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 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.
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.
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.
Mark Palmer, December 2017
With half the season over, the total number of dolphins slaughtered so far is only 129 dolphins, despite Taiji receiving quotas for two new species to kill this season. This compares with 300 dolphins killed by Nov. 30th in 2016, making this season’s kill only 43% of last season’s at this time.
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Read our letter to the Olympics Committee requesting that the upcoming Toko Olympics are cetacean cruelty-free.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