I watched the Oscar winning documentary ‘The Cove‘ last night and it had a profound affect on me. In a way this post has nothing to do with photography but it has to do with the effect of photography in bringing a subject to the attention of a wider audience.
Simply telling the story of how dolphins are driven into a small cove by Japanese fishermen in the village of Taiji and then brutely slaughtered using spears, is bad enough but seeing the pictures brings home the true horror. Reading about the slaughter or hearing an account on the radio would be harrowing enough but the visual impact of scenes of the cove turned blood red as the dolphins were killed in the most inhumane way possible, says more than words ever could.
The Japanese fishermen involved are only too aware of what they are doing and what the world would think, if the pictures ever got out. The lengths they were prepared to go to, to prevent pictures being taken, were extreme to say the least. It took a group of very brave and very committed people, prepared to risk their lives to get footage of the slaughter and bring it to the attention of the world.
There was more than just a hint of organised crime, political corruption and misplaced national pride as the dolphins were either killed for their meat (who eats dolphin meat?) or spared an agonising death only to be sold to aquatic parks and zoos for huge sums of money, to be kept in captivity and perform for people who have no idea of the stress the animals live in.
So complete is the cover up that the majority of the Japanese people are unaware of the barbaric slaughter and they are just as horrified as the rest of the world. The truth could only be told in pictures and it is the pictures captured by the activists that is helping to expose the truth about Taiji. Visit the website for more details, sign the petition and spread the word.