Video Smackdown: Marineland vs. Taiji

Video is a powerful medium for trying to shape opinion and emotion, a point that is made by two videos which I came across this morning.

One, from Marineland Canada, aims to convince the public that allegations of animal cruelty at Marineland are false.

The other, from a group of citizens dedicated to trying to end the Taiji dolphin hunts, aims to mobilize public opinion against captivity and Taiji.

It’s interesting to see them both together. What strikes me is that the anti-captivity side has more powerful material to make their case.

Here’s Marineland’s argument in favor of captivity and the way Marineland does business:

And here’s the argument against captivity, and the way in which the Taiji dolphin hunt is connected:

21 thoughts on “Video Smackdown: Marineland vs. Taiji”

  1. Marineland tries to make a convincing case, as does SeaWorld. I have to few truths for you to consider:
    1) they stand to lose a billion dollar a year industry; one should always follow the money and
    2) please marine mammals have been around for countless thousands of years doing just fine all by themselves. Dolphins for example have had a big brain about five times as long as we have. So don’t be talked onto thinking that they need us. All this talk of environmental good is simply them trying to a justify keeping these sentient, sapient beings in prison, though they have done no crime.
    3) it’s easy to speak of retirement homes whens so fewof the dolphins and orcas which are the stars of the show will I ever survive long enough to be there. Consider captivity’s track record. the overwhelming majority of those dolphins and orcas are dead shortly after being brought in to captivity. The rest die very prematurely. claims that they have the best veterinary care available are both biasee and inaccurate.
    4) Cousteau pointed out that research done and observations made regarding captive dolphin fish are as accurate as of observations made about human beings while they are in prison. The circumstance is unnatural, and inaccurate results must follow.


  3. Marineland’s video is laughable at best. But it follows the company line — company being AZA, zoos and aquariums — that what “extremist” animal advocates REALLY want it to shut down all zoos and aquariums. It’s quite a typical scare tactic — deflect attention from the issues at hand. It’s part of how gun proponents keep defeating gun control legislation — first they’ll take our guns, next they’ll take our other freedoms and then (I guess) the commie socialists will take over our lives!! They use another obvious tactic as well — if you don’t have a good answer to charges, discredit and undermine your opponent. The Republicans have used such tactics successfully for years.

  4. I am against captivity and I had seen the Marineland video and much of the footage of The Killing Circus or at least footage like it. However, I had not seen The Killing Circus until now and I must admit, it had me weeping. Very powerful and emotional! The other video is a lie, but I can not tell you if that is from watching the two together or just knowing what I know! Would love to hear a pro-cap’s take!

    1. I guess I would love to add that motivation plays a very big key in how a video makes people respond. Clearly, the Killing Circus was made with passion; passion for animals, passion for freedom. The other was made to save face. It doesn’t matter the content, it will only invoke superficial emotions at best.

  5. @protecttheocean – I think your very good points should have been in the video as narration (with subtitles).
    Unfortunately this vid preaches to the choir but misses it’s mark; people who are not animal rights activists will enjoy the marineland video and turn off the activist video before they’re halfway through.
    Non-Activists will feel the ‘overly-emotional’ music is blatantly manipulative. I know because I have many non-activist friends.
    More of the video should have been actual video, rather than so many photos.
    I know this seems critical but analysing how to best educate the public is what is important.

    1. I had the same thought and I don’t think you can compare these two videos on the same level. The anti-cap video risks being dismissed as non-factual, too emotional, and the photo montage together with statement remains just that. When it comes down to court decisions, all that counts are the facts. And I’d like to see more of those. I’m sure if you dig deep enough, you can display the simple facts that link Marineland, Seaworld, Loro Parque et al. to animal abuse and especially pracices such as the driver fisheries in Taiji. “The Cove” did that very well, in a very factual way, without music But also the docs about Keiko, Lolita etc.

  6. In the first video, Marineland doesn’t tell you they did have issues they had to fix because they were noticed by activists who made enough noise. Sure, their “look at me now” video shows them as a “good place” because they can manipulate it all into a nice video and omit the ugly truth and make the activists look like the bad guys.

    The second video, (Killing Circus) was made by passionate people who want to end the captivity and abuse. They seem to have tried hard, but unfortunately I don’t think it works as well as they intended because it doesn’t quite hold your attention long enough to get the get the real message. Also, the Olympic Game connection wont work just as it hasn’t every time its been used. That’s a bit sad because it should work, but unfortunately money counts more. I saw copies of the IOC responses and was saddened by their attitude.

