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Cruel dolphin slaughter in Japanese village of Taiji in spotlight again

December 9, 2008 |  1:33 pm

Still image of a dolphin slaughter from a video sequence shot in 1999 by the Environmental Investigation Agency in Futo harbor near Shizuoka, Japan.

Here's the sad joke of the day: Japan slaughters thousands of dolphins, then, when pressed to defend the annual massacre, comes up with this statement:

"The Japanese Government position on this matter is based on ongoing scientific research in this area. The utilization of dolphins in this manner is sustainable and is carefully monitored."

Sound familiar? Japan uses the same argument to support its annual whale hunt in Antarctic waters. Yet few if any scientists outside Japan acknowledge any scientific gain that comes from killing whales.

The newspaper West Australian, in an article today, chronicled a recent visit to Taiji, Japan, to witness waters turning blood-red inside a cove within a national marine park.

"Between September and March, 2,300 dolphins are slaughtered in Taiji, while more than 20,000 can be killed elsewhere under the Japanese Government’s quota system," the West Australian reports.
   

Dolphins are herded by swift boats until they're too tired to flee, then are corraled into the shallows.

"After being contained overnight, the dolphins are stabbed, gutted and butchered for their meat at first light," the West Australian reports. "The meat sells for less than $10 a packet."

Broome, Australia, is Taiji's sister city. But the issue has strained the relationship and prompted the statement by Japan. At least one government official in Taiji has spoken out against the slaughter, and environmental groups suggest that Broome sever its sister-city ties.

If you ask me, in this era of conservation, the slaughter of dolphins for whatever reason seems like adequate grounds for divorce.

Bottlenose dolphins frolic off the coast of Southern California, where the mammals are protected.

-- Pete Thomas

Top photo: Still image of a dolphin slaughter from a video sequence shot in 1999 by the Environmental Investigation Agency in Futo harbor near Shizuoka, Japan.

Bottom photo: Bottlenose dolphins frolic off the coast of Southern California, where the mammals are protected. Credit: Allen J. Schaben /Los Angeles Times

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