Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Horror in Taiji Continues in 2016

Greetings everyone and welcome back. Tonight I will be revisiting a horrific issue that I have covered many times in the past. Yes, I am referring to the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter. For those of you who may be unaware of what I am talking about, I will quickly explain. The town of Taiji, Japan is home to a disgusting drive hunt in which various species of small cetaceans are driven from the ocean into a cove and either brutally slaughtered or sold into captivity. The methods the Japanese use are considered "traditional" and make use of advanced technologies that the traditional dolphin hunts would never have had... So... True tradition? Not so much. How the dolphins are killed is also far from humane and I will include a video of the "hunt" at the end of this blog. While this blog normally remains neutral and out of the whole captivity debate, this is one topic I will never be silent on. The fact is that the amount of money that the Taiji fishermen make from selling a dolphin into captivity is far and above the money that they make for selling them for meat. Any dolphin that is unfit for captivity is normally slaughtered, or if very small, may be forced back out to sea.

The dolphin hunting season began in Taiji on September 1st, 2015. The following are some stats as if January 17th, 2016 from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Cove Guardians who are on the ground in Taiji documenting the slaughter. At this point there have been 439 of the allotted 1,873 dolphins killed in the cove of Taiji. Of those killed include 198 Risso's dolphins, 144 striped dolphins, 51 pilot whales, and 46 bottlenose dolphins. The early part of the season was slow. Kill counts were actually very low in September and October, but November and so far January have seen many more dolphins slaughtered.

If you would like to get a rough idea of the value of the meat of all these dolphins consider this. One dead dolphin can fetch at most $500. After paying the fishermen's salaries and the labor to prepare the dolphins for sale you figure the final profit is very low.... That being said...

So far 91 dolphins have been sold into captivity. Of those 91 dolphins 84 of them are bottlenose dolphins, 6 Risso's dolphins, and 1 pilot whale. The dolphins that are the most fit in a pod are usually taken into captivity (depending on the species. Bottlenose dolphins are the main captivity target). 102 dolphins have been forced back out to sea with the majority of them being presumably young bottlenose dolphins.

Keep in mind the small amount of money the industry makes from a dead dolphin and consider this. One live bottlenose dolphin can sell for over $100,000 dollars. Fishermen salaries included, this number is ridiculously high compared to what the industry makes off of a dead dolphin. That being said, it's pretty obvious where the money comes from and what really drives this slaughter. It's not the meat, it's not the need for food for the survival of the Japanese people, It's literally the captivity industry that is keeping the Taiji dolphin slaughter alive and profitable. If the buying of dolphins from Taiji stopped, the killing would probably come to a quick end or the hunting season would be cut dramatically.

Now I am not going to stand on a soap box sort to speak here and start telling you not to go to aquariums or zoos or anything like that because as I have said many times before. My concern in this blog is the survival of the wild populations of these and the other animals I blog about. However I will ask you to be smart and to do your research before visiting a facility that houses dolphins or other cetaceans. Find out where they are from and if they are from somewhere that is home to a drive hunt like Taiji, find somewhere else to go. That's all I will say about that.

I've called out Sea World, Georgia Aquarium, and other large facilities in the United States before to stand up for the animals they say they care so much about to help put an end to this slaughter and I am doing it again here. These facilities should take a stand and really push for Japan to put an end to this slaughter and help the town of Taiji find an alternative to slaughtering and bringing dolphins into captivity. Helping to establish dolphin tourism would probably be huge for a town that, from what photos and video show, has a great love for dolphins. (Keep in mind most people living in Taiji are probably still not aware of the killing going on in their backyard as the cove is closed to the public and basically hidden during the hunting season)

The Taiji dolphin slaughter continues to take the lives of countless dolphins and the idea that a facility is saving a dolphin from being killed and that's why they are buying it is just insane because if they weren't buying then the industry wouldn't survive and the killing would drop.

What can you do? 1.) Educate yourself of the Taiji dolphin slaughter. I've personally done many a blog on this issue and have a ton of fact in those blogs. You can also check out Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians and Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project. Both groups have been on the ground in Taiji and have tons of photos, videos, and information. 2.) Watch "The Cove" 3.) Tell your friends about the situation and spread the word. 4.) In my opinion one of the strongest ways to get the message across... Share the following video far and wide. No words are needed other than where this is happening and why.

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