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  • Writer's pictureStaci-lee Sherwood

Whales & Dolphins face threats from every angle

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

By Staci-lee Sherwood

For millions of years the ocean was home to a variety of marine mammals. Until humans arrived they survived and thrived. For thousands of years there was an abundance of fish, whales, dolphins and sea turtles. The coral reefs were massive and full of color and the ocean itself was clean and provided a bounty of food. Once humans industrialized, commercial fishing and whaling industries took off. As fishermen plundered the ocean taking more and more without replenishing, all life started to feel the effects. The food supply for marine mammals was being taken, their ocean water home was being polluted and they themselves were being killed.

Today there is hardly a species in the ocean that isn’t endangered or on the brink of extinction. The drastic decrease in population is not due to the natural ebb and flow of species but instead is a conscious act of exploiting a natural resource until all are gone. Between the outright killing of whales, dolphins and seals and the consumption of their food supply they are barely hanging on yet the media and government will tell you otherwise. Read some of what they face below and you be the judge of their future.

Taji dolphin hunt

Every year there is an annual ritual in Japan that much of the public is unaware of. In Taji, Japan dolphins are lured to their death and brutally slaughtered by stabbing. The water turns such a bright red as life drains out of them that this can be seen from high above. When you hear the phrase ‘dolphin safe’ tuna ask yourself how is this possible and who is actually verifying this claim?

The premise for this hunt is twofold. One is to kill the dolphins for their meat. I can point to dozens of studies going back decades that show how eating meat contributes to a long list of health problems, so no one needs to eat dolphins to survive. The other reason given is to sell the captured dolphins to seaquariums where they languish in toxic chlorine water. They live a lonely life of abuse and die early. Public pressure will not stop this atrocity. As long as the public gives their money to Japan in the form of buying goods or traveling there they have zero incentive to stop. Only a negative impact on their economy will get their attention.

The Taji dolphin hunts are a blood bath of cruelty and totally unnecessary

Click here to read how this non profit is bringing awareness to the crisis

Dolphin swims

Despite this being promoted as eco or animal friendly it is not. This is not a case where divers are in the ocean and happen to swim by a pod of dolphins organically. This is staged in captivity in water saturated with chlorine that’s toxic to the animals. Human injury from agitated and confused dolphins happens. Exposure to humans means these dolphins are likely to get sick from a bacterial or viral infection transferred during these swims. Don’t believe the hype. Think how you would feel having another species touch you, hug you and ride on top of you while noisy cameras flashed in your face. The only true natural way to swim with dolphins is to scuba deep in the ocean and let the dolphins be from a safe distance while you ‘swim’ along side them. Nature is best when it’s left alone.

Why is this man holding the fins of these dolphins? Would you want this to happen to you if you were a dolphin? No? Then don’t contribute to this abuse.

Faroe island pilot whale hunt

This small patch of land is owned by Denmark. Every year one of the cruelest traditions takes place and even more insidious very young children are encouraged to join in with the savage killing of pilot whales. The claim that this continues because it’s a long standing tradition does not hold any weight in the modern era. No one needs to eat whales and dolphins to survive. All nations are engaged in the global food trade.

The Faroe Islands are a self-governing nation under the external sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark. Though the island has autonomy the people of Denmark could help end this atrocity if they really wanted to. As is always the case this will continue until both the Faroe Islands and Denmark feel the world’s disgust by negatively impacting their economy and ending trade with them.

Andrija Ilicafp via Getty Images Faroe Island

Think what this teaches children? At this stage in life children are learning what is acceptable behavior what is tolerated. Is it any wonder we have an epidemic of human to human and human to animal cruelty?

Click here to learn more about the hunt


Animals held in captivity only teach children that other species are less important than our own. This theme is reinforced throughout society in subtle and not so subtle ways. We get a daily dose of this message from movies, books, magazines, television and in the news. Almost always animals are portrayed as a secondary concern and whatever human is involved they always take center stage in the story. Just like how the circus and zoos teach children to accept the caging and exploitation of animals so does the aquarium shows.

Think of the message sent when children see animals used as props for trainers to stand on. Is it any wonder these damaged children with a very skewed idea of the animal kingdom and the world around them, grow into violent adults. Living in captivity is especially brutal for dolphins and whales because their sonar bounces off the walls causing these sensitive marine mammals much pain and distress. Imagine being blasted with loud noises you can never turn off, ignore or respond to. If you think it’s wrong to treat humans like this then you should feel the same about this treatment of other species. This is not conservation or education, this is the end result of trafficking wild animals for the sole purpose of exploiting them for financial gain.

