An Era Ends as Dolphin, and BBC Wildlife Photographer-Filmmaker is Denied Entrance to Japan


By Kirsten Massebeau

On February 14, 2014 (Japan time), Martyn Stewart dolphin and BBC wildlife photographer-filmmaker was held in custody at Osaka Airport where he was grilled by Japanese authorities, and  eventually expelled from the country following a grueling interrogation. Martyn reached out to his many friends and followers from his detention cell at Osaka Airport, posting on Facebook:

“I am Locked in a cell room at Osaka airport waiting on an appeal to the high minister regarding my entry into Japan. I’m accused of being sea shepherd and an Eco terrorist, my footage is not liked in Japan apparently and have been accused of assaulting members of the public. In 4 years of being here for the dolphins I have maintained the law and abided by their rules. My words and pictures did the rest. The government of Japan will do anything to protect the rights of the fishermen of Taiji and the barbaric treatment of the animals involved.
Please share far and wide to bring awareness to this corrupt government and those that want to continue to brutally treat these amazing animals. The condition I’m in and the treatment I have received is nothing short of criminal”. — at Kansai Airport Line.

“Incredible feelings again in my stomach, I never thought i would come back here again so soon but things just happen like this in life, weird! It’s not the place you would want to keep coming back to, i mean you wouldn’t keep going back to a shitty restaurant, right! This place just has me tied up too much though, i hate the thought of abandoning these animals and i feel it every-time i leave. My promise to them was i would always come back until i knew it would stop. Whether it be because they want to stop (fishermen) or because they become extinct. We just have to be their voice”…. January 2013, in Wakayama-shi, Japan.(Martyn Stewart)

While Martyn Stewart of Nature’s Sound is known for his beautiful recordings of birds and wildlife for documentaries, his images and video documentation of the cruel dolphin drives in Taiji, Japan are legendary. His passion can be seen in his pictures and videos, of the terrible dolphin suffering he has witnessed over the years as he documented the dolphin drive in Taiji. His videos and images have compelled many activists to speak out, and take action, for the dolphins.

While many of the photographers coming to Taiji keep their lenses focused on the dolphin victims only, Martyn goes further. He took the lens of his camera beyond the dolphin suffering capturing images of the small group of people who are profiting from the sale of dolphins dead and alive. Above is an image of Mr. Myoshi owner of the Dolphin Resort, and a broker of dolphins. Each trained dolphin he sells to aquariums can bring him up to 200,000 while a dead dolphin brings the hunters the equivalent of hundreds of  dollars for the butchered meat which is sold for human consumption, dog food, and fertilizer (bottlenose dolphins). The meat is Mercury laden and toxic yet the slaughter and consumption by a few continues.

While taking portrait images is frowned upon in Japan, Martyn’s pictures of those involved in the dolphin drives have sparked the global community in a profound way leading the viewers to question how Marine Parks have become so entwined the terrible capture and slaughter of these highly intelligent beings, dolphins and small whales. The dolphin trainers, many of whom are certified by the International Marine Animals Trainer Association (IMATA), work side by side with the hunters simultaneously selecting the young beautiful dolphins for captivity, while slaughtering the older dolphins their parents, and grandparents. One might think that IMATA would vehemently oppose dolphin drive fisheries claiming they love dolphins yet the opposite is true. IMATA welcomes trainers from dolphin drive fisheries:

“Any individual who believes in IMATA’s mission and who supports its goals is welcomed into the membership. This means that if an individual works for an organization that acquires dolphins from a drive fishery, up to and including participating in the selection and collection of live animals, s/he is welcomed by IMATA”.(source)

While the Taiji ISANA “Fisherman’s” Union claims the hunt is “tradition” history tells a very different story. It is no wonder the dolphin hunters go to such great lengths to hide the bodies of their dolphins victims who suffer and die so slowly under the tarps draped so skillfully over the blood filled shallows of the killing cove. In a recent article entitled, “Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt Is Not A Tradition”, Mark Palmer of Earth Island Institute quotes star and co creator of academy award winning documentary, The Cove, Ric O’Barry who explains that in fact the Taiji, dolphin drives are not “tradition”:

“This claim of ‘Japanese tradition’ is nonsense,” stated Ric O’Barry, Director of Earth Island’s Dolphin Project.  “The dolphin drive hunts, according to the town’s own written history, says a couple of drive hunts occurred in 1936 and 1944, but the current series of hunts only began in 1969(source).

“We do not want these animals to have died in vain. They died because of ignorance. The next pod caught is partly in your hands. Talk, educate, be proactive”. November, 2013— at太地町.(Martyn Stewart)

The capture of dolphins for aquariums and marine parks  is a multi-million dollar industry that the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and their partners the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) who sits on WAZA’s animal ethics board of directors do not want to see end. The dolphins born in captivity cannot fill the demand for display dolphins hence the need is filled with blood dolphins.

