By Kirsten Massebeau
On November 13th the dolphin hunters of Taiji, Japan drove yet another pod of Risso’s dolphins into The Cove . This was the third small pod of Risso’s dolphins killed during the 2012-2013 season. A total of 38 Risso’s dolphins have been captured, with only seven being taken captive, four babies and juveniles cast out to sea, and the rest slaughtered.(source)
It is common knowledge that dolphins die slowly in Taiji. In an attempt to hide their dirty deeds the hunters drive a bamboo stake into the wounds to lessen the spill of dolphin blood into the cove extending the dolphin suffering upwards of 10 minutes.
Undercover footage taken by Dieter Hagmann of Atlantic Blue
On November 13th the trainers arrived via skiff to carefully select two Risso’s dolphins for captivity. As the slaughter ensued the Dolphin Resort trainers took the traumatized dolphins away in slings to awaiting sea pens. Once trained the two dolphins can bring in upwards of $150,000.00 dollars each from aquariums, and marine parks worldwide. The meat is worth far less.
Only minutes after the skiff with the two captive dolphins left the cove the bodies of slaughtered pod were transferred between boat and skiff. The hunters failed to cover their handy work under yet another tarp of shame.
The cruel drive hunt as we know it today began in 1969 and is a combination of a whaling history, pest control, and the hungry captive industry that pays well for their dolphin performers.
One particularly controversial form of these hunts, and the focus of this report, is the “drive
hunt” (sometimes called the “drive fishery” or “oikomiryou” in Japanese), in which dolphins and small whales are corralled by boats and driven, sometimes by their hundreds, into shallow water where they are killed for their meat and blubber. Not all the dolphins are killed, however. A growing and disturbing trend has surfaced that links the thriving aquarium (‘captivity’) industry to this archaic practice. Instead of driving dolphins to their death for human consumption and fertilizer, or as a means of what might be described as “pest control”, resulting from claims that dolphins significantly compete for fish with fisherman, fishing cooperatives are collaborating with national and international aquaria and marine amusement parks to select dolphins from these hunts for public display and human-dolphin interaction programmes. (Source)
What can you do? Our Save Japan Dolphin Cove Monitors and Sea Shepherds Conservation Societies Cove Guardians say don’t buy a ticket! Each and every time someone goes to a marine park, swim with dolphins, or attends dolphin assisted therapy they are supporting the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji. Be a voice for the dolphins! You can learn more at Save Japan Dolphins and The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project. Follow the Cove Guardians live stream direct from the cove during the dolphin drives.