If you haven’t seen the documentary ‘Blackfish’ I highly recommend it. Hats off to CNN for showing it to help expose the cruelty behind the smiling faces at SeaWorld and other places like that.

Click here to watch this important film

‘If we’re appalled by trafficking of humans for money we should have the same integrity about trafficking other species for the same exploitation.’

Commercial fishing and whaling

In 1979 the IWC (International Whaling Commission) had a meeting where they instituted a moratorium on all whaling using factory ships (with an exception for minke whales). The IWC also declared the entire Indian Ocean as a whale sanctuary. Since then Japan, Norway and Iceland have continued their whale hunts while IWC and the world sat back and did nothing.

In the 1970s Greenpeace was the first and most vocal opponent against whaling. They greatly contributed to the public awareness of the plight of whales. Sea Shepard took the lead for the past twenty years but despite great efforts commercial whaling continued. Japan in particular seems to take joy in openly lying about their hunting agenda. Their claim about it being for conservation is by far the dumbest and most obvious lie. No legitimate scientist would need to kill an animal to study them. The next time you hear the thinly veiled excuse about japan hunting whales remember they have no problem lying to the public. If they lie about that what else are they willing to lie about?

Whales as a superfund site

Did you know that if whales were a land mass they would be classified as a Superfund site because of all the contamination they have in their bodies? What does that tell you about the health of the ocean? What does that tell you about the future of whales or any species living in the ocean? One cannot look at the crashing populations of all marine life and still think seafood is safe to eat.

Despite the last 50 years of public awareness campaigns, protests, rallies and documentaries the truth for whales and dolphins is grim. If we’re not killing them outright we’re slowing destroying their home their food supply and leaving them with nowhere to go and little chance to survive. This is another tragic legacy of humans. Reported in Septemebr 2022 by Geo Forward As a result of coastal pollution by humans, all of the animals which make up the orca’s diet from the coastal regions have direct exposure to the polychlorinated biphenyls (also known as the PCBs chemical) deposits. This includes, but does not limit to stingrays, fish, and seals. Subsequently, killer whales eat these animals with PCB contamination (however trace the concentrations might be). And the overall chemical concentration build-up within their own bodies, as a result of being the ultimate contamination endpoint.”

Click here to read about PCB’s found in Orca’s

Click here to read more about the toxic chemicals found in dolphins and whales

Minke Whale skull

What can be done to save our whales and dolphins

The best way to end these abuses is to stop going to places that have dolphins and whales in captivity. This would include seaquariums, zoos and dolphin swim businesses. Anyone in the business of getting paid to exploit animals is a trafficker by definition. The fact that society fails to see the truth is another matter. Another way to help is to spread the message of truth which is often drowned out by the millions pouring in to keep the lies out there for public consumption.

Supporting legitimate non profits with a track record of winning lawsuits and stopping or slowing down the hunts is another way to stop this. Consuming seafood is another way that contributes to these cruelties. The fishing industry routinely blames marine mammals for the severe depletion of fish. The truth is the fishing industry are the ones depleting the ocean of fish at lightning speed, but you won’t see them take responsibility. This false flag allows the public to accept these hunts and captivity and in turn keep the cycle of death going.

If you eat seafood please think twice about this effects the health of the ocean, the future of marine life and how eating fish contributes to the very real fact the ocean will be out of fish in a matter of decades if we continue at the current rate of commercial fishing. Ask yourself before eating that lobster, crab or salmon how they came to end up on your plate and all the animals that died to make that happen. Think of the suffering and pollution eating seafood contributes to our planet. Think what you’re teaching your children about respect for others every time you take them to the zoo or seaquairum for entertainment. Once you open your eyes to truth it’s impossible to put that genie of truth back in the bottle of lies.

If you would like to learn more about dolphins and whales check out these groups:

Newly formed non profit by the man who has done more to save whales than anyone else, former founder of Greenpeace and Sea Shepard Captain Paul Watson’s new organization

Click here to read about this non profit, IFAW, working to save whales, dolphins and other marine life

Click here to read about Ric O’Barry’s group

Also published on The Good Men Project on July 17, 2023

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