Taiji Dolphin Hunters Give Dolphin Family The Gifts of Imprisonment and Death

               Captive Bottlenose Dolphin Photo Provided by Martyn Stewart Taiji Nov 2011

SSCS Sea Shepherds Tweet December 20, 2011 approx 9:50 PM Pacific time, Taiji: After careful review of photography & other information: 10 Bottlenose taken captive and 23 killed, including young. #Tweet4Taiji

As the Christmas holidays are upon us the dolphin hunters of Taiji continue to give the gift of death to dolphin families traveling by Taiji’s dark and dangerous coastline. Almost everyday pod after pod of dolphins have been driven into the bloody cove where they have been mercilessly slaughtered by 26 sadistic killers.

Dolphin activists had hoped that the dolphin hunters would quit early on December 20, 2011. The world of dolphin conservationist’s were still mourning the terrible deaths of two striped dolphin pods driven into the cove two days in a row and the arrest of an innocent activist on the ground in Taiji. In her post “9 Days, 7 Slaughters” Cove Monitor Heather Hill recounts a dolphins last cries, “One of the last living dolphins let out a very loud and unnatural scream that echoed throughout the Cove, piercing my heart like a knife. It sounded a bit like captive dolphins when they are told to vocalize, but with so much more pain and fear behind it.”

On December 20th when 10 banger boats headed out to sea thousands of people began hoping the hunters would come back empty handed. When the 11th, and 12th boat headed out to join the rest it seemed apparent that dolphins had been spotted and the drive would begin. Activists on the ground in Taiji looked to the horizon watching for the banger boats to move into drive formation. Then the pod was spotted, “SeaShepherd:  Taiji: A pod of dolphins being driven north toward Taiji. Still a distance away. Could be a bad day in Taiji”. The news the world had been dreading came about. A pod, a family, of bottlenose dolphins with one juvenile were being driven into the cove. Unlike days before where slaughter began immediately the pod was netted off overnight without food in shallow waters to await their fates at the hands of the hunters, and the trainers of Dolphin Base. Sea Shepherds tweeted, “Taiji: Pod is very agitated. Now jumping and spyhopping”. The nervous pod had a long night ahead.

Trainers arrived, Via Sea Shepherds, “Taiji: dark at 6 am, preparations underway for the insanity that is soon to occur. Trainers are standing by to destroy lives.” The hunters arrived shortly afterward, with their gift of death aboard the skiff. Sea Shepherds, “Taiji: several skiffs full of killers and trainers have entered the killing cove. Dolphins have been pushed into killing cove.”
Activists emailed, called The Japanese Embassies worldwide, and the Fisherman’s Union in Taiji, begging that this dolphin family be given the Christmas gift of release and freedom. The famous martial arts champion Enson Inoue appealed to Dolphin Base that mercy be shown to the dolphins. Unfortunately, this would not be the case. The pod was shattered as dolphins were selected and reports came out 4, 6, 8 selected. The last tweet from the Sea Shepherds Cove Guardians, “Taiji: total 10 dolphins taken captive. No underwater sounds from the remaining 11-15 in the pod. Presumed killed.”

The dolphin hunters have made yet, another Christmas holiday tense and ugly for the town of Taiji. A family of dolphins traveling past Taiji Japan was forever destroyed on December 21st, 2011. The hunters think they can now just rinse the blood of innocent dolphins off their hands, and white shiny boots, and go about celebrating the holidays. As they go on to their warm houses, and ring in Christmas and the New Year the surviving bottlenose dolphins are forced to deal with the loss of their families, adjust to a life of imprisonment, and endure the trauma of watching their family murdered in the bloody cove.

The dolphin hunters want to seen as “Fisherman”. They want the world to see them as fathers and husbands who care and love their community and families. Unfortunately, they will never be seen as anything but dolphin killers, cruel and sadistic. At a time when science knows how amazingly intelligent dolphins are the inhumane treatment these gentle creatures get in Taiji is deplorable and unacceptable. The dolphin hunters of Taiji have created their own modern history which has been caught on film in photos for years now. These are the images people will remember about Taiji, panicked dolphins being kicked off the rocks, drowned, speared, and slaughtered, suffering for up to 7 minutes while the cruel killers sever their spines and slowly carve them up while still alive as seen the famous Dieter Hagmann video: http://vimeo.com/28720693.

