"Do not be angry with me if I tell you the truth" - Socrates
TAIJI OFFICIALS :
DOLPHIN MEAT 'TOXIC WASTE'
ASSEMBLY PAIR BREAK TABOO,
WARN OF MERCURY RISKS
IN SCHOOL LUNCHES
WARN OF MERCURY RISKS
IN SCHOOL LUNCHES
BY BOYD HARNELL
AUG 1, 2007
For what is believed to be the first time anywhere in Japan, elected officials have openly condemned the consumption of dolphin meat, especially in school lunches, on grounds that it is dangerously contaminated with mercury.
In an exclusive interview with The Japan Times held in Kii Katsuura, Wakayama Prefecture, on July 19, Assemblymen Junichiro Yamashita, 59, and Hisato Ryono, 51, from the nearby whaling city of Taiji said they had found extremely high mercury and methylmercury levels in samples of meat from pilot whales killed inshore by Taiji hunters and put on sale in that locality.
The pilot whale, or “gondo” (Globicephala macrorhynchus), is the largest of the dolphin family of small cetaceans. This species is among some 2,300 dolphins slaughtered annually in Taiji, after the mammals are herded in “drive fisheries” into small coves, where they are speared and hacked to death. Similar hunts elsewhere in Japan are estimated to account for at least another 20,000 small cetaceans annually.
The Taiji assemblymen, who are both independents, also condemned the growing practice of feeding this meat to children in their school lunches — describing it as no less than “toxic waste.”
The random samples tested by the two assemblymen were bought at supermarkets in Taiji and nearby Shingu, and were similarly sourced to the meat served to children in whale-meat lunches at Taiji schools. Such lunches may also have been served in schools in other prefectures, the Taiji officials said.
Yamashita and Ryono defied the code of silence traditionally shrouding sensitive issues, especially one that could threaten the economy of their small, isolated fishing town on the scenic Kii Peninsula.
Asked why, they said local people were getting very anxious about food safety in Japan. Recent reports of contaminated products from China have heightened their concerns, they said.
Yamashita explained, “We’re not against traditional whaling, but we heard claims that pilot whales are poisoned with mercury, and we discovered that some of this meat from a (drive fishery) was fed to kids in school lunches.”
He said that although they had doubted the pilot whales were contaminated with mercury, they decided to have certified lab tests carried out nonetheless.
“We tested some samples — purchased at the Gyokyo supermarket in Taiji and Super Center Okuwa in the nearby city of Shingu,” Yamashita said, adding they were “shocked” by the results.
One dolphin sample had a mercury content 10 times above the health ministry’s advisory level of 0.4 parts per million, with a methylmercury readout 10.33 times over the ministry’s own advisory level of 0.3 ppm.
Another dolphin sample tested 15.97 times and 12 times above advisory levels of total mercury and methylmercury, respectively.
The results prompted the two officials to describe dolphin meat as “toxic waste.”
In fact, the dolphin levels were higher than some of the mercury-tainted seafood tested during the tragic Minamata mercury-pollution disaster of the 1950s, according to Dr. Shigeo Ekino of Kumamoto Medical Science University in Kyushu. In that episode, thousands were sickened, disabled or died in the toxic chemical disaster.
Ekino is famous for his breakthrough study of brain specimens from deceased Minamata disease victims that reveals how even low levels of methylmercury can damage or destroy neurons.
After they received the test results, the Taiji lawmakers, anxious about the possible toxic effects of pilot-whale meat consumed by local schoolchildren, quickly contacted Masahiko Tamaki, an official of the Wakayama pre-fectural health section, and showed him the test results from their samples.
Yamashita said, “He (Tamaki) seems to think he has to do something, but doesn’t know how to do it.”
Tamaki was hesitant to confront the mercury issue due to possible repercussions, and offered no solutions, Yamashita said, adding, “The Wakayama health section simply told me they didn’t want to upset Taiji people.”
