Written by PETA
Today, we're breaking out the bubbly to celebrate a victory. The Oscar-winning filmmakers behind The Cove recently went undercover inside The Hump—a Los Angeles sushi joint—to gather evidence that the restaurant was selling whale sushi. Yesterday, Typhoon Restaurant Inc.—the company that owns The Hump—was charged with illegally selling whale meat. According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, those charged with possession or sale of marine mammals may face up to a year in prison or a $20,000 fine.
Whales are intelligent, social, and sensitive animals, but so are fish sea kittens, who have been deemed smarter than 5-year-old humans. Fish have central nervous systems that closely resemble those of humans, and fish who are caught in the commercial fishing industry suffer immeasurable pain as they are pulled up from the depths of their ocean homes. They thrash on the decks of fishing boats, and many of them vomit up their own guts as a result of the quick pressure change. So while we're stoked that the whale sushi has been removed from The Hump's menu, here's a question for anyone who continues to eat flesh: If you wouldn't eat a whale, then why would you eat a sea kitten?
Written by Logan Scherer
Picture it: a dark sushi restaurant on a Los Angeles street, secret agents sitting inside, and a lone car waiting outside. Real-life undercover investigation or Hollywood moviemaking gold? Well, considering that the brave brains behind this very real, very covert operation are also the Oscar-winning filmmaking team behind The Cove, the answer is both!
Back in October, Charles Hambleton—The Cove's associate producer—got word that the Hump, a trendy L.A. sushi restaurant, was serving whale meat, which is illegal in the U.S. Hambleton's informants sent samples of the sushi to Scott Baker, associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, who confirmed that the sample was meat from an endangered Sei whale.
While the consumption of whale meat is practically unheard of in the U.S., it's sold in marketplaces across Japan and is even served in school lunches. All the whale meat consumed by the Japanese comes from the hundreds of whales the Japanese claim to be slaughtering for scientific purposes.
Fast-forward to the week before the Oscars, when Louie Psihoyos—director of The Cove—and the other crewmembers from the film went undercover at the Hump, where they confirmed that the restaurant is still serving whale.
Psihoyos and his team made another visit to the Hump, this time accompanied by federal agents, and were, once again, served whale meat, giving the government officials the evidence they needed to get a warrant to search the restaurant's premises on Friday.
There's been no word yet on what the feds found, but according to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, those charged with possession or sale of marine mammals may face up to a year in prison or a $20,000 fine. In the meantime, is anyone else hoping that all this means that the intrepid moviemaking, sushi-spying heroes will team up for another film to save animals?
Written by Logan Scherer
"How do you put an interactive, social animal, one of the smartest animals in the world … and you're going to stick them in a tub and make them do tricks? How do you do that? Because they make money? It's disgusting and SeaWorld is absolutely wrong. This is a big wake-up call. How many more people are going to have to be killed? When are we going to realize that these animals are not supposed to be there?"—Hayden Panettiere
When it comes to speaking out against SeaWorld, the stars are aligning. The vegetarian Panettiere—who appears in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove—joins Matt Damon, Bob Barker, Pamela Anderson, and many other celebrities who have lent their voices to support Tilikum by publicly denouncing the use of marine mammals for "entertainment."
Will you be the next to speak up? Ask SeaWorld to release the animals to sanctuaries.
OK, so we didn't get to see a song-and-dance number featuring Steve Martin and vegetarian Alec Baldwin—who also narrated PETA's now-classic documentary Meet Your Meat—but we're still pretty happy about how the highly buzzed Food Inc./Cove face-off turned out.
The Oscar for Best Documentary went to frontrunner The Cove—the universally acclaimed examination of Japan's bloody dolphin trade and slaughter. And in one of the most inspiring moments of the night, Ric O'Barry proved that he'll stop at nothing to end the slaughter by displaying a sign encouraging people to get active for dolphins during his acceptance speech.
The win couldn't have come at a better time for captive marine wildlife, as Sea World and other parks come under increasing scrutiny for their abysmal record of injuries and deaths of both trainers and animals in the wake of last month's incident at SeaWorld.