    I certainly shed a few tears watching the Killing Circus video as it wants to get you to have an emotional epiphany but it only worked on me as I am already invested emotionally in their cause. In my opinion, if they narrated the film, had more substance in it and instead of using the ubiquitous emotional (not even that great of a song) music they used more motivating music they may have been able to get the average Joe or Jane to watch it all the way through and stand up and say “Hey, this is absolutely awful and I am going to sign petitions and tell my friends!” As it stands now I believe it falls short and is not the “smack down” I was looking for when I saw the lead in?

    I want to add though I give big kudos to them for making the video and hope they continue their work, improve upon it and help make people open their eyes to the truth. I hope that continue to try to make people aware enough to not buy a ticket to support captivity. I am sorry though that the IOC connection won’t do what that hoped it would.

  7. On the second video there is a stock photograph used that has not been paid for as you can still clearly see its watermark. (1:25 mins) into the video. Also lots of other photographs and posters created by individuals that are floating around cyberspace used here in addition to photographs supplied by people who are named. It is time-consuming work to get all the credits right but its always best for an organization to do so to avoid legal ramifications in the long run. That being said, it is a touching piece of work in spite of the awful song accompanying it.

  8. Hey Folks: I don’t want this to become a forum for personal attacks and to argue about who did what with relation to the Olympics Dolphin campaign. So, after thinking about it, I have removed those comments because they were intensifying and becoming more ad hominem. Feel free to comment on the videos and the issues they raise. But please refrain from personal criticisms and from waging whatever battles exist over the Olympic Dolphins campaign here.

    1. I am not disappointed that you removed the personal attacks but I am disappointed that you removed all of Helen B post because she made some valid points and raised some interesting questions into the entire Taiji dolphin slaughters and drive hunts. Could it not have been done by removing the mention of the Olympic Dolphins campaign and just keep her points on the racism issue, which is predominant in animal rights and animal activism and let us discuss that or the issues she raised about countries cleaning up their own backyards. I found those very valid points!

      1. Kathy: I thought about that, and agree that Helen raised valid points. The problem was that the rebuttals to Helen’s points involved a backstory regarding divisions within the Olympic Dolphins campaign, so I thought it best to remove the entire discussion thread. I, probably more than most, want to encourage free discussion of issues, so I would like to emphasize that this was not a small decision. But I would also like the blog/website to be a place where people debate and share ideas in a positive fashion. I encourage Helen, and anyone else who would like to discuss the issue of how to impact Japanese public opinion, or any other issues raised in these videos, to feel free to add new comments. A pain, I know. But probably the least worst solution.

  9. Hello, Mr. Zimmerman,
    Thank you so much for sharing my video, “The Killing Circus — Behind The Glass.” I am honored that it has resonated with you and so many others. This video was created from the depths of my heart and soul. While I realize that not everyone will appreciate this approach, this is my personal tribute to the dolphins who have fallen victim to our greed and selfishness — the ones lost and yet to be lost in the Taiji massacres, as well as all cetacea imprisoned and enslaved in captivity. It is in no way intended to be a comprehensive primer on all issues surrounding captivity, nor the dolphin massacres in Japan. I have other videos which better tell the story, for those looking for more factual information.
    For those interested in a more informative video on the Taiji dolphin slaughters, please see: “For The Dolphins: The Taiji Massacres Continue.” Fair warning though — it’s not sugar-coated. This video is brutally revealing in terms of kill method and activist footage. I have included the very first behind-the-tarps killing footage ever recorded by activists on-scene, as well as the up-close footage recently evaluated in Dr. Butterworth’s Taiji kill method analysis paper.

    Much love and be well, precious ones — and remember, we’re on the same side. Creative differences should not divide us. ❤

  10. Thanks to Kathy for your comments! And a special thank you to Tim for offering the opportunity to come back and post again on some points I highlighted in my previously deleted commentary.

    Without mentioning names or campaigns, I will just firstly address the issue of “racism” in the animal rights movement. I am no expert on this area, far from it, but I am happy to start a conversation because conversing together with people from both sides of the argument is how we learn and teach and draw our own conclusion, but it all starts with informing yourself. So here’s what I have learnt so far ….

