Japan’s defense of the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji is right up there with its nonsense about “scientific” whaling. Somehow “tradition” is used as an excuse, but few in Japan eat dolphin meat (or whale meat for that matter) while the real motivation for the hunt is the extremely profitable, selling off of live dolphins to private marine parks. Sorry, Sea World and their ilk are not hallowed cultural traditions.

Hungary, Costa Rica, Chile and India have all banned parks with marine mammals due to their inherent cruelty. India has gone on to recognize the “personhood” of dolphins. Sound crazy? Scientists and philosophers at a 2012 conference for the American Association for the Advancement of Science didn’t think it crazy at all, agreeing that whales, dolphins and other cetaceans should be afforded the same rights as human beings under a “Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans”.

A free dolphin hops outside the net its pod is trapped in. Pic: Sea Shepherd

But Japan carries on defending the hunt under a cultural smokescreen, while at the same time hiding it from public view. How many Japanese might turn against the “hallowed” hunt if they saw the waters of the cove at Taiji turn red with dolphin blood? The same dolphins that tend to “like” humans when they encounter us in the water; surfing with us and curiously examining us with their extraordinary sonar abilities. They have been known to save people from drowning and guard swimmers from sharks. Dolphins have complex societies, closely knit family bonds and friendships, and may even be able to “read”.

And what about all that mercury in dolphin meat?

Louie Psihoyos, director of the film “The Cove”, the documentary that originally blew the roof off of the Taiji hunt, is quoted in the Guardian:

It is reprehensible that the Taiji dolphin hunters are killing dolphins for human consumption, because all dolphin meat is toxic – up to 5,000 times more toxic than allowed by the World Health Organisation. The hunters claim they are poor and need the meat to feed their families, but who would feed poison to their children and parents? The dolphin hunters make up to US$200,000 for each captive dolphin so they are anything but poor. They also claim they are family men, but they have just massacred a whole pod full of families.

Since last Friday I’ve posted a few times over on greenfudge.org regarding the Taiji dolphin hunt. The slaughter usually starts in September and lasts through March. The only reason anyone is hearing about what happens in the cove is thanks to the efforts of Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians, who film and live stream the hunt on their website, together with the many activists who campaign via Twitter and other social media in order to get the mainstream media to cover the story. This year they have been extraordinarily successful in terms of garnering attention, but the hunt continues.

According to the Cove Guardian’s Facebook page, of the over 250 dolphins that were recently corralled in the cove, so far 52 have been taken captive, 41 killed and between 130-140 driven back into the sea.

A tarp covers dead dolphins and bloody water. Pic: Sea Shepherd