Flipper’s Ric O’Barry Reveals Japanese Dolphin Slaughter

In the forthcoming documentary The Cove (http://thecovemovie.com), Ric O’Barry reveals a horrifying, secretive tradition in Japan. O’Barry, who trained the five dolphins used to film the 1960’s TV show Flipper, is now an animal rights activist focused on freeing dolphins from captivity and preventing their abuse.

As he discussed on WBUR’s Here and Now (“Flipper’s Trainer, Now Dolphin Activist”), following his experience with the dolphins trained for Flipper, O’Barry realized that these animals, being predominantly auditory animals, cannot thrive in the concrete environments that typically house them. Since the death of the original Flipper, which O’Barry witnessed, he has worked tirelessly, and often outside the law, to protect dolphins. O’Barry has been both arrested and sued, but neither could dissuade him from his passion. Because of his dedication and perseverance, he and a team captured rather horrifying footage that became the documentary The Cove. The film reveals an annual ritual in the Japanese town of Taiji which sees young female dolphins auctioned off to willing buyers while thousands of unwanted dolphins are killed for their meat. This meat, high in many toxins including mercury, is sold to the Japanese public without their knowledge of its health hazards. The subject matter is horrifying to be sure, but I look forward to seeing the film. A PG-13 trailer is available at http://thecovemovie.com.

In support of the film, a new awareness site was created at http://www.savejapandolphins.org/. The site includes a message from Ric O’Barry, as well as information on getting involved in the fight against dolphin and whale slaughter.

The Human Firecracker

John Fletcher, or “Ghengis [sic] John the Human Firecracker,” regularly dons a firecracker-laden suit and sets himself alight to raise money for charity, but as he reveals to The Wall Street Journal, after roughly 12,000 performances involving nearly 300,000 firecrackers, the show may soon come to an end.

Check out Carrie Porter’s article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, “When You Perform in a Firecracker Suit, Every Show Ends With a Bang.”