Dolphin hunting is indeed a dying business. The meat is poison, the killing inhumane beyond imagination, and the captivity that pays for it all can hardly be called traditional. The gift of captivity and death to this pod of bottlenose dolphins will not be forgotten. The dolphin killers can pretend to lead normal lives. They can try to show a rationale face to the world of men who can care and love, but the world has seen who they really are. They have twisted Taiji’s history and brought shame upon Japan this holiday and everyday they continue their inhumane and cruel hunt of the people of the sea. The dolphin killers know they are hated by the world and with good reason. They know they are called monsters of death, and with good reason. Sadly, that is how they will be remembered.

10 thoughts on “Taiji Dolphin Hunters Give Dolphin Family The Gifts of Imprisonment and Death

  1. Thank you Heather. I’m so glad to hear you are better informed than I realised, especially considering that your sources must all be in English. Also, those from raucous and inaccurate fund-raising organisations tend to get more attention than the thoughtful ones, which can skew the reader’s perception.
    “The fact that the rest of world so very much loves the Angels of the Sea and then the Japanese fishermen brutally kill them”
    I assure you most Japanese people too feel the same about dolphins! Do you know how many dolphin shows there are in Japan?

    More would know about Taiji if “The Cove” had been made less of a thriller and more of a documentary. It takes a stance that makes Japanese feel they have been attacked themselves, which means it got bad reviews, so people didn’t want to see it. The “anti-Japanese” aspect also got political groups complaining about everything they could find wrong with it, apart from the real problem of dolphinariums! I suspect that business also had a hand in diverting interest. Anyway, it is regarded as a piece of propaganda here, but is mostly forgotten.

    “thumbing their noses” ? Maybe at the activists actually IN Taiji. I don’t think they are very conscious of the rest of the world. They just don’t get that kind of information in their daily media.

    “knowing that they are toxic flesh and can’t or shouldn’t be eaten”
    I think you’ll find that they distribute the meat among local families and eat it themselves, so their is no real understanding of the pollutant dangers. Also there is not much evidence of any actual damage among the residents who eat it regularly, though tests have shown higher concentrations in their hair and nails than is normal. The actual cause and effect data on damage and the doses needed to cause it are still not very well documented. Like smoking, there are too many people who have survived to a ripe old age, and such anecdotal evidence is more convincing to the layman than real scientific research.

    “Taiji Whale Museum and Dolphin shows, statues and pictures everywhere of dolphins. and then the killing is just yonder over at the Cove. Hypocrisy..”

    They don’t see the disconnect there. But have you compared how hunters and fishermen treat the animals they kill, stuffed heads on the walls, and photos of that huge marlin, etc? Then there are the meat markets of the west; the farmers are proud of and love their cattle and other animals, but they are eventually slaughtered for food. More humanely than the dolphins at Taiji, usually. But I presume people don’t demand Halal meat where you live. A quarter of the world’s population does!

    Anyway, MY soapbox is
    1) that foreign presence in Taiji serves to inform the world of animal activist groups but not the dolphinarium audience, and
    2) that foreign presence in Taiji makes the problem seem to be one of cultural differences nd miscommunication. It will not draw the general Japanese population, in particular the dolphinarium audience, into solving the problem. That’s why there are few Japanese NGOs involved.

    Things look different from over here, but only if you get your information in Japanese…..
    5 to 8 hours a day? Wow, I could use a researcher like you! Learn Japanese NOW! 😀

    An e-mail to this group may well get an response in English if you have questions about data, though there isn’t much visible on their site.

  2. Yes, Diane, “The cove movie came out in 2009 and” people around the world are STILL going to dolphin shows! Why haven’t they banned dolphinariums yet?

    The Japanese too love dolphin shows, so they are guilty along with the rest of the world (except a few countries, such as the UK, which have effectively banned cetacean captivity). They DO need to get involved. In fact, here in Japan we are working on this, but it doesn’t help to have foreign activists accusing. Having the same goals as “extremist groups” makes us appear to be connected with them, undermines sympathy for the dolphins and drives people away.

    Yes, the people of Taiji are fully aware, but that doesn’t mean that they see things in the same way as we do. Muslims believe that they must only eat meat that is” Halal”, i.e. killed in the correct manner, otherwise it is unclean and forbidden. (FYI: There is a Youtube video called “This is Halal” which will show you just how cruel it is.) The people of Taiji (though I’m sure there are some who differ) have a similar attitude to dolphins; they are another bounty of the sea, along with seaweed, octopus, seaslugs and numerous other foods that westerners might not consider food.
    I don’t think we can expect the hunters of Taiji to suddenly abandon dolphin simply because WE don’t like it, and more than Muslims can be expected to abandon Halal, or for Catholics to start using alcohol-free wine in their “Communion”.
    However, if the market for live dolphins were to stop, they would only catch as many as they could sell as meat. And since the income from meat is far less than that from live dolphins, fewer hunters would be able to make a living this way. Outside of Taiji, the people who eat whale and dolphin tend to be older, which means the market is already shrinking. In time it will die out. The worry is that opposition from abroad is giving fuel to the argument for “maintaining Japanese culture.”
    I often hear criticism that Japanese NGOs are making no progress, but one big reason for that is that they are continually being undermined by the antagonistic efforts of foreign activists.
    (For example; the Cove Guardians of 2010 with their highly offensive language, which they then had the temerity to put on Youtube! Consequently there are now Japanese versions, pointing out how irrational and unreasonable their behaviour was.)

