A Generous Dolphin Advocate and Sea Shepherd Supporter has Donated the Billboard in Support of Sea Shepherd’s Annual Operation Infinite Patience Campaign in Taiji
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society first brought the brutal dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan to the world’s attention in 2003, and each year since 2010, Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians have been on the ground in that tiny fishing village to document the capture and slaughter of wild, migrating dolphins throughout the six-month drive hunt season. Today, Feb. 25, a billboard made possible by a generous Sea Shepherd supporter has gone up on the busy Long Island Expressway, and will spread further vital awareness of this shocking massacre of ocean wildlife to more than a million people over the course of the next month.
Marnie McBryde, a passionate advocate for dolphins and supporter of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Infinite Patience campaign in Taiji, was haunted by the livestream of every dolphin capture and every kill reported by Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians — so much so that she took the initiative to do something about it. Having lived in Japan for a decade, she knows the people and the culture well. She knows that bringing outside pressure to bear is the only thing that will eventually stop the hunts. So McBryde decided to donate a billboard, which can now be seen on the Long Island Expressway at Van Dam Street, facing west (visible to eastbound traffic). An iconic image of the hunt captured by Sea Shepherd in 2003 showing the blood-red waters of the cove and Taiji’s killers loading the lifeless bodies of dead dolphins into a skiff, is unmistakable on the large sign. The billboard’s simple but loud-and-clear message reads, “Japan’s Shame: Stop Killing Dolphins!” Sea Shepherd’s hashtag #tweet4taiji, which spreads widely over social media with Cove Guardian updates from Taiji during every capture and slaughter, is also displayed in the hope of engaging the masses to help spread the word about the ongoing kidnapping and massacre of innocent, wild dolphins.
As the 2014-2015 hunt season draws to a close (the hunt typically spans from Sept. 1 to the beginning of March each year), the billboard serves as a timely reminder that though Taiji’s killers will soon put down their bloody spikes used to inhumanely sever a dolphin’s spinal cord, the suffering will continue for the dolphins torn from the ocean in Taiji this season to be sold for captivity to aquariums and marine parks in Japan or around the world. It is also a clear reminder to Japan that if and when Taiji’s slaughter resumes in September, Sea Shepherd’s relentless Cove Guardians will once again be standing watch along the shores of the cove with infinite patience. We will continue to return to Taiji until the slaughter ends.
“As Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians prepare for the end of another grueling season, witnessing the horrors that unfold day in and day out in the cove, this billboard has gone up in New York City, where more than a million individuals will see the reality of what the Taiji dolphin killers try so hard to hide under tarps,” said Sea Shepherd Senior Cove Guardian Campaign Leader and Coordinator, Melissa Sehgal. “We are so very grateful to Marnie for her donation that made this billboard a possibility for the dolphins and for Sea Shepherd. She is giving an important voice to the pods killed in Taiji this year as well as the captured dolphins who still face lives of imprisonment in tanks.”
For a staggering six months of each year, from September 1 until March, entire families of dolphins and small whales are driven into Taiji’s killing cove. Once netted within the shallow waters of the cove, their fate is sealed and the members of these doomed, frightened pods will face either imprisonment in captivity or brutal slaughter before the eyes of their families. Killers and trainers work side-by-side to select the “prettiest” dolphins and whales, those without visible scars, for captivity. The others are mercilessly stabbed with a metal spike hammered into their backs, just behind the blowhole, to sever their spine. The dolphins slowly and painfully bleed to death or drown in the blood of their family—others may die as they are dragged to the butcherhouse, where the once wild and free cetaceans are processed into meat for human consumption, despite being heavily contaminated with mercury and other toxins. These inhumane killings would not be allowed in any slaughterhouse in the world. Japan refuses to sign on to many protection efforts and regulations for marine mammals, despite most of the world recognizing the need to protect these self-aware, beloved and imperiled animals.
In 2010, Sea Shepherd established Operation Infinite Patience and our volunteer Cove Guardians took up positions alongside the cove to document, report and live stream these atrocities in the hope of capturing attention to bring pressure to bear to stop these barbaric acts. Sea Shepherd is the only organization to have a team on the ground in Taiji each day throughout the entire six-month killing season, and the only group who live streams every capture and every kill for the world to see. Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians will not stop shining a light on this atrocity until the slaughter ends.
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