© Michael Nolan
Stop the Taiji Slaughter
© Michael Nolan
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Save Japan Dolphins

The Problem

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.  

Our Action Campaign

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 2016-17 season, 595 were reportedly 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.

Current Challenges

The Taiji dolphin slaughter continues. The Academy  Award-winning documentary “The Cove” depicts the work of the International Marine Mammal Project in opposing the dolphin hunts in Taiji.  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're also leading a campaign to influence Japan to stop killing whales and dolphins and we are requesting International Olympics Committee to ban whale and dolphin products at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We also joined in filing the successful first-ever lawsuit in Japan against the Taiji Whale Museum, which brokers many of the live dolphins caught in Taiji during the slaughter.  With success in the courts, the Museum and other dolphinariums cannot prohibit entry of activists.

Taiji Dolphin Slaughter for Season 2017-18

Taiji Dolphin Slaughter for Season 2017-18

Mark J. Palmer, March 2018

The horrible and heartless season of slaughter of dolphins in Taiji has ceased for now (although Taiji hunters can still harpoon dolphins, mostly pilot whales, during the next few months as they go out from Taiji to fish).  It is time to assess how this past season, from Sept. 1st, 2017 to March 1st, 2018, has played out.

The International Marine Mammal Project remains adamantly opposed and actively working to end the cruel and completely unnecessary dolphin hunts in Taiji and elsewhere in Japan.  

Read More >

Killing Quota Raised Again By Japan Fisheries Agency

Killing Quota Raised Again By Japan Fisheries Agency

Mark J. Palmer, January 2018

The integrity of science and setting conservation quotas has again been rudely corrupted by the Japan Fisheries Agency, which, according to Cetabase , has raised quotas for Taiji dolphin killers for the second time this season.

On December 1st, the Fisheries Agency raised quotas for two species, newly placed on the quota list for Taiji during the summer, which had been slaughtered up to the existing quotas.  

Read more >


Save Dolphins T-shirt with Your Donation!

Save Dolphins T-shirt with Your Donation!

Donate today and receive this beautiful new Save Japan Dolphins campaign t-shirt. It's a gift that makes a difference for dolphin lives. Organic Cotton. Free Shipping.

Japan: Ban Dolphin and Whale Products at 2020 Olympics!

Japan: Ban Dolphin and Whale Products at 2020 Olympics!

Read our letter to the Olympics Committee requesting that the upcoming Toko Olympics are cetacean cruelty-free.

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Stop The Slaughter: Sign The Petition

Stop The Slaughter: Sign The Petition

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

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