    As far as progress is concerned, peaceful efforts by such as Ric O’Barry to stop the hunt in Taiji have been going on for decades but have yet to stop the hunt.

    On the other hand, the hunters HAVE responded to pressure and made attempts to reduce the cruelty of the killing, though the effectiveness of these is questionable and has even been accused of being merely a device for hiding the slaughter.

    There is a big problem here that many of the foreigners who visit Taiji (and, I suspect, MOST of those who support those who come) are not aware of the Japanese media except through highly selective sources such as SSCS. For example: You may have heard rumours that donations for the tsunami disaster were being used for whaling: this was not only a complete fiction, but even went so far as to quote my translation of the relevant government announcement (which was about the use of government money) as proof!

    I too want the slaughter in Taiji to end, so please help me: The best way you can help is to SUPPORT Japanese NGOs with the same objective, so that they can keep their own house in order. Meanwhile, please work to end the very existence of dolphinariums in your own country. Whether or not the dolphins there actually came from Taiji or not is irrelevant. Taiji is only one of the worldwide suppliers for a worldwide market.

    “Keep wildlife in the wild”

    JWCS [Japan Wildlife Conservation Society]

    IKAN [Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network]

    Hope this helps!


    • Simon, the only way the rest of the world can see or hear what is going on in Taiji is to advocate and be activists for the dolphins. You are very accussing there in your statement to Diane. The world must and will know what is going on and if you don’t like it, so what! Activists don’t want or need your or anyone’s permission or whatever to CARE about the many, many innocent lives that are being taken. Just because they (Japanese)are cruel and heartless doesn’t mean any one of us are going to stop bringing it to the attention of the rest of the world. Just because japanese don’t seeem to care about the cruelty, we and the rest of the world do. Peace

      • I appreciate your passion, Heather, and would love to stop the slaughter at Taiji. If you would help me, we could do it sooner. But the current protests are merely building sympathy for the hunters among the people who could most easily stop them; the Japanese people.

        What I am suggesting is that there are more effective things you can do to help the dolphins than tell the world that “the Japanese” are to blame for Taiji.

        It is the millions of visitors to dolphinariums, both in Japan and around the world, that need to be told about the connection between their favourite show and the barbarity at, not only Taiji, but in the Solomon Islands and other places.

        Statements such as “they (Japanese)are cruel and heartless” miss the point, and demonstrate a severe lack of knowledge of Japan. There are only 23 men licensed to kill the dolphins and almost 130,000,000 people in Japan. Are they all to blame for the fault of a few?
        What about the 10,000 dolphins a year that are HARPOONED in the the north of Japan?
        (suspended last year, thanks to the tsunami…)
        What about the hundreds drowned every DAY in the nets and hooks of tuna and other fisheries, or drowned in fish traps near the shore around the world? Everyone who eats tuna is complicit in this, just as everyone who visits Sea World or the like is complicit in the cruelty at Taiji.

        THAT is what the world needs to be awakened to.
        Taiji is just the tip of the iceberg.

        (BTW I had no intention of accusing Diane, nor am I yet aware of what I’ve accused her of.)

