by Lina Vergara Huilcamán

Taiji is a Japanese bay, also called “bloody bay”, where hundreds of dolphins are killed every year with the aim of capturing some of them for aquariums and dolphinariums throughout the world. Sometimes, up to 250 dolphins are slaughtered in one go: entire families with calves, a community, just like ours, with strong family ties and a common language, of which only one dolphin will be saved and sentenced to be imprisoned for all of his life and perform shows for the enjoyment of us humans.
For years, Sea Shepherd has been carrying out a campaign in Taiji whose goal was to show the world what was going on in that blood-covered bay (there is a beautiful gory documentary on this subject: THE COVE). Until Paul Watson, the captain and founder of Sea Shepherd, decided to change strategy and attack the economy that supports this unjustified massacre: aquariums.
Paul decided to give up fishing boats and to focus on the money that pushes these boats into the sea by starting an information campaign in schools to tell children about what they contribute to every time they visit an aquarium or a dolphinarium to see dolphin, killer whale or seal performances.
The dolphin that survives the massacre in which it has seen and heard its mother and family die is imprisoned, locked in a tiny concrete concentration camp full of lifeless water, where it learns that it will have to obey humans in order to eat dead fish he would never even touch in the wild. In this concentration camp it won’t be able to communicate with the other dolphins because it won’t find its own language, the language of his family. It won’t be able to find its way around because a concrete tank is like a room full of mirrors. It will no longer be able to swim or hunt freely. It won’t be able to have a family nor teach its calves to become dolphins.
This dolphin will turn into a clown and live to entertain mammals who pay a ticket to see it. This ticket, these millions of tickets that are sold every year throughout the world to see dolphins, are responsible for the suffering and the unjustified slaughter of hundreds upon hundreds of these wonderful animals. If children don’t want to go see dolphins anymore, then fishermen will stop capturing and slaughtering them, and they will no longer be imprisoned in aquariums.
The purpose of Operation 404 is to provide evidence in schools of how aquariums and dolphinariums are run, to make children and young people understand what the ticket they pay for their visit is really worth, the madness and sadness to which dolphins succumb inside these prisons.
All dolphinariums should be closed and become a thing of the past.
What would happen to the approximately 1200 dolphins imprisoned in aquariums throughout the world, now unable to survive in the wild?
Let’s ask dolphins whether they would prefer to spend their life in prison and live a life of madness or to live just one day, but in freedom.
to be continued…