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December 31, 2011

Operation Infinite Patience: December 31, 2011

What Do Cove Guardians Do?

Cove Guardians Scott West, Luca Frattini, and Ethan Wolf.Cove Guardians Scott West, Luca Frattini, and
Ethan Wolf.
I sometimes hear criticism along the lines of, “I do not want to be a Cove Guardian, standing around and taking pictures of dead and dying dolphins.”  Believe me, I do not want to do that either, but unfortunately it is part of the mission.  If we were not here to document and report the atrocities, they would still occur.  They would occur in secret and these dolphins would die alone and forgotten.  By being here, we are able to demonstrate the lengths to which the murderers go to hide their deeds.  The shame these men must feel is quite evident.  The shame they bring to their country is monumental.  Without our being here to document their behavior, their shame would be a secret.

Cove Guardians do more than just photograph and document.  We are at the dock each morning when the killers make their plans for the day.  There is no time when they are free of us, or free of looking over their shoulders to see if we are watching.  We appear when and where they expect us and when and where they do not.   We are there to celebrate when they return empty handed from a hunt and we are there when they are torturing the unfortunate dolphins they do find.  We track the men and women who buy the bodies of the slain and we document the processing of the meat.  We are working on determining where that meat goes and who consumes it.  There is no aspect of the hunt, slaughter, or distribution that is free of our presence.

We cost the killers money and we cost the government money.  The killers must keep adding layers to their shields in order to hide their activities.  This of course takes time and money and makes their work all that more unpleasant.  The buyers must take extra precautions to hide themselves and their activities.  The drivers constantly scan their rear view mirrors, change their schedules, and take lengthy alternate routes.  There are now four different groups of police spending time in Taiji.  Many have been brought in from distant places and must stay here away from their families.  It is expensive.  They have even built a new police station at the cove because we are here.  The Japanese Coast Guard has uniformed and plain clothes members here now.  There are vessels and aircraft on patrol.  The citizens of Taiji want their sleepy little town back and resent the presence of the police as much as they resent our presence.

A Bottlenose nose dolphin shortly before its death.A Bottlenose nose dolphin shortly before its death.We believe the killers falsely report their kill numbers.  Now that we are here, we report the truth.  The light is on them and they scurry like insects into the corners and under their tarps.  Contrast their behavior with the men and women who catch and process fish.  Working in the same areas as the dolphin murderers, the true fishermen make no effort to hide their activities.  Yes, there is blood and gore associated with fishing, but the true fishermen are not ashamed of what they do.  They do not hide from the cameras and in near-by areas the fishermen invite tourists and their cameras to capture their work.  The Cove Guardians are also proud of what we do.  We do not shy from cameras and even post our portraits.  Let our critics say what they will.  The shame of the dolphin killers is clear.  If Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians were not here, the dolphin killers could hide in their shame.  We will not let them.

Direct action in Japan means holding our ground, not being intimidated by authority or threats, and continually speaking the truth against the lies that the Japanese authorities and media try to present to the Japanese public and to the world.

We have no intention of honoring or respecting the so-called fishermen or dolphin trainers in Taiji.  They are despicable excuses for human beings and bring great dishonor to their country and our species. We have no intention of befriending them or even conversing with them. We intend to offer no compromise. We will not even help their economy. We spend money in Japan, but not in Taiji. Our presence in Taiji costs them money for security. Should they eventually see their way clear to stop killing and capturing dolphins and other cetaceans, thenwe would be willing to help them.

Cove Guardians Ron Ball and Scott West.Cove Guardians Ron Ball and Scott West.However, the most important thing Cove Guardians do is to inform concerned and passionate people worldwide.  We keep the information flowing so the members of the army of dedicated dolphin defenders are able to call, write, fax, and email Japanese government officials in Tokyo, Wakayama, and the world over.  It is the pressure from outside that will bring about change from within.  In time, more and more Japanese citizens will also take up this effort.  We are seeing the growth of a concerned movement in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.  Japanese citizens are waking up to the reality that they cannot trust what their government and media tell them.  They are learning that the radiation is far worse than they were first told and are seeing for themselves the horrors inflicted upon animals in the seclusion zone.  The dirty secret of Taiji is getting out.

Ideally, we would have at least 8 Cove Guardians and 4 vehicles on the ground at all times.  It is expensive to come here and it is not without risk.  Dutch Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen remains in custody and is now awaiting trial.  He is strong and has the right stuff.  If you have the right stuff and the resources to join us, then write to me at coveguardian@seashepherd.org.  Minors are welcome if in the company of their parent or legal guardian.  The killing season is expected to run through the end of March 2012, and then will pick up again on September 1.  Sea Shepherd will be here.  Will you?


 
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