THE COVE is a documentary about the killing of dolphins in Japan for their meat, a practice which is supposed to be illegal, and which provides food that may be poisonous due to the amounts of mercury found in the meat. They do so under the guise of trapping dolphins for trainers.
This is an extremely difficult film to watch. In fact, if 'd had any idea how upset this film would make me, I would not have watched it on an airplane. I'd have watched it in private at home.
Very shortly into the film, they begin playing the theme from the FLIPPER TV series, which I watched as a kid. Music has a way of working itself into the subconscious. I remember very little about the show, except that I really loved it. In fact, I loved it so much, that I was not allowed to watch it until I had had my bath, which my mother (who died 35 years ago) tried to convince me was just like Flipper swimming in the ocean. So just hearing that music brought back a huge rush of memories and the associated emotions to me.
Unfortunately, they quickly explain that the reason that music is in the movie is that the main person in the film so far, who has been speaking out against animal abuse, was the dolphin trainer on the show. He then explains that the animals we see at parks like Sea World are all so stressed out from being in captivity that they are miserable and have numerous physical ailments from the stress. One of the animals who played Flipper was so depressed that she, according to the trainer, committed suicide by consciously choosing to stop breathing.
As someone who loved the show because I love animals, this was very depressing news, and it made me feel particularly guilty for watching it and buying "Flipper" brand shampoo to use in my bath. I know I could never watch it now, knowing that they suffered, and I could never go to Sea World or even the dolphin display at the Mirage.
The end of the film is truly gruesome, as they put a number of hidden cameras into the cove where the slaughter of the dolphins takes place. The sea water looked more like tomato soup as it is filled with the blood of dying dolphins.
I'm sorry that I have to recommend this film – as I mentioned, it is very disturbing, but I think it's important for people to know that this is still going on. An awful lot of people, both here in America and overseas, have lulled themselves into believing that international politics keeps matters like this under control. Unfortunately, it will take a lot to get it to stop.