How They Kill


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The fishermen in villages like Taiji, go out in small boats to known dolphin migratory routes. Positioning their boats strategically, they space out to form a line and wait for the dolphins. When the dolphins arrive, the fishermen drop long metal pipes into the water, and by banging on the pipes they create a wall of sound. The sound interferes with the dolphins' ability to navigate - it disorients and panics them. The dolphins swim away from the sound, and the fisherman maneuver their boats herding them into a small shallow bay. Once in the bay, nets are drawn across the mouth of the bay to keep them penned in.

a net across the bay traps defenseless dolphins

The fishermen usually injure a few of the captive dolphins with a spear thrust or a knife slash - dolphins will not abandon these wounded family members.

the peaceful cove before the slaughter fishing fleet departs
fleet at sea fishing boats return
the bay fills with blood the slaughter continues

Trapped in the shallow water, the dolphins mill about trying to stay as far from land as possible until the next morning. In the morning, the fishermen draw the nets in, forcing the dolphins closer to shore where they kill them by stabbing and slashing them with knives and hooks. The dolphins thrash about for as long as six minutes each as they slowly bleed to death, turning the sea literally red with their blood.

After the massacre, the bodies of the dolphins are taken to a slaughter house to be butchered. The meat is severely contaminated but is sold without warnings in supermarkets in Japan - supermarkets often owned by US and European chains.

dead dolphins off to market


Japan Illegally Kills Small Whales

Japan is a member of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In 1986, the IWC's moratorium on the killing of whales went into effect. Under the terms of the IWC, Japan is permitted to kill a limited number of whales under the "scientific research" exception. This "scientific research" exception is, in reality, simply a loophole which Japan exploits in order to kill whales for commercial consumption, but Japan is not permitted to kill any other whales protected by the IWC.

Observers have seen the fishermen at Taiji slaughtering entire pods of small pilot whales. That is a wholesale violation of the provisions of the International Whaling Commission and is plainly illegal. It is simply ignored by the Japanese government.