By Ric O’Barry
Today is a very sad day for Japan, and I join them from my travels to Hong Kong in sharing the pain of the terrible devastation from the earthquake and tsunami that hit that country on March 11, 2011.
Even amid all that human pain and death, there were some heart-felt stories of survival. One even included a poor dolphin stranded by the waves in a rice paddy — the dolphin was rescued and returned to the sea by a citizen, a pet store owner helping animals in the devastated area:
As I’ve said time and time again, our Campaign is not against Japan. There are only around 50 people in Taiji, for example, who are involved in hunting dolphins. The vast majority of people in Japan do not even know that dolphin hunts are going on their own country. The many Japanese we have talked to on the streets in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and other cities, and even Japanese people in Taiji itself, are shocked when they see The Cove DVD and hear about the killing of dolphins for food. They are as shocked as all the rest of the world has been. This is a major reason why Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project does not support a boycott of Japan – it is unfair and misses the real parties that are responsible for the hunt.
Our Campaign in Japan is working WITH the Japanese people to end the dolphin hunts. The government Fisheries Agency is dead set on killing whales, and they are backed by the politically powerful fishing industry, fishermen’s unions, and even extreme nationalist groups and the Japanese mafia.
But the people of Japan are now buying less and less dolphin and whale meat. Our message about mercury contamination of dolphin meat is drying up the market for this poisoned meat. The Japanese people are more careful about what they eat than we are.
If you’ll recall, we almost lost our own volunteer Cove Monitor Brian Barnes, who was in the northern port town of Otsuchi when the quake hit, and he decided he should get to higher ground. He filmed the tsunami sweeping in that obliterated Otsuchi and the devastation that was left in the wake of the huge waves. For more on Brian’s story:
Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, our staff, volunteers and I extend our condolences to the people of Japan. We join in their sad remembrance of the people and the towns that were devastated, and we hope reconstruction will build a better world for those who suffered.