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After The Cove – A Report From Taiji, Japan

December 3rd, 2010 by Webmaster

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Photo Credit : Mia Kiander

Photo Credit : Mia Kiander

Standing atop a promontory in Taiji, Japan, I’m enduring an agonizing wait to see if today will bring another merciless slaughter of dolphins. I’ve been in Taiji for four days now and have witnessed over 60 dolphins lose their lives at the hands of the Taiji fishermen. On November 29th, a large pod of more than 50 spotted dolphins were killed, while a pod of 10 risso’s dolphins were destroyed the following day. On both occasions, babies were among the victims. I am deeply troubled that almost a year after The Cove won the Academy Award for Best Documentary the fishermen have employed a new killing method that reduces the flow of blood into the cove’s waters. They have also perfected the transfer of dead and dying bodies under blue tarpaulins so that the bodies are rarely seen as they are moved to and from the grisly gutting barge and butcher house.

On previous days, I’ve watched as so-called “banger” boats round up the dolphins at sea by creating a wall of sound with incessant banging on metal pipes, which drives the dolphins into the cove. Once the net has been dropped, they are then driven farther into the cove and up onto the rocky beach beyond public sight for slaughter. In some instances, as with the pod of risso’s dolphins I observed, the pod gets separated in such a way that some dolphins are slaughtered well before others, and those awaiting their gruesome end must listen as their family members are murdered. The scene is a profound horror, and one can only imagine the terror, pain, and fear that these highly intelligent and sentient beings must be experiencing as they are hunted down and their lives extinguished.

Currently there are 50-60 captured dolphins being held in small pens to be trained for a life in captivity. They can spend months in these pens swimming in mindless circles, undergoing daily “training” sessions, in which they learn that food now comes from a human, and only after performing a meaningless trick like jumping in the air, touching a ball with their nose, or waving their fin. I cannot express how desperately sad and disturbing it is to see these incredible beings, who were living free and wild only days and weeks before, suffer such degradation and exploitation in this way. Their lives have been shattered, their freedom and families lost, and now their dignity taken too. It is heartbreaking and shameful.

As for the fate of the dolphins this day, I am happy to report that due to bad weather, they managed to get away and escape the hunters’ conniving trap. For all the dolphins who won’t be as lucky as these were, please take action to help them.

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  82. December 07, 2010 at 1:43 pm, Miriam said:

    Scott, we demonstrated against this slaughter in Seattle at the Japanese consulate which made them very uncomfortable. We should all boycott Japanese goods until this monstrous massacre stops. Contact the Japanese government and let them know you will not travel to Japan or buy Japanese goods until this ends. It’s all about money with exploiters!

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  83. December 04, 2010 at 3:22 am, Lindsey Powell said:

    Thank God that masses of people out there do care and try to stop this barbaric treatment of dolphins,if you feel helpless just spreading the awareness telling people what goes on, signing petitions, donating, anything you can if we give up we have failed,what is cultural about the pain and bloodshed of innocents,I thank all the active protesters,and sit here with a very sad heart.

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  84. December 04, 2010 at 12:45 am, Alan said:

    Quotations
    “When an exuberant, highly social dolphin has been put through the agony of being captured in a throw net, separated from its family, hoisted brutally out of the sea, confined in a training pen, injected with vitamins and antibiotics, and submitted to weeks of brainwashing sessions, it is turned from a proud raider of the sea into a submissive beggar and clown. It is this now perverted creature that some behaviorists attempt to analyze.
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  85. December 03, 2010 at 7:08 pm, Mari said:

    We need to’ create a strong wall of sound underwater so that The dolphin won’t go into The Cove.
    If I had the money to’ di it I will do it myself.
    Dolphins need to’ be educated to’ run from that place.
    Please pass this idea to The people that can actually create this wall of sound.
    Guarding The Cove doesn’t help right now. We Are all watching with our heart broken.
    Dolphins Are very intelligent they can learn to’ run.
    With love
    Mari

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  86. December 03, 2010 at 2:33 pm, Kel said:

    Thank you for all that you do. Keep fighting the good fight. I know how heartbreaking it must be at times. Just reading this tears me up inside.

    Sometimes, we can’t afford to measure our efforts by success or failure. Sometimes, all that keeps us sane is crawling into bed at night knowing that we did the right thing. That we fought the good fight… and, that tomorrow, we’ll fight another one.

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  87. December 03, 2010 at 1:22 pm, Scott said:

    Jennifer, agreed. Very true. I just get so discouraged sometimes. I will keep fighting.

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  88. December 03, 2010 at 12:10 pm, Jennifer said:

    Scott,

    So thankful there are more people out there who are stepping up! Keep up the faith, passion, and action! It takes time. If we do nothing, it will surely continue, BUT our mass outrage, boycotts, political pressure, VOICE (as in the creation and publicizing of The Cove–even reposting this update), etc. will eventually prevail. Stay strong in the memory of every single individual who was murdered, so that the others have a better future. Eventually, there will be no market nor demand, so the slaughter will be useless to them.

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  89. December 03, 2010 at 12:01 pm, Scott said:

    What action can be taken? I have spread the word of the movie the Cove, donated money, had endless discussions with uninformed people, and the slaughter continues. The Japanese stand defiant and claim it is cultural. I hate to be so negative, but I cannot see what can be done to convince the Japanese to stop this. What more can be done? I simply have no more confidence in the human race, and can not see an end to this meaningless slaughter or any of the numerous acts of cruelty toward all animals worldwide on a daily basis. I am saddened to be part of this human race.

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  90. December 03, 2010 at 11:46 am, Brighid said:

    I’m at such a loss of words. The courage to watch, document and share with the rest of the world a scene of sheer horror.. I’m so thankful there are people out there who risk their lives and sanity to educate the world of such atrocities. IDA will always have my support. Will share this in my network.

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