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February 25, 2011

Report from Taiji: February 25

Blood soaks the killing cove after a slaughter. Photo: Nicole McLachlanBlood soaks the killing cove after a slaughter. Photo: Nicole McLachlanAfter four days of rough seas and rain that kept the banger boats secured in the harbor, today was a day for the Taiji dolphin killers to replenish their freezers with mercury-laden meat. A pod of around 30 striped dolphins were driven and ruthlessly slaughtered in the killing cove. Present at the beach to witness today’s events was a Japanese American father from Manhattan and his seven-year-old son. When asked what he thought about the slaughter, the father replied that he thought it “was great,” and claimed to eat dolphin and whale meat, yet the son had never eaten either.

We currently have a Japanese-speaking Cove Guardian amongst us, and thus we’ve been able to have several long, overdue conversations with the women that work at the hotel we occupy. These women are fantastic and even gave Nicole and I flowers for our birthdays. They told us that many of the locals enjoy our presence and feel that we “have brought happiness to the town.” They also claimed that more locals are talking about Sea Shepherd in general and that all the restaurants we frequent enjoy having us.

Today’s events consisted of both good and bad. We unfortunately witnessed firsthand that the next generation is being subjected to the dolphin slaughter, which is portrayed to them in a positive light, and that they are being taught that the drive is culture, therefore a natural part of everyday living. On the other hand, we connected on an important level with standing members in this little community. We were able to tell our side of the story and hear the thoughts of the local people that we see on a daily basis. With this headway made, Nicole and I prepare to leave Japan. I’ve never felt so torn about anything in my life but I will go with the knowledge that I have fought for something I’m passionate about, I have forged new friendships that will last a lifetime, and I have used my voice to speak out.

Workers offload fish at the Katsuura marketWorkers offload fish at the Katsuura marketSpread 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

Yellow fin tuna line the floor at the Katsuura fish marketYellow fin tuna line the floor at the Katsuura fish market A father and his young son watch as a pod of striped dolphins are driven into the killing coveA father and his young son watch as a pod of striped dolphins are driven into the killing cove

 

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


 
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