    The animal rights movement begins at a disadvantage, predominantly white, middle class people form its core while less than three percent of people of colour are involved. I never knew this fact till I started looking at it in depth. I have never looked to my left or right at a protest to notice how many people were white or coloured. This point proved to me what someone in the last week briefly highlighted on, the animal rights movement is itself segregated! I speak for myself when I say as an activist, advocate or welfareist (whichever term you might want to label me) I want the animal rights movement to be inclusive but I better understand why a predominantly white community of people fighting for the rights of animals is a distinct imbalance and could possibly hinder the movement from becoming a massive inclusive movement. I learnt all of this from reading documents and articles by Pattrice Jones and An Unnatural Order (reprinted by Lantern Books, 2005) by Jim Mason (both animal rights activists). Jim’s book was in fact very informative on the issue of dominionism and offered an in depth look at the history of racism. In reading more I started asking myself, do I make people of colour feel comfortable or uncomfortable when I advocate for a cause or a campaign? Do we marginalize our projects and do we cause the appearance of ‘us’ against ‘them’? In the last campaign I was involved in, the resounding response is “Yes! Its was definitely us against them.”

    Also, historically, in the animal rights movement, there’s the assumption and the projection of a certain level of education required. People who don’t fulfill this criteria or this image feel unwelcome or alienated from the movement.

    So I took time over the last week or so to look at some of the campaigns I support whether financially or by being a “body” for them in protests and demonstrations. I looked at what kind of outreach they do and what kind of communities they target to raise awareness or perform outreach activities. And while I have never been an avid PETA supporter, I see that they are in fact the only major group actively performing outreach and awareness campaigns in many communities. Of course I realize that PETA can do this because they have the financial backing to support these types of initiatives but that made me think that anyone (even a small campaign) could do this. Inclusivity instead of the opposite. The next question I asked myself, is how are PETA having so much success, well that is easy enough to answer, the misconception that people of colour don’t care about animals is just that a misconception? This is why PETA has success.
    So why do we think in the animal rights movement that we can set the agenda for other cultures? Because we think we know better, because we think we are more moral or more humane? I think from what I have learnt the animal rights movement is exporting, no that’s not the right word, they are dictating their ideas (cultural) of what should be the proper relationship between humans an animals. Imagine now if you will what this looks like to the outside world – these predominantly white campaigners hammering people over the head with their moral outrage. Yes, 52 billion animals living on the land of this place we call home are slaughtered for whatever reason each year. That figure does not even capture the numbers that are imprisoned for whatever reason and we are all benefiting from that, even the people who are involved in the animal rights movement. Governments and businesses have become too powerful and the power they have (or lack of as the case may be) is what drives abuse against animals. And the saddest fact is that while animal rights activists know how to mobilize people, they don’t know how to research and organize their activities to ensure there is no marginalization (is that even a word?). To oppressed people of colour, race or racial issues have always been about power.

    In Taiji, Japan, their traditional way of life has included the slaughter of thousands of dolphins and the live captures of others to feed the entertainment industry. This week, I spoke with a Japanese activist who has been to Taiji and witnessed not only the hunts but has also spoken at length to the people of Taiji. What he was told, did not surprise me. The animal rights movement campaigns against the dolphin slaughters is taken as a racist cultural suppression. The assumption that the practice of animal cruelty towards the dolphins by the Japanese means that everyone of that ethnicity or culture does it. Generalising a whole ethnicity of people is racism.

    The bitter dispute over the slaughters of dolphins in Taiji is best addressed by Japanese activists who better understand the culture and people and the manner in which to approach and inform and help make change happen. The racism in the campaigns against Japan for the most part goes unaddressed and is ignored continuously by the perpetrators who shrug it off saying that being called racist is common in the animal rights movement. Racism in animal rights also makes it harder to connect with people, or make campaigns or arguments that fit with people. For me, personally, this last campaign was the first time I had ever been called a racist. But it made me realize, almost instantaneously, that I was inadvertently hurting people with my ignorance. People that I don’t know and don’t understand. It was disrespectful and I feel stupid for responding to their complaints of racism by stating “It isn’t what I intended.” We are all connected to each other and unless we can respect each other the brutality in Taiji is never going to stop. That is why Ric O’Barry’s stance and the stance of the Earth Island Institute is one campaigns should follow. Work at the grassroots levels is what will bring about change in Taiji. Also, before we start pointing fingers at other countries and people, we need to check our own back yards.

    1. This is very informative Helen so thank you for coming back and posting more of what you alluded to in your original post. I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind? How can ordinary people part of groups of activist that are not official organizations ensure that they don’t become racist in their projects? How can they become more inclusive so that they don’t appear to be racist from the start? What would you suggest is an alternative when writing petitions (or for that matter any materials) addressing animal abuse issues? What do you mean by “working at grass level roots” and how can ordinary people and groups do this effectively?

      1. Sorry Kathy – I have been a little busy and somewhat precoccupied. I will look at your questions and respont this evening or the day after. Thanks!

