International Day of Protest Against the Japanese Dolphin Slaughter
December 10, 2003
Sea Shepherd, with the support of many activists around the world, held protests in 28 cities over the brutal annual killing of 22,000 dolphins and small whales in coastal towns in southern Japan. The thousands of letters, faxes and emails delivered a powerful global message to the Japanese Embassies and Consulates that the insane slaughter of these gentle, intelligent marine mammals must stop. Unless these hunts are banned by the Japanese government, future protests and direct intervention against these "dolphin roundups" will only escalate.
No one describes these atrocities better than Sea Shepherd's Taiji Dolphin Campaign leader Nik Hensey. Below is an excerpt from his field report.
"For nearly two months I have been stationed in Taiji, Japan and in that time have been witness to some of the most horrific acts of brutality and bloodshed against living, sentient beings. I have been forced to watch as "fishermen" drove spears into the heads of a small pod of Striped Dolphins and a week later, as the heat visibly rose from the open wounds of a recently killed whale, I videotaped the butchers while they hacked off her pectoral fins. I have seen a pod of nearly fifty terrified Pilot Whales frantically thrash about as the males in the pod sought to protect, to no avail, nursing mothers and newborns from the boats of the Taiji "fishermen," and I have experienced daily the mind-numbing callousness of a community of whalers who seek exemption from international condemnation by evoking notions of "culture" and "tradition".
With the crimson waters and bloody corpses of over one hundred whales and dolphins in the last two months I see no "tradition" being played out-only greed. These killers view the oceans as nothing more than a toilet and an asset to be liquidated. When they are not discarding their trash and oil into the water, urinating into the harbor, or tossing off their cigarette butts, this handful of men will go to any extreme to preserve their financial interests. They are not concerned that their hunting practices are unsustainable, nor do they care that dolphins are one of the most intelligent species on the planet--they are driven not by culture and certainly not by logic or compassion. My eyes see blood red, their eyes see only the color of money. Despite attempts to keep the rest of Japan and the world ignorant of the cruelty and impropriety that exists in Taiji, Japan, the whole world is watching."
Full report: http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/news-031124-1.html
Brisbane - Kent Gration (Sea Shepherd)
Our protest went really well, handed out heaps of flyers, had plenty of boards and gained a great awareness from the people that saw our protest. Just as I got to the protest site, I was greeted by a security attendee from the Brisbane special branch and the Vice Consulate General (Brisbane) and two other office staff, to whom I handed our letters of outrage (addressed to the Japanese Prime Minister), to and the artilce discussing mercury levels within dolphin and whale meat consumed in Japan. The Consulate had closed at the same time we were conducting our protest, so we were greeted by the delegation at the front of the building. The Japanese delegation did take pictures of us (with our boards), which was a bit ironic, just in the sense that they can take pictures of our protest and we're not aloud to take pictures of the slaughter.
Brussels- Yvon Godefroid Comitee for a Dolphinarium-free Belgium www.dauphinlibre.be/
This morning, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 30, a dozen of dolphin defenders gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy in Brussels, responding to the call of "Sea Shepherd".
Armed with panels denouncing the massacres of cetaceans in Taiji and elsewhere in Japan, the demonstrators distributed hundreds of leaflets to the many passers-by walking on this well-known avenue of Brussels. Japanese residents of the building seemed sincerely sorry of how the exactions of some fishermen could harm at this level the worldwide image of Japan.
Police of Brussels controlled from the beginning to the end this small demonstration, in a vigilant way but with benevolence: obviously, the cause of the dolphins touches the heart of everyone, even of the Belgian police force!
I'd already like to thank all the friends who joined me (some were delegated from BITE BACK and GAIA associations) and above all, these youngsters who came out from schools in the area and who, spontaneously, distributed leaflets alongside with us. This fact moved me a lot because it proves how deep the next generation is worrying about the future of our little Blue Planet. - Cheers Yvon.