But Yamashita said: “According to the high mercury result, if they continue, the people will be harmed — this harm, spread through school lunches, is terrible because children will be forced to eat mercury-tainted dolphin.”
Despite the Taiji pair’s urgent health concerns, however, Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen plans to build a new slaughterhouse for processing meat from pilot whales and other dolphins caught during globally condemned drive fisheries there.
He also wants to expand the provision of school lunches containing pilot whale meat.
Ryono said, “We may not be able to prevent the building of a new slaughterhouse, but we will continue to appeal to Taiji people not to use dolphin for school lunches.”
Meanwhile, concern over 12 dolphins currently in “capture pens” in Taiji is mounting as the mammals await imminent shipment to a dolphin aquarium in the Dominican Republic. This has prompted Yamashita and Ryono to write an urgent letter to Max Puig, environmental minister of the Dominican Republic, protesting importation of the dolphins, saying his environmentally friendly island state would be accepting “toxic waste.”
Top researchers in Japan’s medical community have also voiced concern about the high levels of mercury found in small-cetacean food products.
Ekino told The Japan Times: “Everyone should avoid eating dolphin meat. If people continue to eat dolphin, there’s a high probability of them having damage to their brains. . . . No government agency is studying the problem — no scientists in Japan want to study the subject; it’s very political.”
Award-winning U.S. neurologist David Perlmutter echoed Ekino’s sentiments in a telephone interview, saying, “I totally agree with Dr. Ekino when he said everyone should avoid eating dolphin meat — the consumption of dolphin meat is a profound health risk for humans.”
Referring to Japan’s health advisories warning pregnant women that consuming dolphin meat “can be harmful to the fetus and to young children,” Perlmutter, who has a private practice at his clinic in Naples, Fla., said, “If it’s a risk for pregnant women and children, why is it safe for anyone else?”
Tetsuya Endo, a professor and researcher at Hokkaido Health Science University’s faculty of pharmaceutical sciences, affirmed the other doctors’ condemnation of small-cetacean food products.
In a terse e-mail sent to this correspondent, Endo said, in reference to dolphin meat, “It’s not food!”
In 2005, Endo published the results of a three-year study on random samples of cetacean food products sold throughout Japan, and concluded all of it was unhealthy because of high levels of mercury and methylmercury.
However, Hideki Moronuki, deputy director of the government’s Far Seas Fisheries Division of the Resources Management Department, in an interview with The Japan Times, maligned Endo’s study, calling it “misleading information.” When pressed, though, he failed to substantiate his accusation.
Endo, however, responded to The Japan Times in an e-mail, saying, “If he (Moronuki) has any basis for his comments, he has the responsibility to show it because it is deeply related to human health.”
Moronuki was specifically asked if there was a mercury problem with dolphins. His response: “No.”
He acknowledged that doctors’ reports (of high mercury levels) may be correct, but claimed, “I don’t think it causes a problem with consumers.”
When asked if he thought consuming dolphin meat was dangerous, he said, “No.”
But he conceded that eating too much dolphin meat could be “dangerous.”
Moronuki was also asked if he felt responsible for the poisoning of his own people. He replied: “No. I am responsible for the management of the dolphin fishery, that’s it.”
This bureaucrat’s attitude flies in the face of certified copies of six test reports commissioned and paid for over the past year, each showing high mercury levels in the meat put on sale from all dolphin species tested. That data have been made freely available by The Japan Times to the appropriate Japanese government agencies and officials.
Despite this hard data, government authorities have consistently displayed a sense of apathy toward these matters, and what many informed commentators regard as dangerously cavalier attitudes in dealing with urgent health issues affecting their citizens.
Makoto Tanaka, assistant director of the health ministry’s inspection and safety division in the Food Safety Department, would only say that he is seeking an international standard for establishing a new advisory level for consumers of mercury-tainted food products.
