A few hundred years ago, Rene Descartes set the philosophical marker, “I think, therefore I am.” Do you think that dolphins can think?
It's probably fair to say that it's an unsettled question how intelligent dolphins are. The documentary film, “The Cove,” takes a stance way beyond this discussion. Along the way, it enlivens a taut report of eco-activism that rivals well-scripted Hollywood caper films.
“The Cove” exposes the billion dollar Japanese industry of supplying dolphins to perform in hundreds of theme parks around the world and supplying dolphin meat for human consumption.
Intellectually, it's an open discussion whether human beings should be conscripting dolphins into constricted lives for our amusement.
Intellectually, it's an open discussion whether dolphins should be one of the animals humans eat, even if we factor in how adorable and friendly they are and how intelligent they probably are.
Intellectually, facts contribute to open discussion. When facts are hidden, for instance the drug regimen in a performing dolphin's life, it's probably fair to suspect the business of providing dolphins for amusement.
When most dolphin meat is not marketed as dolphin meat, and when the level of mercury in most dolphin meat is unknown to the people eating it, it's probably fair to suspect the business of harvesting dolphins for food.
When a government seems to be trying to shape policy by purchasing the support of poor nations, it's probably fair to say that the powers that be are tampering with open discussion.
When institutionalized harassments discourage any awareness of how hundreds of dolphins are herded and slaughtered, what should we think?
The activists in “The Cove” risk arrest and harm. They go to great lengths to bring facts to the discussion.
There's plenty of reason not to want to think about yet another troubling consideration. How troubling do we think our relationship is with dolphins?
“The Cove” is a stylish and evocative documentary that stirs thought, including film's ability to stir in troubling feelings.