, it most definitely is, but think about how meat, seafood, chicken, milk & eggs reach billions of breakfast, lunch and dinner plates every day. All consumption of animal products involves cruelty & ultimately killing in most cases. Taking a life is cruelty in itself, no matter how humanely you treat a living being before slaughter. Why is the killing of dolphins any different and why are we so outraged??
Because we don’t need to kill dolphins: It’s true, we probably don’t “need” to kill dolphins, but do we “need’ to kill farm animals for their meat or make them suffer and exploit them throughout their lives for milk and eggs? Numerous studies have proven we can live long & healthy lives without the consumption of any animal products, so why do we “need” it? Why not be outraged over yogurt or bacon or steak? Because we like how they taste? Dolphins must taste good too, otherwise why would there be so much fuss? Dog meat tastes delicious – how do I know? Well, if it didn’t it wouldn’t be so damn popular is so many Asian countries. Not to mention, historically dogs have been used as emergency food sources in various European/western regions like Siberia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Germany and France. Why is eating dog such a taboo then? There’s too many of them anyway? Why not eat them? Why favor one over the other?
Because dolphins are endangered/wild animals: Dolphins can be domesticated if we wanted them to be. If we wanted to, we could breed them and use them much like we have done with cattle, pigs & chickens. Would that make the killing of dolphins OK, or would we still be outraged?
Because dolphins are very intelligent: This is true, but so are farm animals. Cattle, pigs, chickens and goats demonstrate problem-solving abilities, have personalities, social lives and communicate with one another using sounds and gestures. Does higher intelligence give someone more rights over another living being? Should I have the right to kill/torture a person with a case of dementia?
Because dolphins are cute: Are you serious? OK, so here are 3 reasons why that’s not a good enough reason either..
The bottom line is all sentient beings see, hear, taste, feel, smell and think. Each species just does so in different ways or levels of sophistication than others. Dolphins deserve our protection and we have every right to be morally outraged by the senseless killing of these beautiful creatures. However, we should also be equally outraged at the scale at which we exploit all animals for food, clothing, and accessories or for mere entertainment.
Think about it.