The health ministry has been aware of the mercury problem in small cetaceans (not to mention in the meat from great whales) for many years, but so far it has refused to ban the sale of such food products.
In particular — despite unequivocal scientific test results — it has failed to require the posting of warning labels for consumers of dolphin meat.
This approach continues despite an advisory order, Kan Nyu Dai 99 Ban, established July 23, 1973, under which a warning was issued to prefectural and local governments by the then director of the environmental and health agency, stating that mercury in seafood must not exceed the advisory level of 0.4 ppm.
Although still in effect, enforcement of the advisory order by governors and mayors has been lax and unchallenged.
But the reaction around the killing coves of Taiji was swift in confronting the two assemblymen’s health concerns.
On the one hand, Gyokyo, the leading local supermarket, pulled pilot whale meat off its shelves, and will not resume its sale, according to Takuya Kondo, assistant director of the health ministry’s Department of Food Safety’s Standards and Evaluation Division.
Kondo said, “The (Taiji) government has to comply with . . . provisional regulations. . . . They are not supposed to sell (dolphin meat) if it is over the advisory level of 0.4 ppm for mercury.”
Yamashita and Ryono believe many people in Japan are unaware of the (health) problems related to consuming dolphin meat, and they say they want to educate people through an Internet blog currently posted by the Save Japan Dolphins coalition, an international conservation group.
But it would be a lot more straightforward if this issue was addressed in a more open and accountable way by officials.
Instead, a pervasive sense of paranoia seems to loom over any investigation of the mercury contamination of foodstuff in Japan.
On this reporter’s initial visit to the test lab, my sample of dolphin meat was at first rejected for testing by lab officials, who greeted me with a file of my articles on the barbaric dolphin slaughter in Taiji, and the toxicity of cetacean meat sold in Japan.
One lab official said: “Sometimes happens big problem, I must confirm your purpose. . . . We cannot stand in opposite position of Fishery Agency. . . . If you publish our report, we’ll have to close the lab.”
The lab later conducted the test after learning the test-sample result would determine whether a potentially dangerous public-health hazard existed.
Also, during the dolphin drives and the animals’ subsequent slaughter in Taiji, I was stalked nonstop by shady-looking characters just a few meters behind me wherever I went. Police also attempted to question me several times and, to my considerable consternation, all seemed to know my name exactly as written on my driver’s license — even though only my hotel had a copy of my license.
It was very unsettling.
Perhaps the two courageous assemblymen may have sounded the final death knell to Japan’s dolphin slaughter by focusing the spotlight on the toxic products of this butchery.
But how many Japanese may already be adversely affected, so many years after the danger of this cruel trade has been known?
Mercury Rising from Oceanic Preservation Society on Vimeo.
|Taiji fisherman with their dolphin "harvest".|
That dolphin flesh is loaded with mercury
ATSDR ~ Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry
Toxic Substances Portal - Mercury
Public Health Statement for Mercury
INFERTILITY, BIRTH DEFECTS, AND FETAL DEVELOPMENTAL EFFECTS
RELATED TO MERCURY FROM AMALGAM DENTAL FILLINGS & other toxins
B. Windham (Ed.)
Faroe islanders told to stop eating 'toxic' whales
by Debora MacKenzie
12:36 28 November 2008
via Lincoln O'Barry
Toxics and Blood Cancer, a Diabetes Link?
The Voice of the Dolphins
by Hardy Jones
Minamata disease - Wikipedia
Risk of Toxins: Article at takepart.com
World Health Organization: Mercury and health
Fact sheet N°361 - April 2012
For more articles at the WHO website, insert "mercury" into the search field
Mercury poisoning - Wikipedia
Experts fear Taiji mercury tests are fatally flawed
By Boyd Harnell / Japan Times May 23, 2010
The Dangers of Dolphin Meat
By: Kelcie Pegher / Animal Planet
STOP MARINE DOLPHIN PARK
IN TAIJI, JAPAN
Here is the news :
SWIM WITH THE DISHES:
JAPAN TO OPEN WATER PARK WHERE YOU CAN SWIM WITH DOLPHINS
…WHILE EATING DOLPHIN MEAT.
