“The Cove” and its Hypocrisy

I just watched the documentary “The Cove” last night. For those of you who don’t know about it, it’s a film about a group of people who try to stop the killing of dolphins in Japan. For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1313104/.

As a vegetarian Hindu, I’m all about saving dolphins from inhumane treatment and murder. But even then, this video just kept feeling weird to me. These men were making a cover operation (and sometimes it seemed the covert part of the job was what was making this exciting for them) to travel to Japan to save innocent dolphins; they challenged local authorities; they feel the local fishermen are evil; they crash conferences with videos and audio recordings and they really succeed at making it seem as if these Japanese fishermen are really the worst people in the world. And then there’s a line, which is meant to be something that really highlights how these Japanese are so misguided, that mentions how the Japanese are silly for claiming this is just a cultural misunderstanding. “You eat cows, we eat dolphins,” those silly Japanese claim.

But…that line caught something that I was thinking for the first half of the film already. These men and a one woman diver were going crying out about being humane; they bemoaned the evil treatment of separated baby dolphins from their parents as the parents went to slaughter; they cried as the waters turned red from dolphin blood; they held each other watching a dolphin writhe and jump in pain as it made final attempts at escape. And I wondered, have you been to a slaughter house? Why are you so surprised that you are not waking head-way through these Japanese people when you really have no moral high ground to stand on? These men catch wild dolphins – at least those dolphins had a chance of not being caught; in the U.S. and elsewhere millions upon millions of cows are bred in cattle FARMS!!! just for your consumption! They don’t even have a chance of have a free or natural existence. They probably a kill a few thousand dolphins every year; for you burgers and fries or the steaks you eat at fancy restaurants ask for the killing of millions of cattle. You’re surprised that the Japanese don’t listen that these fishermen can be so cruel; let me ask you. Have you heard of PETA’s campaign about the cruel treatment of cattle in America? Have you seen there videos? They make videos like yours every year – they may not be sexy covert ops but still. And after knowing about it for all these years and after watching those videos, did you change your lifestyle? Are you vegetarian or have you at least given up beef? So hard to change your own lifestyles, so easy to demand others to change – isn’t it? I agree that those dolphins should be saved. I gawk at the shock and sudden wave of humanity that is shown in the video when I know they probably had some Kobe beef during they stay in Japan.

People in the United States who eat meat should have to see the factories that produce their food. They should be forced to visit there before they purchase. Of course, chances are they’d get used it and then continue eating because at the end of the day changing social norms is not a simple thing and not a thing anybody likes to do. People will more likely look away then have to address the facts. It’s the very basic, maybe intrinsic, opposition to lifestyle-change that is freezing our society on two of our major issues – Global Climate Change (Global Warming) and our Economy.


One Response to “The Cove” and its Hypocrisy

  1. Sarah says:

    So I stumbled across this blog post randomly after searching the internet for negative reviews of “The Cove” (of which I found very little). I watched this documentary about three years ago and was appalled after finishing it, and not for the same reasons as everyone else. I was appalled because I was stunned by the self-righteousness and hypocrisy of not only the people that made the film but by the many people that watched and were shocked by it. I was actually so upset by it that I wrote a letter to Oprah because she had discussed it on her show. I urged her to show both perspectives of the issue but I never got a response (not surprisingly). Anyway, I made the point that different cultures have different practices, and it is unfair to criticize one when you are not free from blame yourself. I pointed out that, like you said, we have slaughterhouses in the US that I’ve heard do the same or worse to animals we consume everyday. But Americans don’t care enough or want to ignore what goes on because they like eating meat too much and don’t want to give it up. Whatever, if that’s how you want to live your life that’s fine (I am also vegetarian for the record but I respect others’ decision to eat meat). What makes me angry, however, is choosing to eat meat that comes from these horrible factory farms and then point the finger at others (whose culture they most likely don’t understand at all) and feel like we are doing something good. Those cameramen and filmmakers just screamed ignorant to me and I just couldn’t believe that not many other people saw through the bullshit.

    I also made my point (to deaf ears) in the letter that other cultures value animals differently. I may be wrong about this but some Hindus do not eat cows for this reason (you said you were Hindu so I don’t want to make claims based off of something I am not entirely familiar with). Anyway, I thought about how Americans would react if a group of Hindu filmmakers came to the US and decided to “out” the farming practices we have in the US. I can almost guarantee that there would be outrage and people saying that it wouldn’t be a fair comparison because we don’t see cows that way and blah blah blah. But wouldn’t it be the same thing? I think so because some cultures see the cow unlike we do and may be appalled at our treatment of them. One of the reasons Americans get so upset about this film is because we see dolphins as “Flippers” and more similar to humans than cows but that’s just because our culture has taught us to think that way (I’ve actually read stories about the savagery of dolphins, but that’s another story). Also, no one outside the movie ever points out the fact that dolphins are still captured for aquariums and places like Sea World, but I guess it’s ok to do that. Anyway, it doesn’t matter how intelligent or sensitive an animal is, slaughter is slaughter and torture is torture. Everyone always tries to defend themselves with this argument but I don’t buy it.

    I for one don’t agree with the slaughter of dolphins. I don’t eat meat but I still don’t feel like I’m in a place to criticize. I’m not vegan and I still consume products that probably resulted from the maltreatment of animals. I may not agree with it but I’m not going to pretend like I am any better than the Japanese for eating dolphins, I just wish other people could see it that way. The only message that I got from this document was how ignorant Americans can be and how ridiculous we must seem to the rest of the world.

    Anyway, I know you posted this a while ago but I’m just glad to see that there are some people who saw the hypocrisy of this documentary and I to let you know that thought it was a well-written piece.

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