It is a bloodbath, cruel and barbaric. Each year, the idyllic and peaceful setting of the village of Taiji in southern Japan is shattered by almost unspeakable cruelty as incredible pain and ultimate death is inflicted on defenseless dolphins.
- Paul Watson, president and founder
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
These are the words of Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan.
Hopefully you have seen 'The Cove' An academy award winning documentary by Ric O'Barry which shows never before seen footage from exactly what happens in this small cove in Taji Japan, from October through March every year, in small towns across Japan, thousands of dolphins and small whales are confined and brutally killed. These slaughters take place in the small fishing towns of Taiji, Iki, Ito, Futo and Izu. During those months, Japanese fishermen herd whole families and pods of dolphins, porpoises and small whales into shallow bays and mercilessly hack them to death. Most of these small cetaceans are sold as meat in restaurants and stores, while some are destined for a life in captivity.
The fishermen in villages like Taiji, go out in small boats to known dolphin migratory routes. Positioning their boats strategically, they space out to form a line and wait for the dolphins. When the dolphins arrive, the fishermen drop long metal pipes into the water, and by banging on the pipes they create a wall of sound. The sound interferes with the dolphins' ability to navigate - it disorients and panics them. The dolphins swim away from the sound, and the fisherman maneuver their boats herding them into a small shallow bay. Once in the bay, nets are drawn across the mouth of the bay to keep them penned in.
The fishermen usually injure a few of the captive dolphins with a spear thrust or a knife slash. This is intentional as they know that the dolphins will not abandon these wounded family members.
The dolphins, now trapped in the shallow water, mill about trying to stay as far from land as possible until the next morning. Then, in the morning, the fishermen draw the nets in, forcing the dolphins closer to shore where they kill them by stabbing and slashing them with knives and hooks. The dolphins thrash about sometimes for as long as six minutes as they slowly bleed to death, turning the sea red with their blood.
After the massacre, the bodies of the dolphins are taken to a slaughter house to be cut up and sent to supermarkets around Japan for human consumption.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
- Whilst travelling overseas, please dont visit captive dolphin facilities that run 'swim with the dolphin' programs.
- Join Sea Shepherd
Watch the trailer for The Cove Documentary HERE