While many applauded the apparent stay of execution for dolphins in Taiji’s infamous “cove” last year, it appears that their luck will not hold out for the upcoming season.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen says that the hunt will continue — and the cove will turn red in about two weeks. “We will pass down the history of our ancestors to the next generation, preserve it. We have a strong sense of pride about this,” he said. “So we are not going to change our plans for the town based on the criticism of foreigners.”
That criticism is largely the result of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove by director Louie Psihoyos, which threw the worldwide spotlight directly on the mass killings. This Sunday, Animal Planet will air the television network premiere of the film (9PM/ET) — along with the new series Blood Dolphins (Fri, 11PM/ET) which follows activist Ric O’Barry and his son as they travel the world to protect dolphins and stop trafficking in wild dolphins. Larry King also gave air time to the cause by inviting O’Barry to appear on his show last night; while also discussing the issue of dolphins and whales in captivity.
Needless to say, the focus on Taiji will not diminish anytime soon, regardless of the fact that it plays a small role in the more than 20,000 dolphins Japan allows villages to kill each year. With activist organizations empowered with more money and international support than ever before, expect the region to remain a protest hot spot.
We recommend dolphins seek refuge elsewhere.