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The Oscar-winning 2009 documentary The Cove serves as a thrilling and poignant advocacy tool promoting activism to save free-roaming dolphins off the coast of Japan from kidnapping, enslavement in marine parks, and slaughter for meat. This essay evaluates the ethical and social justice implications of The Cove not just for dolphins but for the animal rights movement as a whole, particularly in terms of how it could challenge the ethicality of humans killing any nonhuman animals for food. Strategic media recommendations are made for how animal protection advocates could better deconstruct the human/animal dualism that is at the root of speciesist exploitation and how they should avoid privileging one charismatic species at the expense of other animals.


This article, originally published in the Journal for Critical Animal Studies, is made available here with the premission of the publisher, the Institute for Critical Animal Studies.