“If someone had told me a few years ago I would be speaking in Trafalgar Square at a peaceful demonstration, I wouldn’t have believed them.
I’ve loved animals since being a child. I’d watch the cowboy films with my Dad and when the fights broke out with the Indians I’d say, ‘I hope none of the horses get hurt!’
Thing is for years I’ve been marching through life trying to be this person I thought I was supposed to be – to be seen as successful.
It wasn’t until unexpected events turned my life upside down in 2010, I realised the world I was living in was a sham and that’s when I woke up to who I really was.
What I am trying to say is people and circumstances change and that’s what we are here today for, to raise awareness and encourage the change!”
Saturday January 17th 2015, I joined over a thousand people in London’s winter sunshine, helping to raise awareness about the truth behind dolphin and whale captivity. The peaceful demonstration started in Cavendish Square where Maisie Williams – Game of Thrones, families, children, pets, some in fancy dress, all in good spirits and with loud voices made their way to Trafalgar Square. Along the way leaflets were handed out to the passing public, explaining the horrific dolphin drives taking place in Taiji Japan and its strong links with the captive trade.
January 17th was also the first anniversary of one of Taiji’s most valuable captures, when on that day in 2014 over 250 bottlenose dolphins were ruthlessly driven into the cove. Probably one of the biggest pods the 26 fishermen had seen in a long time, the large family unit of cetaceans also included a rare albino calf swimming by her Mother’s side. ‘Angel’, as she is now known, was instantly ripped from her parent, whilst the remaining pod endured three days huddled together in shallow waters as trainers picked out the ones suitable for dolphinariums and marine parks. Approximately 35/40 dolphins were chosen for captivity, 60/70 slaughtered and the remaining pod all mercilessly dumped back into the sea.
Slaughter for a dolphin at the hands of the Taiji fishermen is probably the most unimaginable suffering any sentient being can go through and since the release of the academy award winning documentary The Cove in 2009, they now drag the dolphins under plastic tarps so their inhumane death cannot be witnessed.
Speaking alongside Dominic Dyer Care for the Wild International Badger Trust and Will Travers Born Free Foundation was a proud moment in itself, but being a voice for the voiceless, vulnerable and disadvantaged is what my heart has been trying to tell me to do for years.
“Hatred eats the soul of the hater, not the hated” ~Alice Hertz-Sommer (26.11.1903 -23.2.2014)
I will never judge Japan, because there isn’t one country who can point the finger, without three fingers pointing back at them in regards to animal welfare. No one is perfect, but then nothing in this world is permanent either. Everyone and any situation can change! I truly believe we can help to educate, we can help to encourage the change we wish to see in Taiji and around the world. Animals are not born with price tickets attached to them, they should not be exploited or slaughtered by humans in their pursuit of greed, pleasure or power.
A year on and ‘Angel’, like so many of the dolphins and whales she now represents is still captive, languishing in the Taiji Whale museum, a prize possession and without a shadow of a doubt making someone huge amounts of money! It was around the time of her capture I became aware of Taiji and it was then I made a promise never to turn my back on what was happening there.
From a little girl I have never questioned my love for every living creature I share the planet with, be it the tiniest spotted ladybird, or the biggest, most majestic of elephants. Like so many though, I lived in ignorance for a long time in regards to the immense cruelty bestowed upon non-human persons throughout the world. Ignorance can be bliss, but I do believe inspirational education is the key and it is these wonderful events that help to spread the word. Being with so many warm, compassionate people in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, gave joy to my heart and a sound belief that change is certainly on the horizon!
Initially published on 21/1/2015 with Huffington Post