While Martyn will no longer be exposing, and reporting on the dolphin capture and slaughter in Taiji, Japan his time spent there was not in vain. Martyn Stewart showed us the faces and suffering behind the dolphin slaughter and capture. His pictures and video are timeless as is his is an example to us all practicing what he preaches. He is a strict vegan, and true animal lover, who will never be silenced in his quest to help all living creatures, and to expose animal suffering whenever and wherever it occurs.

Leaving the land that kill dolphins and small wales, leaving animals that I so much promised I would be with until this insanity stops, leaving with a sence of failure yet one of pride that I did what I could and I will never forget that. Leaving a country that so much needs our guidance and not interference, leaving Taiji in a far worse state than I found it in. Leaving behind many friends that I made and will probably never see again. Leaving a large piece of my heart on a beach in Taiji — at Kansai International Airport.(Martyn Stewart)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Another Brutal Slaughter of Risso Dolphins in The Cove


A Risso Dolphin, Photo provided by Izumi Ishii ex-dolphin hunter

Yesterday a pod of Risso dolphins with a baby were brutally slaughtered in The Cove. The of  dolphin hunters of Taiji show no mercy when it comes to the woman and children of the people of the sea. On October 4th The Taiji Dolphin Hunters drove a pod of striped dolphins in the cove with a newborn infant among the pod. Get Educated Legg recounts the moments before slaughter,  We watched as they rounded the dolphins into the cove but not before we saw something magical, a baby dolphin, a newborn! jumping 3 metres into the air. they were then taken to their death. only one was chosen for a life of captivity and to me, he was the unlucky one. we could hear the screams.” http://geteducatedlegg.blogspot.com/2011/10/red-october-begins.html

Now again today another pod of Risso dolphins has been driven into “The Cove” every dolphin in the pod brutally slaughter with their suffering lasting almost ten minutes. This Dieter Hagmann video secretly captured last season got behind the blue tarp to reveal how the people of the sea were being murdered:

This blood curdling video shows suffering beyond what any person should ever have to endure. Each dolphin that dies behind the blue tarp is a mother, a father, a child, an infant. These pods of dolphins are communities of sea people. Within their highly social and complex framework these families live symbiotically with the oceans, and the earth.

“Bottlenose dolphins have convincingly demonstrated that they use a mirror to investigate their own bodies, showing that they have a sense of self (Reiss and Mrino, 2001). These findings are consistent with further evidence for self-awareness and self-monitoring in dolphins and related cognitive abilities (see Marino et al, 2008, for a review). In particular, the highly elaborated cingulate and insular cortex in cetacean brains are consistent with the idea that these animals are highly sophisticated and sensitive in the emotional and social -emotional sophistication not achieved by other animals including humans.

All of the above factors provide cause for concern over the vulnerability of whales and dolphins when placed in stressful situations, including  capture, drive hunts, and the disruption of social networks. Moreover, conservation measures that do not take into account the psychological complexity of these animals will do little to alleviate suffering on an individual level. Beyond our scientific understanding, our current knowledge of cetacean brains and cognitive abilities demands we develop a new ethic of respect and coexistence with them” (Phillip Brakes and Mark Peter Simmonds, Whales and Dolphins Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions, Washington, DC, Earthscan, 2011).

Surely the dolphin hunters have family and children. Why they cannot show the people of the sea mercy, why they will not recognize cetacean intelligence is a mystery to the world. Why they would rather murder, than explore the many lessons the people of the sea offer us as humans. “One of Taiji’s excuses for killing dolphins is “pest control” – they claim the dolphins are eating all their fish. I’ll point out that Risso dolphins primarily hunt deep sea squid at night. The squid are so deep, it’s highly unlikely that Taiji’s fishermen would ever catch these squid in the first place. So, perhaps – they should consider what Risso dolphins actually eat before making these statements.”(Brian Barnes, 10/24/2011, FB).

Photo of the Dolphin Hunter provided by Martyn Stewart October 23 2011

The dolphin hunters want to be understood by the world but all the world can see is a sea of blood. All the world can hear is the dolphins crying out for mercy as the hunters shove bamboo nails in their blow holes, while slowly severing their spinal cords. It makes us wonder why these men cannot see themselves through the worlds eyes. They know they are hated, they know the world sees them as monsters yet they continue murdering the people of the sea.

As slaughter after slaughter goes on we the activists, the voice of the dolphins, will continue to document the atrocities of the Taiji dolphin hunters taking place in “The Cove” and we will broadcast to the world until public out cry forces the hunters to end the systematic slaughter of dolphins migrating past Taiji, Japan.

Please join us as we fight to save the people of the sea before it’s too late. The links below all have take action links to help save the dolphins of Taiji.

http://savemistythedolphin.blogspot.com/p/taiji-urgent-contact-list.html

http://www.savejapandolphins.org/

http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/