Vancouver - Lani Lum-Watson (Sea Shepherd)
The Japanese Consulate in Vancouver decided to deal with our protest by closing down the office from 11 - 2pm! That didn't stop us from gathering signatures, talking to pedestrians, and handing out leaflets to people leaving the building during lunch hour. I will have a private meeting with the Consul to deliver our letter and signatures of opposition to the Taiji Dolphin slaughter. Throughout our protest we were under surveillance by police in cars, on motorbikes and on horseback. When I looked up and saw a policeman taking pictures from a building across the street, I held up my sign and he smiled and gave me a 'thumbs up" sign. It is almost universal the condemnation of Japan for killing dolphins and small whales. I would like to thank those who came out to support the protest, including 4 veteran Sea Shepherd crewmembers.
Paris - Mathieu Mauveray (Sea Shepherd) Muriel Arnal (One Voice)
The protest went on pretty well in Paris. We gathered more than 300 signatures on our petition. I will have an appointment with someone from the Embassy to give the petition to. Anyway, it's such a good news to hear that Allison & Alex are back and safe!
Munich - André Curry (Sea Shepherd)
Dec. 09. 2003
Together with Gudula Blau (Munich Peace Days), the Society For Protecting Dolphins, Animalpeace and us of Sea Shepherd Society Germany had an information table downtown Munich which Mrs. Blau organized. We approached by passers and informed them about the disaster in Japan asking them to sign the letter of petition. SSCS collected about 100 signatures.
Dec. 10. 2003
Animalpeace and Sea Shepherd had a demonstration in front of the Japanese Consulate in Munich. We were about 20 people altogether shouting "dolphins have the right to live, whales have the right to live, whoever kills them is a murderer" (translated). We had two big toy dolphins on the sidewalk and poured tomato sauce over them. Then two guys, dressed up as death, started stabbing them with harpoons. After two hours of (amusing) theatrical action, the Consul of Munich stepped out of the main entrance and grimly greeted us. I introduced us and myself and informed him about the slaughtering of dolphins in Taiji,Japan. Then I told him to stop this cruelty and handed him a folder with our letter and signatures we collected the day before.
Budapest - Veronika Kristof (Sea Shepherd)
Our demonstration in Budapest took place between 17.00-18.00 p.m. 10.12.2003 because of technical reasons (the neighbourhood of the embassy was closed due to a large diplomatic event). I was allowed to enter the embassy at 17.30 p.m. and I could hand over Sea Shepherd's petition and an information material in Hungarian to the ambassador of Japan. The invited media were not present because of current local political and economic events. The approach of police to the demonstration was absolutely correct and helpful. Unfortunately the "war" against whaling doesn't end with this day, so we will certainly take part in every future action, which may stop the cruel killing.
Dublin - John Carmody (Sea Shepherd)
The International Protest Against the Japanse Dolphin Slaughter went ok in Dublin. We held the demonstration outside of the Embassy for over an hour. We got a good few people talking about the issue.
Mexico City - Yolanda Alaniz (Comarino)
When we arrived at the embassy 5 police patrols were waiting for us. We spoke to the policemen and told us that the embassy asked for help for this demo. When we explained to them how fishermen kill dolphins they showed sympathy for us and even helped us to stay a few hours.
We were about 16 people. Some reporters came in and took some pictures. Comarino wrote a letter to the Japan ambassador, urging to stop the dolphins and whales killing. We were not aloud to enter to the embassy but a police of the embassy took the letter and returned a copy signed as received.
Since the Embassy is located on a very important avenue many people both driving and on foot stopped to see our demo and big announcement with the legend: Japan: stop the killing of whales and dolphins in Taiji.
By the morning one of the bets newspapers of Mexico wrote an article including a picture of the killing. It was of a full page and excellent and impressive article, about COMARINO protest. Later we learned that the Japan Ambassador called the editor of the newspaper asking for space to _explain_ the reasons of the killing. The editor answer to him that when the ambassador has the news that no more dolphins are killed this brutal way in Japan, he will dedicate a full page to this new, not before. We learned this at night when Laura Rojas, who is the coordinator of this event and I attended to a radio show about this issue.
The Hague - Kathryn Sedman (Sea Shepherd)
Our protest group decided -as its absolutely freezing cold and we're all "old people" that we'd freeze our collective selves off by standing outside the Japanese Embassy. Its situation means that we'd probably be ignored too. So we went for the "armchair radical" approach by doing the phoning, faxing and emailing of the Embassy from 10 until 4pm. We have also leafletted the university and asked others to join in the protest.
