by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: , , .
Photo: Sea Shepherd

The annual dolphin hunt season in Taiji, Japan began on September 1st. We’ve told you recently about Save Japan Dolphins Day and Ric O’Barry in Taiji and Kelly Slater raising awareness of the dolphin slaughter. Now, reportedly the first dolphins of the season have been killed at the cove.

Typhoon Talas hit Taiji tragically killing 18 people, with many people still missing. There was hope amongst the activists present in Taiji and supporters that the hunt would at least be delayed or canceled as a result of this sad event. However, the slaughter began on September 7th. According to Suite101, “Taiji fishermen were impacted very little, despite being delayed by the adverse weather for a few days. Race car driver Leilani Münter who is in Taiji with Save Japan Dolphins and Ric O’Barry, reported yesterday that drive boats had left the harbor in Taiji and were out attempting to herd the dolphins. The net that separates the public beach from the killing cove, had also been erected, said Münter.”

Leilani wrote on her Facebook page at the time, “Very sad to report that approximately 12 Risso’s dolphins have been captured and are being killed right now in the cove.” In her blog in which she has been writing updates from Taiji, she wrote “I stood on the beach during the slaughter with the Japan Coast Guard in front of me, the police behind me, and Daniela, my fellow Cove Monitor for Save Japan Dolphins, standing next to me taking pictures and crying.  Without the ability to save them, I just sat helplessly on the rocks and posted an update of the horrible news through social media…There was comfort in knowing that the world was paying attention, and these dolphin’s lives were being recognized.  They would be remembered.  They mattered to the world.”

During the hunt, dolphins are forced into a cove with boats close behind, and killed behind the nets. Others are transported to various aquariums and kept in captivity. Save Japan Dolphins of Earth Island Institute will reportedly be remaining in Taiji to document the slaughter. Sea Shepherd has also recently said that their Cove Guardians will be returning to Taiji this season.


About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • http://www.savephlippineseas.com Blogie Robillo

    It is perplexing — to say the least — why the Japanese people in Taiji do this. The Japanese are generally nature-loving people, so why this?? Even with the world’s attention on them, they still persist with this barbaric tradition! Don’t tell me they’re so isolated from the rest of humanity that the outpouring of rage & sorrow doesn’t affect them at all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

      It’s not a matter of isolation, it’s a matter of self direction.

      The Japanese don’t see killing dolphins as morally any worse than killing any other animal. And you know what? I agree. In fact I don’t like how much attention dolphins are getting right now, especially from so-called “conservation” groups like Sea Shepherd. Shouldn’t conservation groups be protecting animals that are endangered or threatened? (Dolphins aren’t.)

      • AnimuX

        As usual, pro-whaling antagonists fail to mention all of the other environmentalists protesting against the killing of “other” animals.

        Instead of debating the many valid reasons people protest the unnecessary and brutal slaughter of dolphins, these antagonists pretend as if a conservation group can not focus on one creature or class of creatures because every other animal is allegedly ignored…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

        Who are you to dictate what another culture can and can’t do based on what’s necessary? Last time I checked, it’s not necessary for you to have two computers, a plasma TV, a Playstation 3 and an SUV, but you don’t see ME shouting “child molester” in YOUR face and making your children cry, do you?

        And the dolphin slaughter in Taiji is not brutal. But you already know this; we’ve gone over it before.

        More self-righteous BS from the spambot Animux.

      • AnimuX

        Pro-whalers like to pretend whaling is a cultural practice in Japan. However, professor Jun Morikawa debunked this claim long ago.

        In his book, “Whaling in Japan”, Morikawa explains that whale meat was only a “substitute meat” during the post WWII recovery and when Japanese families could afford other meats they stopped purchasing whale, even when whale meat was cheaper.

        The “tradition” of killing whales in Japan is actually limited to a few coastal villages and there are other villages that are never mentioned where whales were historically worshiped and not eaten.

        Morikawa also explains that whaling continues today because of corrupt entrenched bureaucrats (amakudari) who often leave their government jobs to take high paid positions in the commercial whaling industry they supported with government subsidies as public officials.

        Today, only a tiny fraction of the Japanese population actually eats whale or dolphin meat. If not for the government including the meat in compulsory school lunches, most Japanese children would never know the taste of whale. (so much for cultural tradition)

        The fact is, these hunters kill whales and dolphins for money. It’s an industry. A cruel, unnecessary, despicable industry.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

        Yet more cut-and-paste from the spambot Animux. Dolphins may be sentient creatures, but this guy isn’t.