        • Simon, I am very sorry I got so upset at your message. I don’t mean that all Japanese are cruel and heartless, just the 26 killers and quite frankly, the trainers too. (you mentioned 23 killers, did some of them die or something?) As far as Diane goes, I meant that it sounded accusatory to her that’s all. She was just responding to a message from me. I didn’t mean to get mad at you really. I am just so upset that my (yes…my and the world’s, dolphins are being viciously murdered. If you’ve seen any of my posts you would notice that I indeed do go off on Dolphinariums and all the associated FUN (???)things to do with Dolphins, I know that Dolphin shows are the real killers and Sea World is the worst. Believe me, I do everything I can to try to stop them. However, money is very powerful and those who have it (Sea World and others like them) will do anything to keep the shows going. As for the Tuna industry, it has been supposedly cleaned up, but as we know (you and I)that is a bunch of lies. the American Tuna Lobby is very powerful. The American Tuna industry simply employs foreign fishermen with foreign flags on their foreign ships to do their dirty work, thusly avoiding the Laws America has supposedly set up to protect dolphins and whales. What is very upsetting about the Japanese involvement is that they claim the Dolphins are eating all their fish and therefore are pests to be eliminated. The fact that the rest of world so very much loves the Angels of the Sea and then the Japanese fishermen brutally kill them knowing that they are toxic flesh and can’t or shouldn’t be eaten, so then grind them up for fertilizer is just too much for caring people to endure. They are thumbing their noses at the rest of the caring world and saying we don’t care if you love them because we hate them and if we can’t sell all the ones we capture then we will kill the rest and it is our right as a soverign nation to do what we want with our sealife, thus depriving the rest of the world of the beloved dolphins. It is almost like the killers revel in know how hurtful it is the the world. That is just unbearable. They don’t care about the dolphins or whales, yet they have put on the phoney face of pretending to care about them. ie..Taiji Whale Museum and Dolphin shows, statues and pictures everywhere of dolphins. and then the killing is just yonder over at the Cove. Hypocrisy at it’s worst. I can’t get off of this soapbox, I will not stop trying. Thank you for being so gentle in your comment to me. I was very harsh to you. I probably shouldn’t be speaking on their behalf with my anger welling up, maybe I should just keep it nice. What can I say there? I spend 5 to 8 hours a day trying to save dolphins and whales. It is very stressful. The majority of people in USA don’t take the time to help. I will close now knowing that I have at least tried to get through to someone interested in the dolphin cause. Peace! Heather

  3. How is this possible? The cove movie came out in 2009 and the slaughter is still going on more now then ever. What’s going on?? Heather Hintz might have a point. I continue to ask myself is this senseless slaughter ever gone to end?? The bottom line i believe is the japanese people need to get involved. The governman black out the media so the japanese people is not exposed to this cove. It’s up to the japanese people to stop this. I’m confused, it’s hard to believe that the Taiji community does not know that this is gone on.Could somebody give me some insight on this subject please?

  4. I, along with the rest of the “Caring World” are so very sad at the huge losses suffered by the dolphins(and us; the ones who care), as well as having the utter helpless feelings and knowing that as of right now, no one can save them from the MONSTERS.
    Semi-unrelated comment to follow. Does it seem to be strange coincedence that shortly after all the Japanese Embassies and Consulates in the World received a Japaneses language copy of The Cove sent to them (at the same time as the Empire State Building was lit up for Dolphins),that they started persecuting the Dolphin watchers and friends of the dolphins and whales. Just think about that? Were they really uninformed as to what was going on in the COVE, and now that they know how the Cove movie was done and the real impact it could have on the rest of the world, they are now more dillegent and ruthless? I wonder, do you?

  5. For the dolphins of Taiji, I wrote this poem for them: 12/22/2011

    The dolphins of Taiji

    I heard the cry of dolphins trapped
    Where cruelty reigns and time stood still
    The sinister plans have all been mapped
    4 days before Christmas, the dark ones kill

    A mother gazed this darkest morn
    And fell into the blood bath worn
    Her babies cry I’ll not forget
    The pain these killers fate they met

    The water is red and choking with death
    The haunting sound of no more breathe
    Oh horrible morning, oh morning of dread!
    And even the sun is eerily red.

    to take the finest and make them dance
    and slaughter the ones that have no chance
    the mothers, the fathers, the babies cry
    resounding echos throughout the sky

    Oh men wbo think their deeds so great
    Will one day find and meet their fate
    Their life will one day know this pain
    The wrath of God holds much distain

    To hear the boisterous humans rejoice
    While never giving life a choice
    To eyes that will forever retreat
    While uttering words, “We shall have Meat.”

    For all the ones with bloody hands
    Who feel no shame for which they stand
    To slaughter the keepers of our seas
    and take away their lives so free

    The laws have lost their meaning and core,
    When life is no longer a choice any more.
    Love and compassion, a worthless noise
    When ego is king of all it destroys

    I’ll never forget this day at sea
    When dolphins suffered at Taiji
    December 21,2011
    I know there is a sea that lives in heaven♥
    By Janet Geren

  6. Kristin,

    Very good words, your passion and pain of these past few week’s, months and years of this atrocity. I am right with you.

    Happy freaking holidays!! Hopefully a good portion of dolphins pass by this horrible place and over the next few weeks. And may all of the captives from this season’s and the ones past, have found some sort of peace. I love them.


  7. Pingback: Taiji Dolphin Hunters Gives Dolphin Family The Gifts of Imprisonment and Death « Kirsten Writes

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