Image Source: Edited screen capture from SaveJapanDolphins.org.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

The beginning of September typically marks the beginning of the dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan—where the award-winning documentary, The Cove, was based. However, this month proved to be much different. Ric O’Barry, his son, Lincoln, Sea Shepherd, and a whole group of activists have made their way to Japan to protest the dolphin hunt. It was basically believed that as long as they (the activists) maintained a presence in Taiji and kept at least some media attention on the town during their annual period of dolphin slaughter, then no animals would be killed.

And this theory worked. Dolphins were herded into The Cove, but they were selected by trainers to be shipped off to zoos and aquariums. Under normal circumstances, the dolphins not chosen would be killed; however, these dolphins were set free. Surprisingly, this happened more than once; so, you would think it would mean the Taiji dolphin hunters had a change of heart, right?

Oh, if only that were true. Last week, the slaughter began. According to a news report by Sea Shepherd and a blog report written by Ric O’Barry, 15 pilot whales and 15 Risso’s dolphins were led into the cove and brutally killed, despite the ongoing presence of activists and media curiosity. Neither of them are an endangered species, although the Risso’s dolphin is a threatened species.

Taiji’s dolphin hunters have repeatedly complained that what they do is basically no business of the “western world” and we should stop interfering with their livelihoods. They claim it is part of their culture and they lack the means or resources to take up other occupations (such as farming). Ah, but if it is so important to them, then why go to such great lengths to hide it from the rest of the world—including their own fellow citizens?

Due to what is referred to as a “media blackout” in Japan, many Japanese citizens are completely unaware of the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji. In fact, most of them seem to oppose dolphin hunting even more than whaling practices. Because of this, O’Barry and others want you to help spread the word on the annual dolphin hunts. Check out these links to find out more on how you can help:

The Cove’s official website
TakePart: The Cove – The Secret is Out. Spread the Word
SaveJapanDolphins.org

OPS (Oceanic Preservation Society): Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji
OPS: What You Can Do

Sea Shepherd: Stop the Senseless Slaughter of Dolphins in Taiji, Japan!

“The real cure for our environmental problems is to understand that our job is to salvage Mother Nature…We are facing a formidable enemy in this field. It is the hunters…and to convince them to leave their guns on the wall is going to be very difficult.”
-Jacques-Yves Cousteau