    • karissa

      from what i understand they say it is part of the culture of their small town. An interview with a local said they are trying to hold on to the way of life that has been slowly slipping away due to the lack of resources they have already depleted. they claim to eat the meat from the dolphins but there is no way such a small town eats that much dolphin meat.. the meat doesn’t make it too far outside the town because it is not socially acceptable to eat dolphin in the rest of japan. most of japan isn’t even aware this is happening or that people eat dolphin in the first place.

    • Kevin

      Because “While recognising the importance of preserving animal resources, a majority of the Japanese ?nd it dif?cult to comprehend the argument, frequently advanced in Western countries, that whales should be given spe-
      cial protection because their intelligence level is close to that of human beings. The animistic perspective long embedded into the Japanese psyche regards every being, including plants and minerals, as having a life of its own. This worldview has been combined with the Buddhist thinking that human and animal lives are on equal footing: human beings live depending upon the lives of other beings. In the endless cycle of some animal beings eating others, some lives are maintained at the expense of others.” – From “The Cambridge Guide to Modern Japanese Culture” chapter by Naomichi Ishige, edited by Yoshio Sugimoto. http://www.scribd.com/doc/30887965/Modern-Japanese-Culture

  • AnimuX

    The despicable brutal destruction of dolphins as an industry in Japan continues placing consumers at risk with contaminated meat (large amounts of toxic mercury, PCBs, DDT derivatives and more) and inhumanely slaughtering masses of the second most intelligent creature on the planet.

    The killing continues for petty commercial gain fueled by the captive dolphin trade where marine parks purchase dolphins from the hunters to force these animals to perform in circus-like shows that are detrimental to the physical and psychological health of the animals.

    Two thousand dolphins may be killed in Taiji in a single season along with up to 20,000 dolphins and other small cetaceans (including rare beaked whales) in Japan’s coastal waters overall.

    Of course, Japan’s commercial whaling industry also kills many larger whales annually including endangered Fin whales, endangered Sei whales, rare Bryde’s whales (population uncertain), vulnerable Sperm whales, common Minke whales in the north (many from the vulnerable J-stock), and Antarctic Minke whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary (some IUCN data suggests this species is in decline as well).

    Japan also acts as the world market for whale meat by importing endangered Fin whale meat from Iceland (a trade that would not exist otherwise).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

      Yay, more irrelevant cut-and-paste spam from the local terrorist apologist Animux.

      • don_miguelo

        Yay (Sardonic faux excitement designed to belittle), more irrelevant (Says who? A kettle?) cut-and-paste (It is a bit easier) spam (Not literally. Not an email and no malicious link to click on) from the local (Or global?) terrorist (Wrong. Unless he flew a plane into a building I’m unaware of) apologist (I don’t see any “sorry” up there) Animux (At least you spelled it right).

        And what can you contribute, besides this cut-and-paste attack, to the conversation?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

        Speak for yourself.

  • http://www.seashepherd.org/commentary-and-editorials/2011/09/02/divine-wind-buys-time-for-dolphins-in-taiji-483 WHALE HIT

    This site is censored by the anti Japan?
    this site is China or N,Korea?

    My Commentis not subject to censorship!

    Paul Watson(SSCS) celebrates Typhoon(Talas)

    Cove Guardian’s enjoys racism in Taiji and Sea Shepherd celebrates Japan earthquake tsunami

    Do you like anti Japanese?

    • AnimuX

      Pro-whaling antagonists like to pretend that anti-whaling activists are racist but the fact is the brutal destruction of whales is protested in many countries including Iceland, Norway, and the Faroe Islands.

      The history of anti-whaling direct action to stop whaling began with campaigns against the Soviet Union’s whaling operations in the North Pacific and later included Australia.

      Japan receives attention today because its whaling industry with full backing of the national government has historically violated size limits, species protections, seasonal restrictions, sanctuary boundaries, and even facilitated “pirate whaling” (that’s front companies with foreign labor killing whales secretly and illegally to smuggle the unreported meat back to Japan).

      Currently, Japanese whalers kill more whales and dolphins than any other nation on earth and actively subvert and defy the various international conventions that protect whales.

      Unfortunately, pro-whalers prefer to make false accusations of racism than address the many valid reasons why people protest the commercial exploitation of whales and dolphins. The “Save the Whales” movement began when people learned that commercial whaling was wiping out whale species on a global scale. Many species remain endangered today as a result of this destructive industry.

      • don_miguelo

        Very well said, animuX!

        You know, my grandfather was in WWII, and I don’t think that any whale or dolphin should be killed–but yet I am NOT racist!! In fact, specifically to Japan, I really appreciate their art and technology cultures, their amazing martial history, and their incredible business and societal successes in the past century.

