Every year, in Taiji, Japan, dolphins are chased into a small cove and butchered in the most horrific and cruel way imaginable. The hunts are subsidized by the dolphin captivity industry, which pays top dollar for a few “show quality” dolphins that are ripped from their families. The rest of the pod is killed for meat laden with mercury and PCBs. Most Japanese don’t even know the hunts exist. The Japanese government supports the dolphin killers and denies any health issues.
In 2004, we started our Save Japan Dolphins campaign. Through our educational work in Japan, the number of people eating dolphin meat has dropped dramatically. When we started, about 1,600 dolphins were killed inTaiji every year. In the 2014-15 season, fewer than 750 were killed. The Academy Award–winning documentary, The Cove, depicts Earth Island Institute’s campaign in Taiji to stop the dolphin hunts. Recently, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, after 10 years of pressure, agreed to suspend the membership of any Japanese aquarium sourcing dolphins from Taiji. In response, Japan zoos and aquariums voted overwhelmingly to stop buying live dolphins from Taiji.
The Taiji dolphin slaughter continues. The government claims the kills are part of Japan’s traditional culture when, in fact, they only started in 1969. Many Japanese who oppose the hunts are afraid to speak out publicly because of threats from the government and the extremist anti-foreigners groups. We continue to work inside Japan with Japanese activists and organizations to fight the dolphin killing and spread the news about mercury contamination of dolphin meat. We also joined in filing the first-ever lawsuit in Japan against the Taiji Whale Museum, which brokers many of the live dolphins caught in Taiji during the slaughter.
Mark J. Palmer, March 2017
On Feb. 28th, the dolphin hunters at Taiji began removing the banger poles from their vessels and re-rigged their vessels for the bonita fishing season. The 6-months-long dolphin-hunting season came to a close.
From Sept. 1st, 2016, through Feb. 27th 2017, according to Ceta-Base, Taiji dolphin hunters slaughtered 595 dolphins for mercury-laden meat and captured 232 dolphins for a life of suffering in captivity. These numbers are based on counts by volunteer monitors in Taiji, so may undercount the actual numbers, not to mention the many dolphins that die from physiological stress and injuries.
Mark Palmer, February 2017
The Korean activist group Hotpinkdolphins were successful in getting three bottlenose dolphins rehabilitated and released back into the wild after they had spent up to four years in captivity. The dolphins quickly joined their original pods from which they had been snatched. The International Marine Mammal Project helped consult on that successful rehab and release of captive dolphins.
Now, aquariums in Korea are proposing to import several more dolphins for captivity from Taiji, Japan, the notorious slaughterhouse depicted in the documentary The Cove.
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Helping kids affected by the Fukushima disaster experience nature and learn about and swim with wild dolphins.Read More
Sign this petition telling the Mayor of Taiji and Japanese Prime Minister Abe that the slaughter and trade in live dolphins are unacceptable and must end.Sign Here