On the red carpet, The Cove's director Louie Psihoyos put it best when he said, "One animal killing three people in one lifetime shows these animals are stressed, they don't belong in captivity. And when we capture them out of the wild and force them to do stupid tricks for our amusement, it says more about our intelligence than it does theirs."
Bleary-eyed and barely out of bed, I woke up to this morning's Oscar nominations delightfully unsurprised. Every year, the nominees for the Best Documentary Academy Award manage to reflect concerns that stir Americans most, so I wasn't shocked to see that two of this year's five nominated films are The Cove—the critically acclaimed examination of Japan's bloody dolphin trade and slaughter—and Food Inc., the eye-opening examination of the nation's grossly inhumane and environmentally unsustainable production of meat.
Alec Baldwin—who, coincidentally, narrated PETA's iconic documentary, "Meet Your Meat"—is hosting this year's award show, so on March 7, I'm going to be sitting on my couch, waiting for him to give a gold statue to The Cove or Food Inc. with his best Jack Donaghy swagger. I'll be happy if either movie wins, although I am partial to The Cove. How about you? Which do you think will take home the gold?
The filmmakers behind The Cove showed that taking brave action for animals can make a difference. The highly acclaimed documentary—about a group of extraordinary people who aim to shine a light on Japan's dark dolphin trade and slaughter—was just released on DVD and is the prize for this week's "Win It" Wednesday.
Acts of compassion and courage are everyday events. At this very moment, people everywhere are sticking up for animals. Someone is confronting a neighbor about a lonely dog tied in the backyard. Another person is finally telling her beloved aunt how she truly feels about that fur coat. A high school student is telling his biology teacher that he won't dissect a frog—no way, no how.
Now is your time to shine. Describe a courageous action that you took in behalf of animals. We've got three copies of The Cove to award the people who offer the most heartfelt responses. I have a feeling that the animals will win too—there's no doubt that people who read the entries will be inspired to take action.
Written by Karin Bennett
After a brief glimmer of hope that the slaughter in Taiji, Japan, would not happen this year, it has belatedly begun. Of the 100 dolphins rounded up so far, half will be released and the other half will be sent to prison aquariums. Fifty pilot whales have been slaughtered.
But there is hope: Worldwide outrage prompted by the recent movie The Cove means that the future of the slaughter is uncertain, according to an anonymous official at the Taiji fisheries association.
There's still work to be done. Please contact your local Japanese embassy and express your disgust over the sale of dolphins to aquariums and the slaughter of pilot whales.
Written by Shawna Flavell
From the folks at Ecorazzi comes the number-one reason for rushing out to see The Cove: It saves dolphins' lives.
The annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan, was supposed to start yesterday, but all's quiet in the cove:
Compare that with last year at this time:
Ric O'Barry, the famous former (and reformed) trainer of TV's Flipper, has been battling Taiji's dolphin slaughter for years. He reports that instead of being filled with dolphin killers, the cove was filled with news reporters, including—for the first time ever—Japanese film crews.
Looks like Japan's dirty secret is no longer a secret.
Written by Alisa Mullins
"[A] living, breathing movie whose horrifying disclosures feel fully earned." —The New York Times
"To watch bleeding dolphins struggle for their last breath, to actually hear their agony, is devastating. … [Y]ou feel culpable just for being part of the species that can teach another mammal tricks, reward it with snacks and pats and at the same time be capable of getting up at dawn to poke it to death with spears." —Time
"[O]ne of the most powerful, heartfelt, and (yes, I'll say it) important 'nature' documentaries I've ever seen." —Cinematical
"[T]he footage is so horrifying, the facts so disturbing. It's not that you can't believe it, but that you don't want to." —The Huffington Post
When this movie hits theaters near you, go!
"Would you go to see a brilliant actor who's been framed for something that he didn't do, and put him on a stage and say he's going to do Hamlet for you, and why don't you enjoy it? That's a hell of an analogy, but it's about the same thing."
That's what comedian Jerry Stiller had to say as he was leaving a screening of The Cove, a documentary about the annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. During the slaughter, some of the young dolphins are captured and sent to aquariums to be put on display. But Stiller won't be going to see them—and neither will many of the other people who see this powerful movie.
Look for The Cove at a theater near you on July 31.
Written by Amanda Schinke
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.