Sunday, January 18, 2015

Reflections of One Year Ago

Greetings everyone. For those who are still following here from a year ago, you might remember yesterday and today as two days that really brought the world's eyes to Taiji, Japan. It was roughly one year ago that the fishermen of Taiji rounded up a superpod of over 200 bottlenose dolphins into the killing cove of Taiji.
I'm not going to be going over the entire story of what happened again as it has been a year, but I do want to reflect back on what was going on at the time and some major images and feelings that exploded over a four day period when these dolphins were being held with no food and in many cases divided from their families

Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Among the pod was an infant albino bottlenose dolphin. Originally it was thought that this dolphin would fetch an extremely heavy profit, but due to health conditions, the baby was sentenced to a life at the Taiji Whale Museum where it lives among preserved dolphin heads and an array of other objects such as dolphin fetuses jars... The baby was named "Angel" by conservationists and continues to be viewed as a major victim of the greed of the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter. As for Angel's mother... It is believed that she was one of the many that were slaughtered over the course of the four days.

Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

The fishermen continued to prove to the now watching world that they truly have no regard for the lives of the dolphins they had caught. Time and time again, the fishermen would cut through the dolphin pod with skiffs, cutting many with the propeller of the skiff's motor as seen in the image above. This image of the dolphins being run over still brings back the feelings of anger and sorrow for these animals that were present at the time this was occurring. Many of the dolphins that were injured from the boats were slaughtered. 

The travesty that was occurring in Taiji drew the attention of the United States Ambassador Caroline Kennedy who posted on Twitter her concern about the inhumanity of Taiji. The town of Taiji would invite Caroline to Taiji to witness how humane the killing is. To my knowledge Caroline never made the trip to Taiji. At least she isn't blind to how inhumae the killings are...( Not for nothing, but spearing an animal time and time again until it's dead is not my idea of humane... Neither is jamming a cork in a marine mammal's blowhole to prevent bleeding.)

Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

As has been the case over the past few years, the killers of Taiji would try to hide what they do so "humanely" from the world by covering their operation with tarps. Still the gaps in the tarps exposed the blood red waters of the cove. 

Pressure from social media as well as world media eventually made itself known and luckily a large number of this superpod was driven back out to sea with the same techniques that they were driven into the cove. The Anonymous collective responded with the hacking of over 150 websites with connections to Taiji, including Sea World. CNN ran a special segment educating people about Taiji. Twitter and Facebook exploded with outrage. For the first time since "The Cove" was released, Taiji was openly attacked by virtually everyone for what it was doing.

One year ago as Taiji hit the media again I had hoped that an end may have been so so close. However, life continued on and Taiji slowly fell back into the shadows and those who had been fighting continued to fight, but many of the outraged public fell back to their daily lives and the fishermen continued to do what they do best. In total 52 of the dolphins were sold into captivity, 41 died while in the nets, and roughly 130-140 were driven back out to sea. So here we are one year later. Taiji continues to capture and kill dolphins at will. 

What needs to be remembered at all times is why this slaughter even happens. I do not care what anyone's position is on cetaceans in captivity. I do not mean this to be pro or anti captivity, but here is the fact. This slaughter is largely the result of the captive dolphin industry. The Taiji fishermen and government claim that the primary reason this slaughter takes place is for food. The problem with that claim is that the demand for dolphin meat is so low it often is mislabeled as greater whale meat. Even then, it is really a chore to sell the meat as the demand for whale meat as a whole is on the decline as well. No folks, the real driving force behind the slaughter is the captive dolphin industry. Here is a very simple proof. Lets take a single bottlenose dolphin. The meat of that dolphin is worth roughly $100 USD, perhaps a bit more. That same dolphin can easily be sold into captivity for about $200,000 USD. That's not counting Angel whose price was approaching $4,000,000 before her health problems were noted.

The facts are what they are and until the demand for dolphins dies, this slaughter will continue. Without the captive trade, there would be no slaughter as there simply is not enough money generated without it. Japan claims that the Taiji drive hunt is a proud tradition. If it is so proud, why hide it? If it is so proud why try and prevent the world from seeing. The fact is that this "hunt" is nothing more than a massive greed move on the hands of Japan right up there with it's so called "scientific whale program". If the money stopped flowing, this "proud" tradition would fall to the wayside sooner rather than later.  

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