*Attraction planned by officials in Taiji, a town famous for killing dolphins
*Made famous in Oscar-winning dolphin slaughter documentary 'The Cove'
*Visitors will be able to watch the mammals which are kept in sea nets
*Meanwhile, they can eat meat of dolphins which were slaughtered locally
By AARON SHARP
PUBLISHED: 06:10 EST, 12 October 2013 | UPDATED: 08:11 EST, 12 October 2013
A water park where visitors will be to swim with wild dolphins before sitting down to eat the meat of the mammal is being planned in Japan.
The controversial tourist trap has been announced by town of Taiji in the south-east of the country which is already known for its mass dolphin hunts which turn the shoreline blood red.
The fishing town was made famous when an Oscar-winning documentary called 'The Cove' revealed how the animals are rounded up in the sea before being stabbed to death for their meat.
A dolphin pod is rounded up in nets before fisherman stab them to death
Controversial: Taiji fisherman, above, will retain dolphins in a cove by surrounding them with nets and keeping them in the sea, visitors can then view them in their natural environments from boats
A scene from the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary
Slaughter: The rest of the captured dolphins will be killed for meat to be served to tourists, a practice made infamous in the 2009 Oscar winning documentary, 'The Cove', pictured above
But rather than bowing to global pressure to ban the practice after the film was released in 2009, Taiji officials say they want to capitalise on their dolphin trade by keeping some alive for entertainment in a sealed off 'safari' part of their bay while others are killed for catering.
Masaki Wada, a government official for the town, said: 'We already use dolphins and small whales as a source of tourism in the cove where dolphin-hunting takes place.
'In summer swimmers can enjoy watching the mammals that are released from a partitioned-off space.
'But we plan to do it on a larger scale. This is part of Taiji's long-term plan of making the whole town a park, where you can enjoy watching marine mammals while tasting various marine products, including whale and dolphin meat'
The attraction will be separate from Hatakejiri Bay, the place into which local fishermen corral dolphins, select a few dozen for sale and slaughter the rest for meat.
If the plan goes ahead, a whale safari park stretching roughly 69 acres will be created by putting nets up around the entrance to Moriura Bay which is in the north west of the town.
Killed for sale: The town of Taiji has a license to slaughter thousands of dolphins every year
Big business: Dolphin meat, shown above, is a major source of industry for the fishing town
Black whales and bottlenose dolphins caught in waters near the town would be released into the area, which would be developed as a nature park.
Officials are looking to open part of the park within five years, Wada said.
Wakayama prefecture, in which the town is located, said the town caught 1,277 dolphins in 2012 and has licence to capture 2,026 this season, which began in September and runs until August.
Tokyo-based conservationist group Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network criticised the plans.
Nanami Kurasawa, secretary general of the group said: 'Marine mammals migrate across oceans, and international public opinion is that wildlife should be allowed to live as they are.
'The plan will only ignite more protests over dolphin-hunting.'
In the wild: Protestors have said that the water park will only incite more protests against the practice of hunting dolphins
Protestors have criticised the plans for the park, saying that cashing in on the slaughter of dolphins will only lead to further protest in Japan and the rest of the world
Despite international outrage, however, locals in Taiji argue that dolphin-hunting is part of a 400-year-old whaling and culinary tradition.
Japan regularly draws criticism for its annual whale hunt in the Antarctic, with Australia bringing the issue to the International Court of Justice this year.
Tokyo defends the practice as internationally legal 'scientific research'.
The 2009 film "The Cove" brought Taiji to worldwide attention, winning an Oscar the following year, after graphically showing the killing of dozens of trapped animals, including by using underwater cameras.
Activists continue to visit the town to protest the hunt.
