By Captain Paul Watson
On October 29, 2004, an entire family of defenseless Risso's dolphins was systematically exterminated in Taiji harbor, Japan. The orgy of killing lasted five hours as the bay turned red with the hot blood of the sensitive marine mammals.
Because of the success in 2003 of Sea Shepherd bringing the slaughter to the attention of the world, the fishermen have gone to incredible effort and expense to prevent filming or photography of the hunt.
The entire killing area is now shielded from view by massive blue tarps and white blinds. It is like some plastic "cold war wall" shielding the world from the awful horrific truth about the cruel savages of Taiji.
Even more obscene is the blatant complicity by representatives of the captive dolphin industry. The logos of Dolphin Base, World Dolphin Resort and the Taiji Whale Museum could be seen among the gang of thugs and butchers gleefully spearing, slashing and stabbing the innocent dolphins.
Occasionally during the day, a prize specimen was selected by a dolphinarium expert, and the stressed young animal could be seen inside a steel cage as it was taken away amid the death screams of its entire family in the background. The chosen ones were small and young, hauled from the water and away from the bleeding, screaming bodies of their mothers.
Taiji has become a war zone. Barbed wire has been strung around trees to keep people from climbing them to observe the slaughter. Anyone with a camera is met with hostility and violent threats.
Taiji, Japan, is a place of horror and death, incredible cruelty and men maddened with the perverse lust for blood. It is hard to imagine such sadistic cruelty can exist, especially in a so-called civilized society like Japan.
But the government of Japan condones this horror and the media of Japan ignores it. And the people? Well, it is Japan, and the people do as they are told.
The dolphins are dying in the name of this strange Japanese culture that during the last century allowed the rape of Nanking, the sexual enslavement of Korean women, the beheading of prisoners of war and the Bata'an Death march.
When will Japan join the 21st Century and retire their passion for cruelty and death?
With Taiji, the Japanese can now claim total supremacy in the art of infliction of cruelty and death. Months from now, Japanese children will laugh and clap gleefully as these same few captive dolphins jump through hoops and beg for fish. Not a thought will be given to the bloody price paid by the dolphins to capture these enslaved entertainers. The sterile blue and sparkly dolphinarium pool will hide the memory of the harbor filled with blood, dozens of dead and dying dolphins screaming as their eyes are gouged out, flippers are torn, and intestines are ripped from their bellies as blood spurts from their blowholes. All of this vividly etched on the memory of the young performers-to-be.
Once transferred to his new life in prison at the dolphinarium, the dolphin is forced to entertain the audience. I can hear a child now, "Look Mommy, he's smiling. He likes us. He must really like us."
In the end it is our collective delusions that allow us to commit unspeakable crimes, for we humans justify everything we do. The captivity industry is quite happy for the masses to go on thinking that these dolphins are happy and even happier that the public is not aware of what goes on in places like Taiji.
And the killing goes on.
A Sea Shepherd crew is working in Japan to stop this hunt. It is a difficult, dangerous and frustrating campaign. Last year two of our volunteer crew each spent 23 days in jail for the "crime" of freeing 15 dolphins and preventing their slaughter. This year, in punishment for the international exposure that Sea Shepherd focused on the dolphin slaughter, all Sea Shepherd crew have been banned from Taiji.
We've been banned from many other places, but being the only organization banned from setting foot in Taiji is a particular honor and a challenge. It is an honor because it reflects that we have embarrassed the Japanese nation and it is challenge to find ways to continue to expose and intervene against the butchers of Taiji.