Philippines Warns Citizens about Toxic Dolphin Meat
By Ric O’Barry
The government of the Philippines has issued a warning to its people that eating dolphin meat poses a toxic hazard. The killing and possession of meat from dolphins, whales, sea turtles and manta rays is illegal in the Philippines.
Dr. Alessandro Ponzowith the Philippine Information Agency issued a press release noting that such meat is often highly contaminated with mercury and should not be eaten by anyone. “These large marine animals are on top of the food chain and their consumption of pollution-contaminated fish makes their bodies a collector of these toxic substances.” The press release notes that eating them puts one at risk of the Minamata disease.
“Many tests since 2001 have shown dolphin and whale meat to be extremely toxic with high levels of mercury, way above the government standard safe level of .4 parts per million.”
It is encouraging that the Philippines government is working to educate its people about the dangers of mercury contamination and poisoned dolphin meat.
Why is the Japanese Fisheries Agency and Health Agency refusing to take similar steps in that country? Instead, the Japanese government is poisoning its own people by encouraging killing and eating dolphin and whale meat.
They should be ashamed of themselves!
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Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.
In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.
From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.
Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.
O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.
His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.