22 September 2010

Dolphin killings resume in infamous Japanese cove

Despite the controversy and the presence of activists, fisherman in the town of Taiiji, Japan, have resumed the killing of marine life. Taiji is home to the waters which host an annual dolphin slaughter—the bloodshed which was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove.”

Paul Watson, President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), sent an email written by SSCS Director of Investigations Scott West to supporters reporting that fifteen pilot whales were killed yesterday in the infamous cove. The animals were butchered behind screens near the small town.

West wrote:
At first light, a boat took the dolphin trainers from the public beach over to where the whales were being held in the killing cove.  They were not gone long before they returned and left the area in their cars.  Apparently, none of the whales were suitable for the live trade.  Perhaps they were too beat up from having been held in the shallow killing cove. The story that the live dolphin/whale trade associations and aquariums around the world tell that they are not involved in the killing was proven a lie this morning.

Shortly after the trainers left, the “fishermen” moved in.  Their callous efficiency denies their claims that there is reverence among them for the dolphin and whale.  It was soon over and the nets came down.  Then small boats exited the cove with their dead cargo carefully hidden from view under tarps.  The boats went out of sight around the corner and soon the police and others left the area. We lingered and then discovered that from a different vantage point we could see a barge just outside the cove that was wrapped in tarps.  This is where the whales had been taken.  The dead whales were pulled off the barge by a dolphin hunter boat using ropes tied around their tails.  Three times the hunter boat pulled about 5 whales off the barge and transported them around to the butcher house in Taiji Harbor.

At the butcher house, the large doors were open and activity on the seafood side was occurring in plain sight for all to see.  No shame there.  This was not the case though on the side where the whales were being taken.  The doors on this side were tightly closed and a huge orange tarp was hung to hide the activities there from public view.  When the hunter boat brought its last cargo of dead whales to the butcher house, Sea Shepherd was there to record the delivery.  Even here, the “fishermen” attempted to hide their victims’ bodies from our view.  They covered them with a tarp as they were dragged out of the water and up concrete steps into the house under a nearly closed roll up door.  The door quickly came down.

The “drive” hunt into the cove is the third since the season began on September 1, but this is the first to result in killings.

Robin Lawless | Robin's Facebook
Robin lives in NYC with her cat Maggie where she follows a vegetarian lifestyle, practices yoga, and volunteers at Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

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Photo credit: Sea Shepherd