When we released "The Cove" in Japan last Summer, I knew it wouldn't be easy. Of course, I also had no way of knowing just how vigorously our opponents would fight the truth. A small, but very vocal group engaged in a massive campaign of misinformation and intimidation against us. They tried to paint us as anti-Japanese, when nothing could be further from the truth. They showed up at the homes of our supporters. Their places of business. Even their elderly parents' homes. With megaphones blaring, they spewed messages of hate and divisiveness. They almost succeed in getting the film pulled from theaters.
When that failed, they did everything in their power to discredit the film.
One of the arguments they made, which was picked up by some Japanese media, is that fisherman had changed the technique that they use to kill the dolphins. That what they do now happens "instantly" and is more humane.
We knew it was a lie, but we couldn't prove it. Until now.
Volunteers have been on the ground since Sept. 1 monitoring the fisherman, documenting as much as possible. While the footage has been devastating, what was missing was the actual kill, which happens behind a cold blue tarp. But our supporters are patient, and the other day Save Japan Dolphins volunteer Leah Lemieux was there when the tarp fell.
What she caught on tape was devastating. The fisherman does appear to stab the dolphin behind its blowhole. But the dolphin's death is far from quick, and couldn't under any circumstances be considered humane. You'll see how many of the dolphins desperately throw themselves on the rocky coastline in effort to escape, or perhaps hasten their own inevitable death.
According to a spokesperson with the Japanese Fisheries Agency, this method "kills the dolphins instantly." In fact, the video footage shows dolphins thrashing in agony for long minutes, amid their own blood and the screams of other dolphins being killed.
Judge for yourself. See the video here, but be warned it's worse than what was shown in "The Cove".
We're sending this footage to every Japanese media outlet we met with last Summer. If you have contacts in Japan please share this.
It's essential that the Japanese people get a complete and accurate picture of what's happening. To that end, we will need to be tireless in our efforts to get the truth out.
Because it is working... the other night Rock superstar Sting came to Japan and voiced his support for a debate on the issue.
But more importantly, Japanese people are starting to stand up. Last week six Japanese women traveled to Taiji to learn for themselves what is happening there. They met with media and voiced their opposition to the dolphin killing. This wouldn't have happened a year ago. In fact, it wouldn't have happened a month ago. Many in Japan have been intimidated by the aggressive tactics that our opponents have been using. After all, would you want someone at your front door blaring insults through a megaphone, with no regard for your family, children or neighbors?
It's made it almost impossible to convince our Japanese friends to come forward. So what these women did was brave and commands respect. Leah reported after meeting them: "what we had here were the modest seeds of gentle change, born of quiet courage and simple compassion. This may be the birth of true Japanese grassroots for the dolphins, without any bells and whistles. These determined women came from as far away as Osaka and even Tokyo to show with their presence, their determination to see the dolphin hunt end."
I can't say enough about these women, and all the volunteers who have traveled from all over the world to monitor activities in the cove. Their dedication moves me beyond words.
For further information, go to: http://www.SaveJapanDolphins.org
Follow Ric O’Barry on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Dolphin_Project