Day 343: Bays of Shame - Dolphins Murdered in the Name of Money

Fanalei villagers on the island of Malaita in the Soloman Islands have slaughtered close to 900 dolphins in retaliation for a payment dispute with Earth Island Institute (EII), a Berkeley, Calif., non-profit group that provided financial compensation to the villagers in return for their ceasing to hunt and sell dolphins and dolphin products.
The dolphin slaughter reportedly occurred after villagers refused to renew a memorandum of understanding with EII that expired in April 2012, the Solomon Times reports. Villagers claim EII promised them $2.4 million Solomon Island Dollars (about $335,000 U.S.) to stop trading dolphins and dolphin-derived products for two years, but only received $700,000.
“The issue of them going back fishing for and killing dolphins was on the understanding that Earth Island had been reluctant to pay the agreed amount that was due to the community,” Atkin Fakaia, Chairman of the Fanalei Honiara Association, explained to Radio Australia. “They were just disappointed and dissatisfied over the attitude of Earth Island.”
Fakaia told the Solomon Star News that villagers had to kill the dolphins to trade their meat and teeth for money in order to survive in the local economy.
EII disputes those claims, however. EII director Lawrence Makili told Radio Australia that after $300,000 was invested in individual communities, a group in the capital seized the rest of the funds and did not distribute them.
“The renegade group grabbed funds that were supposed to go to the community and that resulted in a lot of the discord,” David Phillips, who oversees international dolphin protection efforts for Earth Island, told the Guardian. “In our view there are proper charges of corruption in what has happened in the community.” - Huffington Post, Ryan Grenoble

Earth Island Institute is the same organisation that made the documentary The Cove which won a Oscar in 2010. This article was written at the end of January, but the dolphin killings continued at least through February, the toll estimated for the year so far is 1700 dolphins killed.

It always comes back around to money. The islanders kill the dolphins in order to survive since the dolphins form such a large part of their income and diets - but when offered compensation, they killed no more dolphins. The same would be applicable to any trader of animals - elephant and rhino poachers, puppy mill operators, factory farmers, slaughter house workers, whale hunters... Offer them money to be able to live comfortably without having to do the things they do and they will gladly accept. There are very few people who truly revel in the pain of other living beings, so most would be absolutely relieved to be able to stop their bloody jobs.

The things we do to survive - most of the time we would really rather not do them. We cannot blame the rhino poachers for trying to feed their families when they have to alternative choices - this is exactly what we must change: the necessity to fight and struggle just for our basic rights. To what extent does the struggle for survival penetrate our lives? How much of what we do (in relation to our daily existence) is centered around solely making money to survive, instead of exploring life and enjoying ourselves?

How many of us can even say that the majority of our day is spent enjoying life? Not many. Most of our days are taken up with working to earn money to buy food and pay bills to live another day to maybe one day in the future save up enough money to stop working so that we can actually start enjoying life. How many animals would be saved from slaughter or from miserable lives if we, the masters of Planet Earth, weren't so preoccupied with our own survival? The excuses we use to keep on living the way we do are wearing out - how much evidence do we need to show us that there are more than enough resources and that we are more than capable of developing new and innovative ways to solve problems?