Some progress has been made in Taiji, Japan this month after years of horrendous slaughter. While 50 pilot whales were rounded up and slaughtered to be packaged into whale meat, many of the dolphins rounded up are set to be released. Apparently, some of the dolphins selected will be sold to aquarium parks and the remaining dolphins will be released at some unannounced date in the future, rather than face grocery store shelves as the pilot whales have.

Much of this is in response to public outcry against the town for footage seen in award winning documentary "The Cove," which documents the slaughter there. {View The Cove trailer] While Japanese officials publicly deny that the film or public relations backlash has anything to do with the situation, officials commenting anonymously to the Associated Press have confirmed that part of the reason for the dolphins release is due to the town's abhorrence of public scrutiny and criticism.

Recently, Broome, Australia which is Taiji, Japan's "sister city" suspended their relationship in protest of the dolphin slaughter. Broome residents were outraged by Taiji's dolphin killing after a screening of "The Cove" occurred in their city.

While this may be a temporary improvement to the situation there, the tragedy is still great for the lost pilot whales and dolphins sold into captivity. Local Japanese residents of Taiji argue that the annual slaughter is traditional.

Sea Shepherd uncovered the Taiji slaughter in 2003 with images seen around the globe. Since then, activists have confronted the fishermen there in hopes of ending the annual kill.

Says Captain Paul Watson, "I'm relieved that there appears to be some advancement in Taiji. We need to continue applying the pressure there until the killing stops for good. Sea Shepherd commends the work activists and film makers are doing to help the dolphins."

Photos of the dolphin slaughter in 2003:

Taiji_dolphin_slaughter_in_2003Taiji_dolphin_slaughter_in_2003

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