Before and After Taiji

By Kirsten Massebeau

Photo Created by Michelle Jean of Striped Dolphin and packaged Striped Dolphin

“Sexual maturity is reached at 12-15 years. Longevity is about 55–60 years. Gestation lasts approximately 12 months and there is a three or four year gap between having babies”. At first one might think the above description is referring to the life time, and reproductive process of a human. Interestingly, this is not the life span of a human but a striped dolphin. Their brains are large as mans, and they live in a uniquely complex social world where family is everything. These deep water pelagic beings do not often venture close to shorelines but prefer the open sea. Being elusive their actual numbers are considered data deficient. They have been found to be most resistant to imprisonment (captivity), and have proven to be untrainable. These noble beings cannot be broken.

Video Provided by Save Japan Dolphin

Sadly no mercy or respect is shown to the monarchs of the sea in Taiji Japan.  The small town coastal town stubbornly continues to hunt dolphins rejecting all modern scientific discoveries revealing advanced intelligence and sensitivity in cetaceans. A senseless slaughter supported by the captive dolphin industry gives this small group of men the incentive to continue the hunt. February 12th, 2012 will be yet another day of memory for another pod lost. Approximately 33 striped dolphins were driven into the cove after a chase lasting several hours. Once the dolphins were exhausted, and panicked the hunters pushed them into the cove, netted them off and then one by one dragged them into the shallows slowly slaughtering the fighting dolphin family. Striped dolphins are known to panic in the cove often launching onto the rocky cliffs. Activists on the ground in Taiji report of the suffering SeaShepherd, “Taiji: Dolphins thrashing and Killers yelling as pod is murdered one by one under the tarps. 11:37am #tweet4taiji”. The Japanese Government has tried to claim that they are slaughtering these highly sensitive beings humanely. Last year’s undercover filming under the blue tarp by Dieter Hagmann demonstrated suffering beyond imagination that continued for 7 minutes.

Tim Burns (SJD), “Approx 30 striped dolphins killed today in the cove. We will upload the footage of dolphins still alive in the boat tonight onto savejapandolphins .org”
Sea Shepherds, “Taiji: 31 striped dolphins were murdered today. 2 babies w/ mother released at sea. Questionable if mother was still alive”.

A family, a community of parents with children murdered and three possible survivors dumped at sea. The senselessness destruction of this pod of striped dolphins for meat that is tainted with mercury, PCB’s and other pollutants makes no sense. Not only are these 30 dolphin hunters causing dolphins to senselessly suffer while they destroy dolphin lives and families,  they are also causing direct harm to the community in which they live by selling the dolphin meat, “Mercury levels in dolphin meat sold in Japan are far higher than would occur in nature and certainly higher than is allowed under the health standards of any developed nation. There are also high levels of cadmium and PCBs as well as chemicals of the dioxin group”

So why does the killing and capturing continue? The meat is still sold in the grocery stores although it’s demand is dying quickly as the people of Japan attempt to get foods free of toxins and the popularity of dolphin meat has declined radically. The captive industry continues to subsidize the slaughter but why does the slaughter continue?

Compiled from "Living With Whales" by Michelle Jean

It seems the dolphin hunters of Taiji know the days of the hunt are over. For the last 40 years 1000’s upon 1000’s of dolphins have been murdered in The Cove. Now it’s time to end it. Let’s start talking and working on a solution.
Join the fight today!