Taiji’s Dolphin Hunts Continue
60-65 Striped Dolphins Brutally Massacred in the Cove Yesterday; Risso’s Dolphins Taken Captive & Slaughtered Today
On the heels of the recent capture and slaughter of a megapod of 250+ Bottlenose dolphins that the world watched endure days of violent and brutal captive selection, followed by slaughter for some and a drive back out to sea for the remaining pod with little chance of survival, Taiji’s obscene captures and slaughters continue. There have been five more slaughters and captures in the Cove since the Bottlenose capture, including yesterday’s (Japan time) pod of 60-65 striped dolphins — mothers, juveniles, babies and all — who were completely wiped from the face of the Earth, and a small pod of Risso’s dolphins, two of which were selected for captivity at the same time the slaughtering was occurring this afternoon (Japan time), which included mothers with babies. All of these captures and kills have occurred in less than two weeks since the huge Bottlenose pod capture, captive selection and slaughter, proving that Taiji’s bloodlust and greed never ends.
Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians documented and live streamed as 60-65 Striped dolphins were driven into the shallow waters of the cove by the killers of the Taiji Fishermen’s Union. The dolphins were slaughtered one by one under the tarps, as these highly intelligent and socially complex animals were forced to watch as the water turned bright red with the blood of their family members.
While Taiji’s hunts are notoriously inhumane, yesterday’s slaughter was particularly brutal. Some of the panicked dolphins spy-hopped and appeared to plead with the killers for their lives and the lives of their family. The Taiji killers showed no mercy to the dolphins, as their pleas went unanswered. Some dolphins, desperate to escape or get to the rest of the pod, became entangled in the nets during their struggle, and were left to drown. Two members from today’s pod of Risso’s dolphins were kidnapped into captivity while 9-10 others were brutally slaughtered at the very same time captive selection took place. This is something Taiji officials assert does not occur.
While some news reports have indicated that the hunt in Taiji has concluded for the season with the capture and killing of the Bottlenose dolphins, that is false. The hunts are expected to continue for several more weeks until March 1. Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s remarks on CNN this past Sunday, the hunts have nothing to do with Japanese culture, as they have only been around since 1969 when the burgeoning marine park industry began to take off.
The drive hunt and slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales occurs throughout Japan each year. The most well-known among these annual hunts occurs in Taiji from September 1st and usually continues to March 1 of the following year. Fishermen herd entire cetacean families into shallow bays where they are mercilessly stabbed with a metal spike inserted into their backs to sever their spine. The dolphins slowly and painfully bleed to death or drown in the blood of their family, or if somehow still alive after that assault, they will drown as they are dragged to the butcherhouse. 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 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 once more. 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 for all the world to see. We are the only organization to have a team on the ground in Taiji for the entire six-month 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 until the slaughter ends.
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