Taiji’s dolphin culling begins as ‘drive hunting’ turns the cove red

In Japan, hunting season for dolphins using a controversial “drive-hunting” method, began on Sunday in the whaling town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture.  Fishermen herd dolphins and small whales into a cove, surrounded with a net and then either sell them to aquariums to perform or slaughter them for meat.

According to Japan’s National Daily, 12 boats left the town’s port early in the morning, but all returned without any catch, according to a fisheries cooperative official. The hunting season continues for about six months.

Animal activists have shown up, and the town of approximately 3,000 residents has become famous through the 2009 Academy Award movie “The Cove.” The production of the film used hidden cameras to capture bloody footage of the hunts – more than two-dozen dolphin hunters remain. Dolphins of all ages have been pursued, captured, abused and murdered. Entire pods have been destroyed.

Taiji: We are LIVE as Japanese activists march through town to protest dolphin hunting and dolphin captivity. Sept. 1, 2019 3:15 #dolphinproject

Posted by Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project on Saturday, August 31, 2019

The international criticism against dolphin hunts remain a relevant issue. Although there has been discussion of plans to turn Taiji into an international research center for dolphins and whales, nothing much has progressed. As the demand for dolphin entertainment has decreased, still in 2018 more than 135 dolphins were captured.

“There are 251 Risso’s dolphins on he quota for slaughter and capture during Taiji’s drive hunts this season. We must continue to be their voice. Please continue to follow our pages for updates as we enter the drive season, share our posts and TAKE ACTION: dolphin.fyi/HelpJapanDolphins

In Japan, animal welfare laws do not apply to marine animals.  Fishermen stated they are no longer worried about protesters since very few showed up as the boats left. Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd responded stating:

“The fishermen say that thanks to security, they can hunt freely. The real reason is that Japan bans entry into Japan of anyone who has opposed the slaughter in Taiji.

The government is spending a great deal of money to prevent opposition to the slaughter.

This atrocity beings shame and disgrace upon the nation of Japan.”

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