Flipper trainer-turned-activist speaks out for 'Cove' screening 

Original Flipper trainer Ric O’Barry, who became an activist, helped filmmakers document dark secrets of the dolphin trade in the Academy Award-nominated film, “The Cove,” which screens Thursday at the Ocean Film Festival.

How did training Flipper shape your life as an activist? Having trained dolphins gives me a huge advantage because I understand both sides of the issue — pro-captivity and against captivity.

How do you use that advantage? When I’m debating with Sea World or Marine Land, or whatever it is, I have the advantage of having been on both sides of the fence.

Did “The Cove” footage bring attention to the Japanese town of Taiji, where dolphins are captured? Taiji ... has now become an international news story.

Do Japanese people know about the dolphin trade? There has been a blackout on all whale and dolphin stories. Dolphin meat is a product in Japan and it’s based on supply and demand.

Do you expect the film to be viewed in Japan now that it has been translated? I’ll be going back and spending all of spring and summer in Japan to try to reach 126 million people who have not seen “The Cove.” I think the film is the solution to the problem.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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