Deep thoughts…

31 10 2010

On the Newsfeed portion of Facebook, it leaves a little window for saying what’s on a person’s mind…I have so many thoughts lately that little space just doesn’t suffice – and with last week’s slaughter of at least 59 dolphins, I have lots going through my head…can you relate??

As I began to drive home from work yesterday I noticed an itty bitty spider hitching a ride on my forearm (do you remember the itsy bitsy spider song your Mom or kindergarten teacher sang to you?). I thought for a split second to gently blow him off my arm but then decided to let him enjoy the view out the window. Then I thought how many people would smash it instead. I got disenchanted with that thought because probably most would exterminate the little creature. Once home this lucky spider got a bush to go do what it was intended to do – spin webs, eat other bugs and “live” the life it was given. This got me thinking…

As William has grown up he has always fought for the welfare and rights of animals. He picks up and trashes the poison traps, the sticky traps and anything else that will hurt or kill an animal – regardless of size, appearance or purpose for existence. In William’s 2nd grade class he debated his Teacher on whether or not a rattlesnake should live or die if found on their personal property. Why couldn’t the snake or any other unwanted critter be picked up by an animal rescue organization and taken to another location rather than killed? Mr. Jones confessed he eventually let go of trying to justify his point of view and said he learned something from William that day. We hope that when Mr. Jones sees another rattle snake that he will consider other options rather than killing.

So what do little spiders and rattlesnakes have to do with dolphins in Taiji?

What makes the fisherman in Taiji terminate the life of thousands of dolphins each year? Well, why do people smash tiny spiders or poison little field mice or intelligent rats? Why do people slice the head off a snake and let it suffer and slowly die? Why do people kill wild animals and display their heads as trophies to mount on walls or take pictures of the carcass to show off to all their buddies? Why are millions of animals beaten and starved to death? And why do people let 400 cows die every hour of nearly every day in just 1 inhumane slaughterhouse because people “want” to eat them? Shoot – I’ll even add this, why are millions of unborn babies aborted each year? Is it that humans have lost the purpose and value of each beings life? Maybe humans have always had this capacity to devalue other living beings. Are humans perfect, no – we are not…but we do have choice.

Since our decision to go to Taiji many people ask us why don’t the Taiji fishermen just let the unwanted dolphins go back into the ocean rather than brutally killing them – that is an excellent question. Its clear why the trainers pick the best looking dolphins and sell them into captivity – LOTS of money (doesn’t this sound like a form of eugenics? And by the way, I hope you will decide to NOT participate in swimming with dolphin resort programs, Sea World, Dolphinarium activities). Perhaps there is something significant underneath all this. Why do the fisherman do what they do and without remorse? How is it possible to take a baby dolphin and in someone’s face slit the baby’s throat just to make an on looking, caring person angry? How is it possible a person can laugh while they hack the life out of an innocent creature that God created? What is inside a person to cause such black hearted acts? Why don’t some people seem to care? And the Taiji fishermen look at us and say we do the same thing to the cows, the pigs, the chickens – you name it. They have a point, the US factory slaughterhouse as mentioned above. Those animals live a HORRIBLE existence…and what do we do…we continue to go through the drive thru, buy the meat, buy more meat and not pay any attention to the animals that are tortured out there. And I am speaking of myself…I am guilty of this, but I am changing. I have to ask though, why do so many people not care? Why all the apathy?

I can’t help but think it’s the condition of the human heart. Unless the heart of a person is transformed it can’t see its way to wisdom, compassion, forgiveness and fact that there is another choice, another alternative.

Don’t we all serve a purpose in this world; humans, animals, all living parts of God’s creation? And in that same consideration, shouldn’t there be respect and responsibility along the way?


All killed…

27 10 2010

October 27th Dolphin Massacre at Taiji. All 52 Bottlenose and 7 Risso Dolphins have been ruthlessly murdered.
Confirmed by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society moments ago.

ALERT > 60+ dolphins herded into the cove

26 10 2010

As of a few hours ago, 60+ dolphins have been captured and herded into the infamous cove. I pray the water does not turn red by morning (as in the image shown from last year). I must ask – will you please make a call. The numbers are provided here;

Japanese Embassy @ (202) 238-6700.
Taiji Fisherman’s Cooperative @ 011 81 559 2340.

