Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dolphin hunting is on in Japan

Each year in Taiji, a coastal town in Japan, thousands of dolphins are rounded up. Most are brutally killed for their meat. A few of the more attractive animals are sold at exorbitant prices for dolphins' shows and swim-with-the dolphin programmes where they are likely to suffer for years.

On September 25, 2007, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HIS) joined the Animal Welfare Institute and many other concerned groups and individuals in observing the third annual worldwide Japan Dolphin Day. Large number of individual animal advocates took part in the event all over the world.

Japan Dolphin Day aims to show Japan that the world will not tolerate its cruel drive fisheries. Protesters gathered at Japanese embassies and consulate offices in cities across the globe.
How dolphins are slaughtered?

Fishermen in Taiji use small-motorized boats to locate a pod of bottlenose dolphins, Risso's dolphins, or false killer whales (and other species such as melon-headed whales and white-sided dolphins).

Once they locate a pod, they herd the animals toward shore using the noise of the boats' engines and the banging of pipes underwater to stampede and terrorize the dolphins ahead of them.
The fishermen then either drive the animals onto the shore or trap them in a bay. The fishermen slaughter the dolphins by getting into the water or reaching over the side of a boat and stabbing the animals to death.

Occasionally they drag dolphins out of the water still alive by their tails (possibly breaking their spines or dislocating them) and transporting them to a slaughterhouse where they will sever their neck arteries and let them bleed out in agony.

Risk to human health

Adding to the pressure to end the hunt is the recent admission by Taiji officials that the dolphin meat contains dangerously high levels of mercury. Town officials made the admission in an interview granted to a Japanese newspaper. High mercury levels pose serious health risks for those who consume it, especially in children and pregnant women.

The HSUS/HSI joined the Animal Welfare Institute and other concerned individuals and groups in an event in Washington. Participants in Washington staged a street theater re-enactment of the brutal Japanese drive hunts.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"