Sea Shepherd Conservation Society held its third annual "World Love for Dolphins Day" international demonstration on Saturday, February 13, 2016. As Valentine's Day approached, thousands of people all over the world stood together with Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians to oppose the brutal capture and slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan and the captive trade that supports it.
Twenty-seven events were held in eighteen North American cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Honolulu, San Diego, Toronto, San Antonio and Vancouver, and in several other countries, including Australia, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Australia and Spain. Dolphin advocates from New Zealand to Cyprus and Finland to London who could not physically join one of the many peaceful demonstrations submitted photos in solidarity with them. Cove Guardians who have travelled to Taiji and witnessed the dolphin slaughter and capture joined demonstrations in San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Perth, Australia, Los Angeles, New York City and more.
In the spirit of Operation Henkaku, or Metamorphasis, the focus of this year's demonstrations was shifted to local companies that trade in captive dolphins, that is, those companies supporting and profiting from Taiji's bloody slaughter. The slaughter of dolphins is inextricably linked to the captive dolphin industry. It is the true driving force behind the dolphin hunt.
"Sea Shepherd continues to expose the barbaric practice of hunting dolphins and selecting the prettiest for captivity," said Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Board Chair Pamela Anderson. "Operation Henkaku in Taiji, Japan, makes sure that the world cannot ignore the brutality of dolphin hunting or the brutality of training dolphins for human enjoyment. World Love for Dolphins Day is just one day in a much longer fight to end dolphin captivity and end the slaughter of dolphins."
Cove Guardians will remain on the ground in Taiji, Japan until the dolphin killers conclude their activities for this season. While the dolphin hunt may be over, the horror of captivity remains for those taken captive.
View images from all the international demonstrations and photo support in our "World Love for Dolphins Day" Facebook album
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 inserted 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.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society first brought the cove to the world's attention by capturing and releasing now-iconic footage and imagery of the brutal hunts and slaughters in 2003, during which the cove turned a blood-red. Later the Academy Award-winning film The Cove again shone a spotlight on the hunts, bringing worldwide attention to the killings. Many individuals thought the film succeeded in bringing an end to the hunts, but that was not the case. So 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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