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February 18, 2011

Report from Taiji: February 18 (new video)

Cove Guardians photograph an offshore capture from Mountain PassCove Guardians photograph an offshore capture
from Mountain Pass
Culture and tradition are two words that seem to be heard quite often in regards to the Taiji dolphin slaughter, and while we all know that these claims are a ridiculous attempt to justify the actions that happen in this tiny little town, the events of the past few weeks have disproven every single claim and then some. Perhaps harvesting intelligent beings from the sea was a tradition once-upon-a-time but it’s obvious that this is a part of Taiji’s history that needs to remain in the past. However, these men can in no way, shape, or form claim that taking dolphins captive is part of their so-called culture or tradition, and the fact that they try to pass it off as such is an insult and a slap in the face to the rest of the world.

There has not been a slaughter since the 9th of February, but there have been two offshore captures, one in which two dolphins escaped the nets and were chased by several banger boats for more than half an hour. We’ve all had the terribly frightening dreams in which you’re being chased by something unknown and therefore dangerous. While I was watching from the Mountain Pass as these two dolphins were being chased and herded by my own kind, all I could think was that they must be absolutely terrified. If a human were to intentionally induce that level of fear in another human, they would be considered a monster. If a human took another human captive and held them in a tiny room where they were forced to perform slave labor, the world would be horrified that someone was capable of such cruelty. Yet here in Taiji, it happens nearly every single day and the world turns a blind eye and calls it tradition. Why is the world so afraid to stand against this? Why did Hollywood’s A-listers make a PSA about how this needs to stop yet bail out when it was time to get down and dirty?

A man places his catch over the footrest of his scooter. Photo: Nicole McLachlanA man places his catch over the footrest of his
scooter. Photo: Nicole McLachlan
The Cove Guardians and I are regular people with no media influence, no red carpet and definitely no financial success, but we gave up our lives to be here and fight for something that we believe is wrong. We have invested our blood, sweat, tears, and our reputations in the eyes of Japan to raise awareness for these creatures that need us. Those of you that have stood by us and offered precious support are truly the backbone of this campaign and we will be eternally grateful. Every single time I witness a slaughter or a capture, I am astounded that this is allowed to continue. However, with the latest news of the Japanese whaling fleet pulling out of the Southern Ocean, comes a glimmer of hope for the dolphins of Taiji.

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 coveguardian@seashepherd.org.  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,

Libby Katsinis

Taiji dolphin killers load nets onto the gutting barge for an offshore capture
on February 18th

Video credit: Sea Shepherd (:46)

 

A dolphin jumps for feeding time at Dolphin BaseA dolphin jumps for feeding time at Dolphin Base

Nicole, who will be assisting me during my time in Taiji, will share her experiences on her blog.


 
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