        Doesn’t matter to me which humans are doing the killing, I just disagree and protest them, whoever they are. Thank you for pointing out that a common tactic to discredit anti-whalers is to pretend to think that they are racist (nevermind a whole host of other things).

        It’s important to note here that American aquariums are buying some of these dolphins, their not killing them all. I protest that too and that doesn’t make me racist towards Americans, logic dictates.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

        Terrorist apologia spambot Animux tries in vain to deflect the racism issue.

        America kills millions of pigs which are also intelligent animals. Where’s the outcry there? Are pigs not cute enough for you?

        The fact that past commercial whaling nearly wiped out many species is irrelevant – commercial whaling is just a tiny shadow of what it once was, and by the numbers it is no longer a conservation risk!

      • AnimuX

        The attitude of pro-whaling antagonists is quite clear. They believe the near extinction of whales is irrelevant despite the fact that whalers, including those from Japan, continue to kill endangered species annually.

        Here is a statement from Dr. Sidney Holt regarding what commercial whaling has done to the Southern Ocean whales…

        “Most importantly it’s exactly eighty years since the eminent Argentine international lawyer, José
        Leon Suárez, proposed to the League of Nations that a sanctuary for whales be established in the
        Antarctic. Suarez reported that if nothing were done the fin, blue and humpback whales would be
        practically exterminated in the Southern Hemisphere. That took rather longer than he thought it would, but it had happened by 1959.

        Then the sei whale resource was plundered in the 1960s.

        Demolition of the minke whales was begun in the 1970s.

        The biomass of the still numerous minke whales is less than one percent of the biomass of the
        Southern Hemisphere baleen whales at the time Suarez reported to the League of Nations.

        Think about that. We’re talking endlessly about how to sweep up the crumbs left on the table after
        the feast. If anything’s dysfunctional, that’s it.”


        @Dave: You need to read more. There are many activists who protest animal cruelty in agriculture. Now go find another straw man.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

        This post has been removed due to a violation of our commenting policy.

      • don_miguelo

        Actual number of posts currently:
        Dave – 7
        Animux – 5
        Me – 3

        I think your “spam-bot” has a contender: YOU.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

        Being a spammer is more about the content of posts than the number. Practically everything Animux posts is cut-and-paste and addresses neither the article he’s commenting on or the commenter he’s replying to.

      • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

        Animux cuts and paste relevant quotes, thats about the most objective form of posting, and far from “spamming”. Good job Animux, always read your posts and agree with them.
        On the other hand, using the f word like you do in this thread, is more like being an irritating useless spammer, and i feel your post will be removed pretty s-o-o-n. ;-)

  • juarez

    this is so sad to hear, it was just last night that i watch “the cove” a documentray by Richard O’Barry on this exact location. this film brought tears to my eyes. apperantly the fishermens excuse for this is because its part of their culture and us ‘westerners’ dont understand. in reality dolphine is not even part of their traditional cuisine in fact its so high in mercury that it can kill pregnant womens fetus. its so unhealty, so no they dont eat it or at least not as much as they say they do. so why kill them? well another excuse they use is that they use the dolphins for research. wrong again, the number of dolphins they report under scientific research is a two digit number, so why do they kill in the hundred thousands? to me these fishermen are simply killing innocent, smart, life saving animals (dolphins have been known for pushing sharks away from surfers) for no reason. it angers me that this hasnt been stopped. unfortunately it doesnt seem like it will ever stop, the world wide conferences on this issue seem rigged, to the point that Taijis police force protects these fishermen and if during the conference anyone approaches this issue confrontationaly they are banned from future conferences. im vegan and the thuoght of killing all innocent animals saddens me. but just the fact the dolphins have personalities and have the ability to commit suicide when they feel like they cant take it anymore should mean something, and theres these fishermen that can stab them til they blead out and not feel bad about… totally blows my mind, its so inhumane.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dave-Rideough/516534860 Dave Rideough

      I’ve never heard the research explanation for dolphins, but apparently you’re right, they do kill a few of them for research under JARPN. It seems to be a small part of the JARPN research though, which would explain why so few of them are killed for research.

  • Whoever…

    “Typhoon Talas hit Taiji tragically killing 18 people”

    I say good riddance!! Actually it would be great if a typhoon or some other natural disaster would just make it impossible for the locals to live there… preferably by wiping them off the face of the Earth!

    And yes, you can call me a terrible person… like I care!

    All I care about right now is Nature, namely those animals who are murdered so that human scum (animal eaters) can feed on them!

    As far as I’m concerned humans (except veg*ans) deserve all the bad things that might happen to them!!