Yesterday, 1 September 2009, marked the first day of drive dolphin hunting in Taiji, in which thousands of dolphins will be killed for their meat, and a select few will be sold for an outrageous price and chosen to live in captivity in various marine parks. Dolphin meat has high levels of mercury and methyl mercury, and is not considered fit for human consumption; but it is being sold for just that all the same. A documentary called The Cove was recently released, exposing the inhumane methods of the Taiji fishermen and those who support them, who are involved in this lucritive business. The documentary gives a new meaning to the phrase ‘investigative journalism’ and has won several film festival awards. I highly recommend seeing it if you can.
The cove at Taiji is well protected from prying eyes; tarps, barbed wire, “KEEP OUT” signs and tight security make it nearly impossible for anyone to get in. The team that infiltrated the cove did so at great personal risk, and the lucrative business they uncovered was terrifying.
Here is a list of facts about the dolphin drive hunt, which is supported by the international dolphinarium industry – it’s the easiest way for them to obtain ‘show-worthy’ dolphins for commercial use and entertainment, such as captive dolphin shows and “Swim with Dolphins” programs offered in many tourist venues throughout Japan and some other countries.
Again, this all comes down to money – those who are in need of it, like the local fishermen who depend on the dolphin drive for their livelihoods, and those who perpetuate the wrongdoings by using their money to get what they want, at great cost to the environment, to the health and well-being of wild creatures, and to the health and well-being of the humans who are unknowingly consuming dangerous toxins contained in their food. Personally, I don’t think we can fault the locals who are depending on that income to survive. But the locals are not hauling in the riches; the people controlling the operations are. Those who are willing to pay top dollar to pillage the oceans for a few ‘pretty’ animals and exploit them for the entertainment of others are the driving force behind this disgusting practice.
There are simple things we can do. If you are in New Zealand, you can copy and paste the following letter into an email to the Japanese Embassy, at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are not in NZ, you can locate your local Japanese embassy using a google search – the embassies all have their contact information available online.
Dear Mr Toshihiro Takahashi,
I am writing to you to ensure you are aware that today (September 1, 2009) the waters and coves around Japan will once again run red with the blood of dolphins to fuel the marine park industry. After the few ‘show-worthy’ dolphins are captured, the hundreds, even thousands of dolphins not sentenced to a life of confinement will be slaughtered, and their poisonous meat sold to people and put into children’s school lunch programs. The dolphins are killed in a secluded cove three hours south of Osaka. The slaughter is hidden from public view with tarps and nets. Access is blocked by steel gates, barbed wire, razor ribbon and guards. The act is nothing short of barbaric, and the very fact that those involved go to great lengths to hide the slaughter from everyone shows that they know its barbaric and would be strongly opposed, not only by the rest of the world, but also by the Japanese people.
Japan officials and fishermen will then endanger their own people by selling this toxic dolphin meat to unsuspecting consumers.
“The dolphin drive brings dishonour to Japan and the world is watching.”
You can help. Please help spread the word back to your contacts in Japan that this is not acceptable.
Please help save these beautiful creatures and stop the few greedy people that are bringing dishonour to your name and country.
Thanks for reading. There are a few websites you can visit to get more information on dolphin drive hunts and conservation:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it another thousand times: Best thing we can do is educate ourselves, and educate others.