It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I was rolling in the bed vetoing a 1 hour long debate about getting up or not. Suddenly I heard a knock on the door. I ignored it to be a dream as no one ever knocks my door but the knocking was persistent. I sauntered towards the door and opened it with my eyes and brain refusing to embrace the sad truth that I had actually woken up. And then I saw a man who looked faintly familiar but scary enough to give me the impression that he just walked out of a grave. His hair was long and shabby, his beard must at least be 6 months old and his fashion quotient would evoke the envy of a beggar. Lo behold! It was Professor Eisenkleiftovich. I jumped in joy as I was seeing him after I don’t know how long: eternity probably.
Me: What on earth happened to you Professor? You look terrible. Where were you all this while?
Prof: I was in Taiji and I nearly got myself killed.
Me: Taiji. That’s in
right. What were you doing
Prof: Yes. I was watching dolphins there.
Me: Why would anyone kill you for watching dolphins?
Prof: I was watching them die.
A shock wave went through me as I floundered for words. His eyes were unperturbed.
Prof: Tell me this. When you sit in that Sea World gallery and see a dolphin splitting the waters and soaring into the sky as it throws in a couple of somersaults on its way back, what do you feel? What goes through your mind when it comes near you and looks in your eye, beams at you and rubs its nose against yours?
Me: I feel elated and out of the world. I can see its happiness and love for us and the deep connect it shares with humans. Most of all, I am awed by its intelligence.
Prof: Well, I would certainly agree to your last statement. But you know what; a dolphin’s smile is nature’s greatest deception.
Me: Why do you say that? What is the problem with its smile?
Prof: That’s my point. When a dolphin is jumping and smiling, it is hard to see the problem. Dolphins are acoustic creatures and sound is their primary sense. The most advanced sonar ever build by humans is no match to the dolphin. It can scan and tell if one is pregnant in a minute. Such is its sensitivity to sound. Now you capture it and thrust it into a concrete tank and then you add a gallery full of screaming people to the agony. That dolphin that swims to you with a sweet smile and jumps to your whim and fancy is enduring extreme levels of stress at that very moment and eventually the stress kills it.
Me: I never knew that there is so much desperation behind that innocent smile. I hate you Professor. I will never be able to go to Sea World again. But you didn’t tell why you went to Taiji?
Prof: Taiji is a small town with a big secret. It is the largest supplier of dolphins to marine parks across the world. And do you know how they catch them?
Me: I guess I don’t want to know. But you will tell me anyways, right. So go ahead.
Prof: The fishermen wait in their boats along the migratory routes of dolphins, immerse long poles with a flange on the bottom and bang on the poles with hammers essentially creating a wall of sound to terrify the dolphins. They swim for their lives to the shores of Taiji and they reach the lagoons, shocked, stressed and freaked out, where they are sealed off into captivity. The next day dolphin trainers from around the world line up to select their Bottlenose Bobs. Each dolphin sells up to $150,000. Now that’s a lot of money!
Me: That is so atrocious. No wonder it is a multi billion dollar industry now. How heartless have we become?
Prof: Wait a minute. You haven’t even heard what happens to the dolphins that are not selected by the trainers?
I was almost about to shut my ears off as I could sense what was coming.
Prof: They are slaughtered; not killed; slaughtered and sold for their meat. They are taken around to a remote glistening cove where no one has access to and the fishermen kill them with their spears mercilessly. Well, you may ask me, what’s the big deal? We kill all sorts of animals for food. So why this hoopla about the dolphin? I am not saying man should not be carnivorous. Many animals are, and it is their choice. But show me people in this world who want to eat dolphin meat, can you?
Me: They don’t? Then why this heinous killing? I don’t understand.
Prof: Well, there are very few people in the world who eat dolphin meat by choice. The fishermen though, label it is as expensive whale meat or in some other form of disguise. If they label it as dolphin meat, they won’t find any takers. And the reason for that is dolphin meat is heavily laced with mercury which is highly toxic and lethal to our health.
Me: So just for a few extra bucks, these fishermen are not just killing the poor animal but also endangering a human’s life. Why can’t they just leave them alone!
Prof: You see man is the weirdest paradox that has ever walked the earth. We all have this desire to watch them, swim with them, hug them, kiss them, hold them and love them to death. And this endless desire is the ticket to their death and misery. Some people love and kill them while others love to kill them. You told me that you are awed by its intelligence. But don’t we always associate intelligence with humans and some aliens living in some far off wonderland we will never get to. Now, when you understand this non human intelligence of the dolphins, you will realize that they don’t really belong in captivity.
God had created a perfect universe: until he made man. And from that day on, God has never looked into the mirror.
P.S: About 23,000 dolphins are being killed in
year. To learn more visit http://www.takepart.com/cove.
And to witness the poor plight of the dolphins and the nefarious crime that
goes on unnoticed, watch this documentary: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/cove/ Japan