For the Dolphins – may they swim forever free.
Carrie & William

A Japanese Woman’s Perspective

24 10 2010

This past Friday night our new found friend “K” came over to return our DVD of “The Cove”, to share a glass of wine together and to talk about what she and her family thought about the movie.

“K” was curious about our upcoming trip to Taiji and she wanted to better understand the situation so she could intelligently piece together what she had been reading from Japanese newswires (and I wanted to understand the Japanese media perspective). She grew up in Northern Tokyo and lived there until she met her American husband and relocated to the US 10 years ago. Her family still lives in Japan and travels there every year to visit. She had no idea what was happening in Taiji, nor her family.

When asked if Japanese people eat dolphin, she said, “No, we don’t want to eat dolphin” and even pointed to one part of the film where people interviewed on the streets of Tokyo determined same. She does recall eating whale however as a little girl. Curious, I asked what whale meat was like, she said it looks like steak and is prepared like steak – it does not resemble fish (makes sense, whale is a mammal). She recalls whale not being a popular food item. But what about the fisherman’s argument of this being “cultural”? “K” clearly says this is not at all about culture (there is no such custom or culture to slaughter dolphins), this issue has nothing to do with a custom or culture – it’s all about money. “If the Japanese fisherman say its cultural, this is a lie”. This is an important fact because the fisherman and the government will tell us differently to cover their actions (sounds a lot like American commercial slaughterhouse crud to me). And why would the Japanese fisherman want to eat fish tainted with toxic levels of Mercury (the science backs this data)??

One of “K’s” favorite seafood items is octopus and she says that there is no more octopus in the ocean around Japan so now the octopus comes from Africa (she no longer eats it by the way). She is stunned about this and also that all of the salmon brought into to Japan comes from America’s wild salmon population. Japanese people do not want to eat “farmed” seafood so what they can’t get in their own coastal waters they ship it in from elsewhere – and this is a nation that consumes an enormous amount of fish.

“K” also brought up another point that I have not been able to rid my mind of. As a little girl her Mother had to work, she worked at a Pig farm. Her Mother observed that when a pig was chosen for slaughter the pig would squeal and run from its capture. “K’s” Mother believes the animal is completely aware of its unfortunate fate and would continue to scream as it headed away in the truck. Of course this gets into a deep topic but all I can say is, look into the eye of the animal before its killed for your eating pleasure. Ironically, “K’s” husband is a Chemist who doesn’t eat meat because of the health and medical concerns due to the raising of the animal (something to pay attention to ).

In short, “K” believes the madness in Taiji needs to stop and asked if she could continue to borrow our copy of “The Cove” and share it with other Japanese families that she shares time with – all I can can say is, of course!! And if you have not yet seen the movie, “The Cove”, please do.

21 Days till our Cove Guardian duty begins.

For the Dolphins – may they swim forever free!

Carrie & William

Living outloud…

21 10 2010

William has displayed great passion and clear communication as he’s taken to the streets to tell “The Cove” story. As he’s passed out his pet sitting/dog walking flyers around our apartment complex his #1 message; the Dolphin slaughter in Taiji – he wants everyone to know (inset picture; William w/his flyer). It’s amazing as I stay in the background to listen and ensure his safety. Even if people do not have animals, he continues to share the truth and engages many, even people whose “culture” typically shy’s away from topics of this nature. He doesn’t back down, remains respectful and is encouraged by the response. This really doesn’t surprise me…he’s been committed to saving bunnies, squirrels, snakes and birds around our community – this is a natural response for him. I can only imagine what this experience will do within him. He says, “Mom, we’re going to rescue Dolphins…they are so much bigger than bunnies and squirrels”. I support where his heart takes him.

So, 26 more days to go before he head to Taiji…till then, we’re baking cookies to sell and continuing to pass out flyers to raise awareness to anyone willing to hear…much to do!

And great news…the weather in Taiji has been terrible for the fisherman but PERFECT for the Dolphins…no deaths this week!

For the Dolphins…may they swim forever free!
Carrie & William

Please, do not turn your head…

14 10 2010

Okay – where to begin…

First off, Elora Malama – a current Taiji Cove Guardian and AMAZING young woman of 16 is posting daily on her blog all that happens in Taiji (photos, videos, reports). I encourage subscribing to her blog. Elora will educate you, and make you think, not just of what’s happening in Taiji but on broader topics closely related. She has a gift and I applaud her for using it (and her Parents for allowing her)! Elora’s blog page.

