December 25, 2011
Operation Infinite Patience: December 25, 2011
Christmas in Taiji
For the free-swimming dolphins of the Japanese Pacific coast, this Christmas day is one free of murder and mayhem. However, there are many dolphins in Taiji who have recently been forced from the open ocean. They had to endure being ripped from their families and then listening to those family members being killed. Now they are incarcerated in small enclosures and are completely dependent upon marine mammal trainers for their sustenance. If they do not perform the required tricks, they do not eat.
These dolphins have no idea why this happened to them. They did nothing wrong (except choosing to live close to Japan). They have no idea how long they must live this way. If they knew it were a life sentence, how many would choose to die instead? They are there because of human greed and arrogance. We do not usually think of these aspects of humanity at Christmas. It is easier to pretend that there is goodness in humanity. Should you or your family visit a captive dolphin park this holiday season or during this coming year, think of these things. Ask yourself how you are supporting greed and arrogance.
A Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian and Dutch citizen is also sitting in a tiny enclosure near Taiji on this Christmas day. He did nothing wrong (except choosing to challenge greed and arrogance in Japan). He is being held in the Shingu city police station detention center and has no idea how long he must live that way. In Japan, there is no presumption of innocence. Instead, there is a presumption of guilt and one can be held without charges for up to 23 days. Erwin Vermeulen was taken away by the police on December 16; falsely accused of pushing one of those marine mammal trainers. How is that for irony?
Sea Shepherd has retained a reputable law firm and the attorneys are working hard for Erwin’s release. They see him everyday, but no one else is allowed to visit him. The prosecutor will decide on December 27 whether or not to ask the court to hold him for another ten days of investigation. Our attorneys and the translators are expensive and the police have not yet returned my laptop or hard drives. Any donations to help defray these costs are most appreciated.
There is some light and hope on this Christmas day. The Sea Shepherd vessels and crews are out on the high seas away from their families too, but they have intercepted the illegal whaling fleet far north of the killing fields. No whales have been killed and with their efforts, perhaps none will be.
The Cove Guardians continue in our vigil in Taiji. We will be here throughout this killing season, which is expected to end on March 31. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining us on the ground. If you cannot join us, please consider helping us to cover our expenses. The most significant thing you can do is to keep the phone calls, emails, faxes, and letters streaming into the Japanese embassies and consulates the world over. Your efforts will lead to end of the horror in Taiji.
Cove Guardian Campaign Coordinator
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Captive dolphins in pens at the cove in Taiji, Japan (:37)