February 11, 2011
Report from Taiji: February 11
All is quiet in Taiji today. The rain pours down outside my window, mixed with a bit of snow, and all twelve banger boats remain in the harbor due to the weather. This is the type of day the Cove Guardians hope for, as bad weather is a much welcomed, yet not a frequent enough occurrence here in Japan.
Tragically, 25 bottlenose dolphins lost their lives in the Cove on February 9th. At the start of the season, we believed there to be a moratorium against the slaughter of the bottlenose species. While it is unfair that one species of dolphin is more revered than another, the truth remains that the general public has, and will always have, a soft spot for any ‘Flipper’ dolphin. However, the dolphin killers of Taiji, Japan have proven on numerous occasions during this year’s season alone that they lack any inkling of affection for bottlenose dolphins or any other species of cetacean. During a recently released news segment on a Japanese television station, a reporter claimed that these men love dolphins just as much as any Western activist but they must have meat in their daily diets and dolphins are simply a resource. This statement is misguided on many different levels; every Cove Guardian here has lived without meat for years, and healthy vegetarians are living proof that meat is not a required staple in the human diet. As for these men loving dolphins just as much as those of us trying to save their lives…what a joke! If their idea of love involves ruthlessly slaughtering something they care for and then cooking its flesh on an open barrel fire in a parking lot, then there is no hope for me being able to understand their logic.
The twisted reality is that it is apparent that this little fishing village holds dolphins and whales in high regard; even the ambulances have dolphins painted on their sides. Our good Japanese friend was telling us one night that love is something that is not expressed in this culture. Husbands and wives are not affectionate and parents do not tell their children they love them. Hearing this broke my heart. Despite a difficult childhood myself, I simply cannot imagine never hearing my parents express their love for me. So then I suppose it’s not entirely farfetched that this town can love dolphins while slaughtering them. However, what they need to realize is that there is a vast world outside the perimeter of Taiji and they are slaughtering dolphins that belong in the wild, dolphins that migrate to other parts of the world, and provide enjoyment for people that see them in their natural habitat. If the cull continues, soon there will be no dolphins and while Japan will have had a major hand in that, humans in general will be to blame.
Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.
Here is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian. To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at email@example.com. We will get back to you, but please be patient. We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time. Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome. These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative. We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.
Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them. Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war. This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves. Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change. Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it. Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it. Make good consumer choices. Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade. All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.
For the dolphins,
Nicole, who will be assisting me during my time in Taiji, will share her experiences on her blog.