Shut Taiji Down.
I wish journalists would stop reporting the Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan cetacean drive hunts as an “annual cull” in the press. It happens SIX months of the year. It’s ongoing. It starts in September and continues to March each and every year. I can’t help but think this is deliberate mis-use of language to pull the wool over people’s eyes and disguise the fact that this practice is ongoing half the year. That’s six whole months of the same bloody, inhumane, violent slaughter, and the same capture of live, traumatised dolphins who have witnessed their families slaughtered before them.
There is a sickness in Taiji. It is driven by greed. This is not tradition. The dolphin drive hunts have only been happening since the 1960s, since the arrival of ‘Flipper’ and the realisation by the entertainment industry that live dolphin shows equals cash. Huge amounts of cash. Millions, to be precise. They found a small fishing village called Taiji, where dolphins were known to swim close to the shores off the coast of this southern region of Japan. As I understand it, Taiji fishermen had occasionally caught a dolphin, or found one stranded, and local people had eaten the meat. But now the greedy middlemen had found a source of more live Flippers. Taiji has been shipping out live captive dolphins ever since. Each one sells for thousands. The statistics provided by the wonderful people at Ceta-base show the numbers involved for all the world to see.
Tradition, as we know, is no argument for anything, anyway. Many things that humans used to practice “traditionally” have been made illegal the world over because we came to realise they were cruel and wrong. This should be one of those things.
Who eats dolphin meat anyway? Anyone? This meat often ends up in pet food for Japanese pets! It is a wasteful, not to mention deceitful, loss of lives, all for greed and profit.
We need to get the facts right so that people understand how damaging this practice is and how it’s decimating populations of whole species of dolphins. They’re advanced, highly evolved mammals with highly developed brains and emotion centres. They feel pain, loss, grief, terror, hunger, confusion, agony, just as we do. Possibly more so. We don’t even understand how their amazing brains fully work yet. It is a crying shame that our love for dolphins, and wonder at their antics, has brought us to this horrific situation.
We need to educate ourselves to appreciate that dolphins belong only in the wild. They do not belong in tanks. We do not have the right to steal them from the ocean and their family pods to use them for human entertainment and consequently condemn them to short, miserable lives in captivity. We need to boycott aquariums with cetaceans. Boycott marine parks, dolphinariums, swim-with-dolphin experiences – the lot. Don’t attend. Don’t pay to see them. If you do, you perpetuate the cycle of capture/slaughter; our money fuels this violent business. Take away their greedy reasons for killing dolphins.
Stop killing whales and dolphins, Japan. End this vile cetacean hunt in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture forever.