Film depicting dolphin slaughter sparks couple's journey to Japan
December 23rd, 2010
07:59 PM ET

Film depicting dolphin slaughter sparks couple's journey to Japan

Like many Americans, Tim and Carrie Burns were horrified by scenes of dolphins being killed in "The Cove," an Oscar-winning documentary that depicts the annual dolphin slaughter in the village of Taiji, Japan.

And now, the Florida couple is channeling that outrage into efforts to end the killings.

The two are heading to Japan on Monday to meet activist Ric O'Barry, the voice behind "The Cove" and founder of "Save Japan Dolphins," a campaign devoted to ending the Japanese fishery slaughter of dolphins. The group also focuses on halting the capture and trade of dolphins to zoos and aquariums around the world.

The couple plans to help O'Barry and a team of volunteers document dolphin hunting at the cove in an effort to raise awareness and deter the hunts.

The film depicted fishermen herding the dolphins to cull the most appealing for sale to zoos and aquariums. The rest are slaughtered. O'Barry also claims that dolphin meat, which is high in mercury, is mislabeled as whale meat and sold in Japan.

Not surprisingly, the film also drew criticism for its depiction of Japanese fisherman, which many in Japan considered an attack on their culture and traditions.

The killing of dolphins continues in Taiji and throughout Japan, where more than 20,000 dolphins each year are slaughtered, according to O'Barry.

This is the couple's second trip to Japan to meet O'Barry, an award-winning marine-mammal specialist and former Miami Seaquarium dolphin trainer.

They arrived at the beginning of hunting season in September as part of a group that presented a petition to ban dolphin hunting to the Japanese ambassador with more than 1 million signatures. After visiting the cove and witnessing the slaughter, they said they came home emboldened to make a difference.

Joining them on this next trip is Tim Burns' boss, Jim Powers, founder and CEO of Ribbon Naturals, which makes vitamins and nutritional supplements.

Powers has already pledged to donate 100% of the company's online sales through January to "Save Japan Dolphins."

"When Tim arrived home, he explained the urgency of the situation. I had no choice but to call a companywide meeting and see what Ribbon Naturals as a company could do to help," Powers said.

“I knew we had to make a difference and save the dolphins."

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Filed under: Animals • Japan
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. cristal villareal

    thanks so much tim,carrie and jim powers of ribbon naturals.
    Thank you for caring and for standing up for what you and many others believe in. Thank you for joining the efforts to stop this needless, senseless killing of dolphins.

    December 26, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Davz

    I completely agree that dolphins are not made for eating because of the high mercury levels. That's why this case is different to cows, pigs and other animals. It's not like you can buy organic dolphin, so why kill them for eating?! It's unnecessary & disgusting.

    While it's great this vitamin company is really helping you can always just donate straight to the cause rather than buying their vitamins to do so! Unless you need vitamins:)

    December 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    To those of you who are comparing Dolphins with Cows, Pigs, Lambs, Chickens....Stop. Its a dead-end debate.
    Dolphins (like Whales) cannot be farmed.
    Killing Dolphins is stupid because they are a 'non renewable resource'.

    December 29, 2010 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Jaycee

      dolphins dont procreate?

      January 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jaycee

    People should be more outraged that it is being sold as whale meat and its high mercury content is poisioning people and causing birth defects. Who cares if it is cute; Guniea pig is a delicacy in Central America. Thats just their taste. Humans have eaten meat for millions of years and will eat meat for millions more.

    January 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brenda

    As of 4:00am EST October 12, 2012- this was posted on Facebook

    Melissa is unable to communicate at this time. All computers, phones, etc. have been seized by the police in Taiji. Hotel was searched tonight. She will update here when possible. (Scott and Suzanne West, posting for Mel)

    October 12, 2012 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
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