Shannen Doherty, known for her starring roles on the hit television series “Charmed” and “Beverly Hills, 90210,” has arrived in Taiji, Japan to join Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s dolphin and small whale defense campaign, Operation Infinite Patience.
Doherty arrived in Taiji Friday afternoon (Japan time) and for several days will stand with Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians along the shores of Taiji as they document and live stream to the world the brutal drive hunt and capture of dolphins and pilot whales in Taiji’s infamous killing cove. Doherty, a dedicated supporter of Sea Shepherd, will bear witness with the Cove Guardians and shine a bright, international spotlight on the atrocities committed against cetaceans in Taiji.
“We are thrilled to have Shannen Doherty join the Cove Guardians in Taiji. Her presence will bring worldwide attention to what is happening to these intelligent, socially complex marine mammals in the cove, and help apply even more pressure on Japan to end the killing,” said Sea Shepherd Senior Cove Guardian Leader, Melissa Sehgal. “On Valentine’s Day, Shannen joined Sea Shepherd for our ‘World Love for Dolphins Day’ demonstration in Los Angeles, along with thousands of people in cities around the world. Now she has kindly joined Sea Shepherd in Taiji, bringing her love for dolphins to the frontlines to protect them.”
After a streak of fifteen ‘Blue Cove’ days since the start of season — in which no cetaceans were driven into the cove — three consecutive pods of Risso’s dolphins have now been slaughtered in Taiji in the last three days. Showing no mercy, the killers of the Taiji Fishermen’s Union slaughtered the entire families of Risso’s, who clung together in their panicked, final moments in the cove, and dumped juvenile calves back out to sea to fend for themselves without the protection of their mothers or pods. Doherty joins the Cove Guardians just as this brutal annual hunt begins and the cetacean killers of Taiji truly display their heartlessness to the world.
“I am very grateful to finally have a chance to visit Taiji’s infamous cove. I hope my presence will bring more attention to the heinous atrocities that occur here for six months of every year. Because of their intelligence, playfulness and beauty, dolphins are among the most widely beloved animals on Earth. They don’t deserve such a horrible fate. It’s time to stop spilling blood in the cove,” said Doherty.
For a staggering six months of each year – from September until March – entire family units, or pods, of dolphins and small whales at a time are driven into Taiji’s killing cove. Banger poles are hit against the side of the hunting boats to create a “wall of sound,” disorienting the sound-sensitive marine mammals and making it nearly impossible for them to escape the drive. When a large pod is captured, killers and trainers will work side-by-side to select the “prettiest” dolphins or whales (those without visible nicks or scars) for captivity. It is the multi-billion dollar global trade in captive cetaceans that funds the slaughter. The Cove Guardians have repeatedly documented that the captive selection process occurs simultaneously to the slaughter, as those cetaceans who are not chosen for a lifetime of imprisonment in captivity are viciously slaughtered for human consumption before the eyes of their family. If there are pod members remaining, they are driven out to sea in a drive just as stressful as the drive into the cove. Most are juveniles with little to no chance of survival without the protection of their mothers. Some face death by starvation, while others may fall prey to predators.
Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians are the only group on the ground in Taiji every day throughout the entire six-month hunting season, documenting and live streaming every capture and every slaughter for the world to see. The 2014-2015 season marks the fifth year of Operation Infinite Patience, and the Cove Guardians will not stop returning to Taiji until the slaughter ends.
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