It’s hard to imagine that every year dolphins, mammals so similar to us and beloved by so many, are slaughtered in huge numbers in Taiji, Japan. Here in Florida, seeing a dolphin can be the height of a boat ride or trip to the beach. In Brevard county, we see them regularly, from a dockside restaurant on the Indian River or walking the beach at Holland Spressard Park. They are amazing.
Recent news reveals the brutality of those who don’t see them as intelligent, compassionate, creatures. Fishermen in Japan see them as an industry, a food source and a big money maker. Hayden Panettiere, from the NBC series, Heroes, shows us that when a few brave people act, we can change the world. Below are links and article excerpts to catch you up on the news, and then info on what you can do to help.
Campaign Spokespersons Hayden Panettiere, Isabel Lucas, and Dave Rastovich risk injury and arrest to help expose the notorious Taiji dolphin-killing cove to the world.
Less than 24 hours after professional surfer Dave Rastovich led an international group of surfers, celebrities, and musicians on a peaceful paddle-out ceremony to honor the spirits of the over 25,000 dolphins killed each year in Japan, fishermen in the tiny village of Taiji resumed the slaughter that had been delayed by the increased worldwide media attention drawn by the group’s arrival in late October.
In response, they decided in solidarity to make a pre-dawn return to the killing cove to recreate the ceremony, albeit smaller, within a stone’s throw of the captive pilot whales, paddling through waters stained red with blood.
“The reason we surfers were there was to share the water, stained red with blood, at eye-level, with our ocean kin awaiting their execution,” said a dripping, visibly shaken Rastovich, co-founder of Surfers for Cetaceans, just after paddling in. “Despite the fishermen taking great pains to hide their acts of cruelty, we seized this as an opportunity to bring this travesty to the world’s attention”.
The Whaleman Foundation tell us that: Every year, over 20,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed by Japanese fisherman. After driving pods of wild dolphins from the open sea into shallow coves with motorized boats and loud bang sticks, the fishermen kill the dolphins, slashing their throats with knives or stabbing them with harpoon-like spears. Thrashing about, many of the dolphins take several minutes to die an agonizing cruel death, turning the surrounding sea blood red.
This brutal massacre, the largest dolphin kill in the world, goes on for six months of every year, from October through April. Even more shocking, the captive dolphin industry and marine parks around the world are a willing accomplice to the kill, paying as much as $100,000 per captured dolphin.
In Taiji, Japan, the annual dolphin slaughter starts October 1st and continues for six months. This massacre of dolphins is strongly encouraged by three local dolphinariums who purchase the “show-quality” dolphins and ship them off to marine parks in Japan and around the world. Annually, in Taiji alone, over a thousand dolphins are killed with some 50 or more captured and sold to marine parks.
This video interview of Hayden shows the ordeal and adds some post event comments worth seeing.
The Whaleman Foundation is a non-profit research, education, conservation, and wildlife film production organization dedicated to preserving and protecting our ocean world. Whaleman’s primary mission is to educate key decision makers, while raising public awareness, on the issues that affect cetaceans (dolphins, whales & porpoises) and their critical habitats through our films and media outreach.