  11. And I am adding my commentary now for Kathy on the issue of people cleaning up their own backyards ….

    Human awareness of the animal rights movement is growing. The principle of thinking and in turn acting is catching on, which is a great thing! You only have to look on social media platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram etc., to see that slowly people are waking up, finding their voice and starting conversations. But, while this new consciousness develops in great numbers, the political boundaries within countries still remain. People have more awareness and more knowledge but still have limited power outside their own country to physically effect or affect change in animal welfare rights issues. That being said, as a citizen of your own country, you do have the right and the opportunity to hold accountable your own government and businesses within your own country and that is really where the most change can happen, real change, not just awareness raising but real change.

    And there are so many ways to go about this. Individuals can become lobbyist for instance. Lobbying for change in animal rights and animal welfare, whatever the species or area is something tangible, especially if you can align your passion and expertise with an organization that is determined to make change happen.

    Awareness raising, outreach and grassroots campaigns are very effective and informative and are another way to reach people within your country and get people thinking and talking and discussing issues of importance. For instance, the Marineland issue that has garnered much media attention in Canada is starting to become more focused on the issue of how Canadian entertainment operations treat and care for the animals they “own”. In fact so much so that both the provincial and federal governments are now being questioned and called to act instead of spending years consulting. This is change! It’s real, it’s tangible and it’s achievable. Standing in your country and pointing fingers and accusing the people of another country of atrocities towards animals is not going to affect or affect changes to how they treat their animals. It does raise awareness, even garners international media attention for short periods of time before focus is averted to the next big story. And the countries condoning their actions, just keep on doing what they do anyway. Taiji, Japan is a good example of that. They have been slaughtering dolphins in the infamous “Cove” for more years than we even want to imagine. And they have received significant negative media attention, but they have not stopped yet. The only way they will stop is when the people of Japan lobby their provincial and federal government to ban dolphin slaughters. The only way that is going to happen is when individuals and international organizations like Save Japan Dolphins work closely with grassroots organizations to perform outreach and awareness raising campaigns in communities within Japan. This will help change the situation and its one step. Another if for animal rights movement activists to do outreach and awareness campaigns in their own countries to address issues of captivity. The more people that know and fully understand the arguments against captivity and realize the importance of ending captivity within the country, the less demand there is for live captures. And the more countries doing the better the chances of effecting change for the lives of dolphins.

    It’s not rocket science. And this principle can be applied to any animals, whether they are elephants being poached on the plains of Africa or the orcas being held captive by SeaWorld in facilities all over the planet.

    And then there is the overarching money issue in all of this. Governments will not speak out against other governments because they all have animal welfare issues in their own country, but also because most economies are supported and carried by trade and investment agreements between countries. So, for instance, I live in Canada and I know the amount of trade and investment between Japan and Canada (and it’s a lot) and I know my government is not going to officially go on the record to encourage Japan to end the dolphin slaughters because they don’t want to lose the trade and investment that helps support the Canadian economy. Boycotting a country and products from that country doesn’t work either (but personally it’s my little way of saying I’m not going to support the payment of dolphin slaughters (for instance) in Taiji). What does work, is teaching about the ills of captivity, holding your own government accountable for the animals already in its care (say orcas, whales or dolphins if you like) and finally demanding an end to the import and capture of these animals within the country. India recently did it for dolphins. So can any country. And it starts with grassroots organizations or people or activists getting the conversations going, implementing the outreach and awareness campaigns and lobbying governments for change.

    These kinds of activities I believe can do more in the long run and have greater success than a group of angry people shouting at a distant country or government or institution expecting them to listen and change their ways. Sure, it sometimes happens, but not very often.

    I am no expert, I don’t have all the answers and I can’t say that anything suggested above will make any changes, but I do know, from personal experience, that there are more chances of success on grassroots campaigns where you can physically be a force for good, than trying to enforce moral and humane culture from a distance.

    1. I better understand your original argument now and I also understand why there was retaliation. It’s a fine line the animal rights movement walks. I also think I understand what you mean by working at the grass roots level. What you’re saying is that organizations with international recognition and standing can work in an official capacity in countries with local organizations and groups of people to carry out the raising of awareness and help inform them with changes to legislation. And in the background in other countries groups of people can work with local communities to also raise awareness, funding to support the collaborative work in the ‘offending country’ and highlight the plight of an animal species. But individuals and groups can also to do their part to raise awareness of issues within their own country and work toward making their own country a better place for animals. I like what you said and it helps me understand what I should be doing and it will make me better at what I do. Thank you!

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