taiji dolphin drive huntsTaiji, Japan. Every year from 1st September through to March of the following year, the abduction and slaughter takes place of thousands of dolphins, porpoises and small whales. The dolphin hunters are merciless and murder whole families in front of each other, picking out the ‘pretty’ ones who will be sold for up to $300,000 to aquariums around the world. These highly intelligent and emotionally aware beings will then begin a miserable life, first being ‘broken’ in order to make them perform, starved and when they perform tricks satisfactorily, they are fed dead fish instead of the live fish they are used to. This is all having witnessed the slaughter of their entire families in front of them and having had to swim in their blood.

On the same day in January 2014 250+ bottlenose dolphins, including babies and juveniles, were driven into the killing cove and kept there for a number of days with no food or water. The captive selection process was violent with babies and their mothers torn from each other as some were taken for captivity, some killed and others driven back out to sea to fend for themselves. Amongst those taken for captivity was a rare albino dolphin who is now languishing in the filthy Taiji Whale museum, she was nicknamed by the media ‘Angel’ and her mother was either killed in the process or she killed herself shortly afterwards.

They do not need the meat – dolphin meat is well known for being contaminated with dangerously high levels of mercury – although it is commonly sold in Japan as whale meat. The real prize for them is the high prices they will receive for those dolphins sold into captivity.

Some try to claim that this is ‘tradition’ but the drive hunting only began in the 1970s with the introduction of motorboats. The captive dolphin industry is certainly not a tradition and without it the drive hunts would not be financially viable.

The fantastic documentary The Cove has brought attention to what takes place in Taiji and an ever present group of Sea Shepherd volunteers film and photograph the atrocities, in order to raise awareness.

Read more and see how you can help at www.seashepherd.org


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