Tag Archives: Jiyu

For Jiyu, Faith, Hope and all the captives of the aquarium industry

Humans have created an unnatural world in which they, or some of them, think they can tell others who they are. It just isn’t true that humans have that power or that right: others aren’t food, aren’t clothing, aren’t entertainment, aren’t research projects. They are who they are. They are their birthright, not some small fraction of it that we say we have the power to allow them.

This is why Jiyu is so important to me. Jiyu was an individual. Jiyu was a failure in the human machine. Jiyu didn’t do what we told her to do. And Jiyu died because of the arrogance of man, that he thought he could control her.

I think of her and honor her life every day, as do others who worked to try to save her and continue to work to save the rest. Those on the ground working to save Jiyu were Heather Hill, Rosie Kunneke, Martyn Stewart and others whose names I do not know.

Heather Hill, whose image of Jiyu inspires me every day, has made this beautiful reminder of that very principle: The All-One – many call that God – tells them who they are, not we newcomers to this vast and wondrous Universe. Thank you, Heather, for this perfect tribute to those who would not go gentle into that dark, not good, night of captivity.

For Jiyu. Forever.

Cove Blue for Jiyu

Jiyu, in her last hours

Jiyu, in her last hours; Photo by Heather Hill

First, I have changed the name of my blog from “Mo’s Blog” to “Cove Blue for Jiyu.”  The rest of this post explains why, somewhere in between the lines.

The life and death of Jiyu the dolphin struck me deeply.  As has been discussed by myself and others, Jiyu was snatched from a free life in the ocean, having witnessed some or all members of her pod being killed, placed into a small sea pen with other dolphins unknown to her and with whom she likely could not communicate, only to languish and then be killed when her value as meat outstripped her value as entertainment.

We cannot bring Jiyu back, and she is at least free from the torturous existence epitomized by the captivity industry, but Jiyu is a bellwether for me.  She is a bellwether for what can happen when a system that is allowed to benefit corporate entities and a few people is allowed

  • to utilize marketing to hide the truth from those outside that system, and
  • to count upon the lack of political or individual will to demand that truth.

I will never forget her.  I will never stop working for dolphin freedom, or the freedom of all creatures, including homo sapiens, to live the life that this planet provides for them naturally, unharassed and untrammeled by unsustainable systems.

If you have read some of my other pieces, you may have ascertained, while wading through my inarticulateness, that my core belief is in the inherent dignity and unity of all life.  That all are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.  I also believe that the logical imperative for a right to be inalienable is that it cannot be purchased with a price that includes compromising or extinguishing even one of another’s inalienable rights.

Human beings appear to have, however, set themselves apart from the rest of the organic and inorganic parts of this Earthly paradise and to merely consider this paradise to be “theirs” to unsustainably, that is, without regard for inalienable rights:

  • extract both substance and information;
  • anoint certain species, that would be all 8.7 million species except homo sapiens (translates, I believe ironically, to be “wise man”),  to be here on Earth for the enjoyment, sustenance, and curiosity of themselves;
  • justify this anointing of themselves as above all others under the auspices of certain religions and mythologies;
  • procreate without regard for how it impacts our ability to respect the inalienable rights of other species, or indeed, of the ecosystem in which our species found ground fertile enough to grow (again, under the auspices of dot dot dot);
  • having procreated beyond a sustainable number that respected the inalienable rights of our fellow Earthlings, in which I include plants, run roughshod over this delicate and graceful Earth by developing unsustainable systems to feed, shelter and clothe that unsustainable human population.

We, this opposable thumb species, take it as our birthright to create any problem and to sell any solution that someone will buy, whether it will crash the entire system.

For Jiyu, I pledge to be part of creating a sustainable world, built upon the truth of  inalienable rights.  It isn’t just about creating a world that respects the dignity of the Earth’s most intelligent species.  It’s also about creating one that truly respects the dignity of humans, too.

That one may catch you on the way home.

Cove Blue for Jiyu.

Photo by Greg Huglin

Photo by Greg Huglin

A few words and a moment of silence for Jiyu

Jiyu a dolphin who couldn't withstand captivity Taiji Cove

Jiyu a dolphin who couldn’t withstand captivity, photo by Heather Hill of Save Japan Dolphins

To those who think that dolphin captivity is a benign enterprise, meet Jiyu, one of its latest casualties.  To those who go to the dolphin show, whether Sea World, the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, or another, the dolphins you see in the show are the ones who made a successful transition from living in the wild to captivity or the progeny of those who made that transition.

What is central to this transition?  Force-feeding.  Wild dolphins catch and eat live fish.  Once they have been deprived of the ability to feed themselves, they must be motivated by food-deprivation (hunger) followed by force-feeding to accept dead fish as food.

Hand down the throat

Hand down the throat, photo by Martyn Stewart

What does force-feeding of a dolphin look like?  In a nutshell, the first trainers these dolphins will ever see must “break” them to accept a small enclosure.  The trainers, or most appropriately called “breakers”, force their hands down the throats of dolphins pushing dead fish to the point in their throats where the dolphins are unable to spit it out.  Over and over and over, until the dolphin accepts dead fish from the hands of people as their food.

You won’t see that from the trainers at Sea World or the Georgia Aquarium, because the first trainers somewhere else performed that ugly task.  The show trainers may still need to perform force-feeding, but they don’t typically do that in front of you.  They save that for the back-tanks.  After the show.

But what about the dolphins that do not make the transition from a free life to captivity and become a casualty?  Meet Jiyu, who was snatched from the wild, languished, unable to make the transition, unable to accept dead fish as food.

The trainers, realizing that she was a “lost cause” for the show or breeding in captivity, stopped caring for her.  And now she has disappeared from this miserable pen, and is likely in a grocery store, in the human food chain.

I am sorry, Jiyu.  Someday there will be no more dolphin shows or trainers whose  job it is to dominate and force-feed you.  Someday there will be trainers whose job it is to teach your kind to learn how to fish and be returned to the ocean where you deserved to live out your life.

And now, reader, please have a moment of silence to honor the life of Jiyu and the others who have fallen due to the captive dolphin industry.

Thank you to Martyn Stewart for the images of the breaker and Heather Hill for the video of Jiyu.  For more information, see Champions for Cetaceans, My Porpoise Driven Life and Suite 101.