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, Nov. 2018
The annual dolphin hunt and slaughter begins in Taiji on September 1st, and goes through the end of February (although the dolphin hunters can still harpoon pilot whales through March).
This year is off to another slow start, with only a few pods of dolphins successfully herded into the notorious Cove and killed (with some, inevitably, being hauled out and separated from their families forever, for a life of captivity). Weather has been poor, and at other times the hunters have simply failed in finding any offshore pods of dolphins.
Mark J. Palmer, October 2018
Japan’s government continues to issue so-called “scientific” permits for their whaling operations to go after a variety of whale species, including the sei whale in the North Pacific, one of the species that suffered decline due to whaling during the mid-20th century.
Now, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has made it official – Japan can’t claim to be hunting endangered sei whales for “scientific research” purposes when the government continues selling the whale meat.
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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