Friday, September 7, 2012

The Dead Cove is Coming to Life

This image looks kinda pretty doesn't it. To the majority of people in the world this is just a pretty cove in Taiji, Japan. They are pretty accurate in that though, I mean the scenery is beautiful. However this cove holds a horrific and one of the most sadistic secrets in the world. Every year, this pristine little cove is the death place of literally hundreds, if not thousands, of dolphins and other small cetaceans. How does this slaughter happen you ask? It occurs in a few simple steps.

1.) The Japanese fishing fleet finds a pod of dolphins near the cove and scares them in.
2.) The cove is netted off preventing the dolphins from escaping.
3.) The dolphins that appear to be in the best shape, along with baby dolphins that appear healthy are brought into a separate holding area.
4.) Aquarium and Dolphinariums send people to inspect the dolphins in the separate holding area. Any dolphin purchased is shipped off to its destination.
5.) Just a day or so later, the slaughter begins. Any dolphins that were not taken are killed along with the rest of the pod. Infant, juvenile, adult, it does not matter they are killed.
6.) The dolphins are processed and sold for food.


Your might be thinking ok, well at least they're killing them for food, but just how are they killing them? Originally the method used to kill the animals was a simple slit to the throat. That has since changed to what Japan considers a more humane way. That way would be driving a iron spear into the back of the neck of the dolphin. Japanese officials claim this brings almost instant death to the dolphin, but video and images of the slaughter suggests a much different story. The fisherman basically stab these animals to death, cut their throats, or just brutalize them to death. It is far, far from a instantaneous death.
(Fisherman "humanely killing a dolphin)      (Dolphins being loaded onto a boat)

Now you may be thinking, ok that's messed up, but Japan has to feed itself. Even the sale of dolphin meat has its own dirty secrets. First of all, much like with whale meat, Japan has stockpiles of dolphin meat from past years. The government of Japan got so desperate to get people to eat dolphin that they introduced it to schools for lunch in Taiji. This practice was short lived as the amount of mercury in the dolphins was discovered to be roughly 10 times the Japanese Health Ministry advised. Of course parents did not want their children getting sick from eating lunch at school, so dolphin meat was removed from school menus. As stockpiles of dolphin increased, more attempts to get rid of the meat were and are still being made today. One of those attempts involves what some would consider a cheap trick. Packing industries have packages dolphin meat, but labeled it as something else such as minkie whale meat that sells for a higher price. Don't let this practice fool you, it does not only happen in Japan, for example, in the United States scallops in some supermarkets on the East Coast have turned out to really be stingray parts cut to look like scallops. Still though, further proof that the dolphin meat was just not moving on its own. What that means is that, contrary to what the Japanese Government wants, the vast majority of Japanese people do not eat dolphin. So why is this allowed to happen? Why aren't the people voicing their concerns?

(Dolphin meat labeled as whale meat)

The answer to those questions are simple. It wasn't until the crew of the award winning documentary, The Cove, was released that the Japanese public were truly informed about what was happening in the cove. In other words, the slaughter was hidden from the public. The entire area around the cove becomes fenced off and heavily guarded so nobody can see the killing. While the dolphins are still alive people can come and see from a distance, but the entire area shuts down until the waters run blue again. Since The Cove was released, the consumption of dolphin has dropped even more and the people are becoming more aware of the situation and are starting to rally against it.

(Sign designed to keep protesters and the public out of the cove)

As I type this blog there are roughly 20-22 pilot whales currently trapped in the cove. As with all other animals brought in, these whales will have to wait for a day or two before being brutally slaughtered. Whales and especially dolphins are incredibly smart animals. They know when they are trapped in an are, and just like us, they do have emotions. The panic and despair that has been recorded of these animals is truly heartbreaking. The slaughter of dolphins in Taiji has no place in the world. The majority of people in Japan do not eat dolphin and with the insanely high mercury levels it contains, no one really should for their own health. If you have never seen The Cove, I strongly suggest watching it. It is a very graphic film, but the message is so clear and powerful that it really drives home the fact that something needs to be done.

Think back to the start of this blog. Remember that beautiful little cove? Here is the truth of that cove. Here lives the horror and brutality unlike anything the marine mammal world has ever known.

(The cove just after a slaughter)

(Dolphins being trapped in the cove)

(Dolphins being taken away for processing)

(Another massacre)

For more information on The Cove visit

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