Denver - Kristal Parks (Sea Shepherd)
Just a note to say that 6 of us braved the freezing cold after a recent snow storm to stand outside the Japanese consulate once more. In spite of the cold, we were THRILLED to be there to do our small part to alert people about the slaughter of dolphins and the wonderful work on their behalf by SSCS. With gratitude, Kristal www.kristalparks.com
Honolulu, Hawaii - Cathy Goeggel (Animal Rights Hawaii)
Sunday, 12.14.03 Kapi'olani Park
We had placards with very graphic photographs, a petition to President Koizumi, and several hundred flyers. We got our message out to a large number of the 15,000 Japanese runners who completed the Honolulu Marathon. Sue Johnson recorded a message to the Japanese people about the slaughter at the Japan TV booth. Mahalo nui to Helen Wells, Sue Johnson, Machiko Mann, Melissa Rosenberger, Dan Hoedemaker and Wayne Johnson - for making the day a success. Melissa produced the flyers, made the posters and Machiko wrote the petition letter in Japanese.
Los Angeles - Scott Sheckman (Sea Shepherd)
The second Los Angeles Protest Against Japanese Dolphin & Whale Slaughter began promptly at 11am on Dec. 10 in front the skyscraper containing the Japanese Consulate office in busy downtown LA.
Approximately 25 people participated in the demonstration, including many of the volunteers who participated in the Nov. 4 demo and many new faces. Thank you to everyone who joined, made signs, and gathered signatures - we garnered just about 200 signed letters to the Japanese prime minister and handed out over 300 flyers!
We were able to park two vehicles in front of the plaza and taped Sea Shepherd banners to them.
Sea Shepherd Taiji activist Nik Hensey helped lead the protest and was interviewed by AP camera crew and provided them a tape containing new footage from Taiji, including the net release by Allison and Alex. Nik and a few other protesters tried to enter building to go direct to the consulate, but were intercepted by building security at the front of the lobby. LAPD was also on the scene, but did not get involved.
At 1:45p, security led Scott Sheckman and Nik Hensey to a brief meeting with the LA Japanese Consulate, Tomohide Toyama, and his aids outside the entrance to the back lobby. Sea Shepherd volunteer and videographer, Ron Colby, tried to film from a distance, but was foiled by security.
Nik summarized to the consulate his experience in Taiji explaining that it's a handful of whalers who are creating this problem for Japan, and Scott stated that these campaigns and protests will continue until Japan stops the slaughter. The consulate was provided a copy of the flyers both in English and Japanese and the letter to the PM. The consulate and his aids were polite, soft spoken and said they would look into the issue further. Nik will send them a VHS tape so they can see things for themselves.
San Francisco (December 13th) - Suzanne Roy (In Defense of Animals) Mark Berman (Earth Island Institute)
Protest in San Francisco Area this Saturday, December 13th
We had about 10 people - including 4 children (one of whom was my daughter!) in dolphin hats. The rally looked nice, but again we got no media coverage. We got lots of support from pedestrians and cars passing by, though. Suzanne
Edinburgh, Scotland - Corine Roux (Sea Shepherd)
The second protest organised for Sea Shepherd in Scotland went well. After thinking I would end up on my own, 2 other people turned up so we were a staggering 3 demonstrators in front of the Japanese consulate. I had made a bannister saying "Japan - Stop killing Dolphins" The people of Scotland were very responsive and supportive. Scotland has the largest resident dolphins community in Europe and I think it helps as people can relate better to the animals. I had gathered 380 signatures/letters of protest that we handed over to the Japanese representative. He listened to us but would not comment, surprisingly enough!! We were lucky as the weather was dry until 12.00 noon when we decided to break off. I hope that you had a lot of succesful protest all around the world.
Take care. Corine
London, England - Liz Sandersan and Margaux Dodd (The Marine Connection) www.marineconnection.com
The protest outside the Japanese Embassy in London went very well, supported by The Marine Connection, Cetacea Defence and Campaign Whale. There were approx 30 people.
It was a very colourful and vocal protest, with loads of banners, model dolphins and porpoises and of course, one of The Marine Connection's resident campaigning dolphin "Dougal" who has been at every demo since the closure of Windsor Safari Park here in the UK and is still going strong. Letters were handed in to the Embassy, along with a wreath, for all the dolphins and whales who has died, at the hands of Japanese fishermen.