SAVE THE DOLPHINS!
After hiding from reporters and TV cameras behind a tarpaulin, Japanese fishermen on Tuesday killed at least 30 dolphins from a group of 200 during the annual hunt in Taiji cove, western Wakayama prefecture.
Both the U.S. and British ambassadors to Japan have strongly criticized the “drive killings” of dolphins citing the “terrible suffering” of the animals.
Before starting to kill the marine mammals, fishermen pulled a tarpaulin in front of the cove to prevent activists and reporters from seeing the killing. A large pool of blood seeped under the tarpaulin and spread across the cove, according to the international press.
“A metal rod was stabbed into their spinal cord, where they were left to bleed out, suffocate and die. After a traumatic four days held captive in the killing cove, they experienced violent captive selection, being separated from their family, and then eventually were killed today,” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society activist Melissa Sehgal said.
Around 50 dolphins were sold to aquariums, while those not killed for meat were released, activists said.
“UK opposes all forms of dolphin and porpoise drives; they cause terrible suffering. We regularly raise (the issue) with Japan,” said the British Ambassador to Japan, Timothy Hitchens, in a tweet on Monday. Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. envoy to Tokyo, has also said she was “deeply concerned” about the hunt.
The Wakayama Prefecture, where Taiji is, answered: “The Taiji dolphin fishery has been a target of repeated psychological harassment and interference by aggressive foreign animal protection organizations.”
“Taiji dolphin fishermen are just conducting a legal fishing activity in their traditional way in full accordance with regulations and rules under the supervision of both the national and the prefectural governments. Therefore, we believe there are no reasons to criticize the Taiji dolphin fishery,” it said.
International hacking group “Anonymous” has stated that it breached and shut down the official Wakayama Prefecture website earlier today as a taste of what may come should local fishermen continue to hunt dolphins. The prefecture is home to Taiji, the coastal town that shot to infamy in 2010 following an exposé in the film The Cove, which documented the mass slaughter of thousands of dolphins that takes place in the area each year.
At 09:05 a.m. today, a message from Twitter user @YourAnonPriest stated that Taiji (which is, in fact, a city rather than a prefecture) was “offline”. Animal news site The Dodo reports that when checked the website was indeed inaccessible, though it came back online a few minutes later, with the same Twitter user stating that the intrusion had been a “warning”, and hinting that more attacks could follow should the Japanese government not bow to pressure and put an end to the hunt.
Dolphin and whale hunting has been a part of Taiji City’s heritage since the 17th century, with dolphin hunts taking place each year between September and April. Animal rights groups have long protested the annual killings, which involve herding migrating dolphins into a narrow cove before trapping and slowly killing them, but Taiji spokespersons, particularly following the release of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, protested that the fishermen in the area are acting within the law, and contested much of scientific evidence put forward by the film.
So what do you think??
Who is right and who is wrong??