If you have not already heard, this past Tuesday an estimated 15-20 Risso Dolphins were killed by the vicious stabs of the Taiji fisherman (see the Academy Award movie, The Cove to see for yourselves their practice). This is the second slaughter of the hunting season which does not end until March. Two dolphins were chosen for a life of drugs, performances and wearing fake smiles (sounds like human trafficing doesn’t it?). Do the trainers REALLY believe these animals enjoy being kept in small pools as opposed to the open ocean – I don’t think so!! And wait a minute, aren’t the Trainers supposed to really care about the animals? I am REALLY questioning this in light of their visible involvement at Taiji’s killing cove. The fisherman receive an estimated $150,000 USD for each “show” quality dolphin and – the balance are killed, brutally killed…the dead dolphins fetch around $650 USD. If I sound harsh, it’s because it’s a harsh and ugly reality. Please, do not turn your head – see Elora’s blog or our blogroll websites to see the evidence!

As William and I read the daily reports out of Taiji we discuss the issues. We are getting ever so closer to being Vegan’s. When we consider what animals endure at commercial farms and see it with our own eyes we are appalled. We wonder if it was intended to be this way. We can’t imagine that to be the case. Perhaps when human population was not so enormous it was manageable. We are in a quandary of life long “easy” and “convenient” habits – but there is a cost to millions, and I mean millions of animals. We really don’t think it was intended to be that way. We look at animal food differently lately. We don’t want them to suffer – and they suffer greatly in these commercial farms. It’s not right. We don’t want to buy meat, we don’t want to buy milk and we don’t want to buy eggs. Guess this means we get to expand our culinary appetite and cooking customs…that’s okay by us!

Our time to prepare for the journey to Taiji has raised many important thoughts and considerations…I am glad for that…now its a matter of walkin the talk!

Countdown – 33 days till departure to Taiji!

For the Dolphins…may they swim forever free!
Carrie & William

An invitation to “cyber” travel with us to Taiji…

9 10 2010

Just a couple of Friday’s ago while cooking supper, I had a crazy idea…”why not let go of going to Africa (for now) and go help the Dolphins of Japan instead”. I instantly shared the thought with my 10-year old son, William – his eyeballs were as large as dinner plates (saucers were way to small). He realized this was huge for me as my heart for the people of Africa and desire to swim with South African sharks has been a heart tug for a VERY long time. So, we called American Airlines and redeemed 100,000 frequent flier miles…we’re going to Japan…CRAZY…I never thought I would be traveling to Japan!!!

It’s been WILD since. William’s created a dog walking/pet sitting business to help fund his travel to Taiji (it’s that or he’ll be part of my luggage). He and three of his buddies are in the process of passing out cool fliers to promote his business. In two day’s, he’s received $238.00 in donations and 6 new customers!!! The boys are inspired by people’s response to help the Dolphins. What a life defining moment for them as young boys!

Why are we going, why is this so important? A number of reasons really, but here are a few on top of our minds…

William has a gigantic heart for animals – its his intention to work with animals, and be an activist – protecting them and the environment that they are losing to over development…he looks up to the brave men and women of Sea Shepherd, Save Japan Dolphins, Sharkwater and all those who were instrumental in the Academy Award winning movie, The Cove. Frankly, I won’t argue – I agree with him 100%!

William and I believe that we have a responsibility to respect all of God’s creations regardless if its human, animal, plant, etc. Life is life and its precious to us.

Our desired outcome from this experience:
1) To raise awareness to as many people as possible of what happens to nearly 23,000 dolphins each hunting season in Japan. This must stop.

2) By our respectful presence in Taiji, we hope it communicates to the fisherman and the Japanese government that we are watching and care about the situation.

3) To save dolphins so they can swim freely in the ocean.

We encourage you to explore some of the websites on our Blogroll to learn more about what’s happening and to see what you can do to help.

We’ll be counting the days till we leave for Taiji (38 as of today) and it won’t come soon enough.

We hope you will travel with us through this experience and help if you can.

For the Taiji Dolphins – may they swim forever free!

Carrie & William