The Cove: An Analysis Of Argumentation For Animal Rights

1076 words - 5 pages

The Cove is a film of activism, a film meant to move the hearts of individuals who love and support the rights of mammalian sea-dwellers like that of whales, porpoises, and most importantly dolphins. Produced in 2009 by the Oceanic Preservation Society it offers a unique perspective, when compared with other activist documentaries. In The Cove the producer and co-founder of the Oceanic Preservation Society was actually personally involved in the filming efforts and worked directly with dolphin trainer Richard O’Barry in drawing light on the events occurring in a private cove in the city of Taiji, Japan. The documentary is, of course, very biased towards the topic, with obvious pro-animal rights leanings supported indirectly with a strong utilitarian basis. When analyzing documentaries such as this it is vitally important to take as objective a perspective as possible, though humanity tends to be innately prone to bias, and scrutinize through perspectives that have established ethical guidelines.
The utilitarian foundation of argumentation indirectly taken by the producers of this film is one that focuses on the consequences as a means of determining what one ought to do. Utilitarianism argues one ought to commit acts that affects invoke more pleasure than pain or suffering. In the case of The Cove, Richard O’Barry and Louie Psihoyos , as well as other individuals chosen for the task of videotaping and creating the exposé, continually argue a few major points. One area where Richard O’Barry disagrees but the others seem to care little is the fact that dolphins are herded and initially chosen for performance purposes at water parks around the world. This showcases the manner in which many see the positives of entertaining individuals combined with the life of captivity of a dolphin is a not such a negative thing, as few acts of suffering or pain exist in this situation. Psihoyos notably says prior to the film credits, “Why didn’t they set them free?” (The Cove). This presents the divergence in ethical agreement by the producers comes with the slaughter of the dolphins rather than the use of animals for public entertainment. Areas of ethical disagreement on part of the movie producers are extremely unambiguous and surround the needless slaughter of 23,000 dolphins per year, and the donation of mercury poisoned meat to children in Taiji schools as a means of supporting the slaughtering by the Taiji local government (The Cove). The OPS’s reasoning against these situations is primarily concerned that dolphins are potentially intelligent beings whose exploitation hurts their population—and one cannot doubt killing 23,000 of a species could be potentially harmful to any species in a given geographic location—as well as being deemed entirely needless except for greed by squeezing all possible profits out of the fishing profession. As for mercury poisoning, the potential suffering and danger posed to Taiji youth consuming poisoned Dolphin has no...

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