Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Animal rights activist Richard O'Barry faces Japanese dolphin hunters

Animal rights activist Richard O'Barry confronts Japanese dolphin hunters at a seaport in Taiji, Japan.

TAIJI, JAPAN (SEPTEMBER 2, 2009) YTV - Animal rights activist Richard O'Barry faced Japanese dolphin hunters at a seaport in Japan on Wednesday (September 2), but was quickly shooed away by angry locals.
According to Japanese television station YTV, O'Barry, a former dolphin trainer who trained "Flipper" from the 1960s television series of the same name, was visiting the fishing town to film a new documentary for the Discovery Channel - just in time for the dolphin hunting season that begin in September each year.

For nearly 40 years since a traumatic experience on "Flipper" in which his favorite dolphin died, O'Barry has worked to free these marine mammals and publicise their plight.

Teaming up with conservation organisations, the Earth Island Institute and the Oceanic Preservation Society, he zeroed in on Japan's small coastal town of Taiji, where fishermen ensnare a majority of the dolphins displayed in marine parks to create a documentary called "The Cove."

Following its release in the U.S. this summer, "The Cove" has already been praised by critics and won the audience award at this year's Sundance Film Festival. "Eco-activist documentaries don't get much more compelling than 'The Cove'," said Variety's review.

Beyond objections to the Taiji fishermen's hunting practices, which force the animals into nets, O'Barry suspects the town is concealing unsavory secrets related to the exploitation of dolphins passed over for capture.

With Louie Psihoyos, a veteran National Geographic photographer, scuba diver and first-time filmmaker, O'Barry assembled a crack team of marine specialists, high-tech experts and experienced divers to investigate the fate of dolphins herded into a cove adjacent to the Taiji capture site.

They battle Japanese police and fisherman to gain access to the cove where barbed wire blocks people from filming dolphin killings.

The film also showed hit U.S. TV series "Heroes" star Hayden Panettiere protesting in Taiji.

O'Barry, who has been visiting Taiji several times a year for the past eight years and now wears disguises in the town to avoid the attention of fisherman and the police, predicted the film would have a big impact.


  1. Ric O'Barry is incredible. The Cove is an amazing film, highly recommended. Show your support for the cause by seeing it ASAP!

  2. If Mr. O'Barry wears any leather, animal fur or eats meat of any kind then he is a hypocrite. Cows, pigs, and chickens live in their own filth, often not able to move on ranches that have no grass. He says killing dolphins is inhumane? Maybe he should take a good long look at his own culture before criticizing others.

    He loves dolphins...good for him. Some Japanese towns see them as a food source. To each his own.

    I have seen the way dolphins are killed in Taiji and I can understand how one would think it is 'inhumane'. Perhaps they could try to make it more 'humane', but I am guessing that won't be enough for Mr. O'Barry.

    If you want to see a biased film, run by a hypocritical dolphin fanatic, then go see 'The cove.' But remember to take a good long look at your own country' treatment of animals before you judge too harshly.

  3. Wow! You were right about one thing "Anonymous." Making the murder of dolphins more 'humane' as you so put it, probably would not be 'enough' for Mr. O'Barry. And not surprisingly, I agree with him 100%. It absolutely would not be enough. I applaud Mr. O'Barry for not giving up in what he believes is right, and humane. I stand by him 100%.