TAKING A STAND:
ONE JAPANESE PROTESTER'S FIGHT AGAINST THE COVE SLAUGHTER
Inside Japan, more and more activists like Satoshi Komiyama are publicizing their opposition to the annual dolphin drive hunt in Taiji.
September 25, 2013 ~ David Kirby
David has been a professional journalist for 25 years. His third book, "Death at Seaworld," was published in 2012.
The Cove Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji: One Japanese Protestor/s Fight Against the Slaughter
Dolphin activist Satoshi Komiyama holds a sign that translates into 'Freedom for Dolphins' at the beach in the notorious cove in Taiji, Japan.
(Photo: Courtesy Satoshi Komiyama)
The whale and dolphin drive in Taiji is now in its fourth week and protests have been staged around the world, including in Japan. But the annual slaughter has always received far more media attention and public outrage outside the country. Within Japan, most people seem to have little knowledge of the cetacean blood being spilled around the archipelago.
Veteran activists from the hunt, such as Ric O’Barry, star of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove and head of Save Japan Dolphins, have long argued that if real change is going to happen in Japan, it will have to come from inside. It cannot be imposed by foreigners—no matter how vocal, well-organized, or well-meaning they may be.
I saw about 60 bottlenose dolphins being chased into the cove with my own eyes and dove into the water only to hear them cry out of panic.
“We are trying to get the Japanese people to take ownership of this issue. They are the only ones who can stop this dolphin slaughter,” O’Barry told me earlier this month. “That’s why we’ve been looking for the past ten years for ways to work with them, not against them.”
Slowly, more Japanese citizens are catching on to what is happening, and each year, greater numbers of protestors who show up at the cove now are actually from Japan. It is important that their voices be heard.
TakePart recently conducted a written interview, translated from Japanese, with Satoshi Komiyama, 33, who travelled six hours by train to Taiji this year to make his voice heard. Komiyama first heard about the dolphin hunt 10 years ago, but first witnessed it through watching The Cove in 2009.
TakePart: What was your reaction when you first saw the slaughter on film?
Satoshi Komiyama: I had to question myself why it was necessary, because none of my family, friends, or people I knew had never eaten dolphins in their lives. I thought that we as Japanese people had to do something about it. Since then, I founded a group to protect dolphins and organized demonstrations. At one point, I was the head of a group called AMM (Action for Marine Mammals). We held a demo in Shibuya, Tokyo in November 2012 to protest against the dolphin hunting and whaling. I left AMM in April, and now I have a group called Flipper's Japan to protect dolphins.
What, if anything, do most Japanese know about Japan’s traditional practices of hunting whales and dolphins, including hunts in Japan outside Taiji, and the killing of great whales in the South Atlantic ostensibly for “research” purposes.
Many Japanese people know about traditional whaling. But when it comes to killing whales for a research purpose, it is not too familiar to us. And as for dolphin hunting, people rarely know about that. I feel that Japanese people are obligated to know about the dolphin hunt in Taiji. It's just odd that Japanese people don't know about this even though it is happening in Japan.
What do you think the average Japanese thinks about Taiji, if at all?
The majority of Japanese people do not know about the dolphin hunting, so they have no idea about Taiji either. But when I tell people about what is happening there, they typically say, "poor dolphins," "unbelievable," or "unimaginable." That's why I can say that it's very unlikely for them to think they want to eat dolphins.
What made you decide to get involved?
The Cove. My love for the ocean and dolphins turned me into an experienced skin-diver. That's why it was very shocking to me when I finally saw the dolphin hunting in the movie. I felt that I had to go to Taiji to see it with my own eyes and think what I could do for dolphins to protect them.
Briefly describe your experiences in Taiji—how many other Japanese are there protesting?
We had 10 Japanese people, including me. The day I visited Taiji was September 1, which was the first day of the dolphin hunting season. The boats went out to capture dolphins in the very early morning. I saw about 60 bottlenose dolphins being chased into the cove with my own eyes and dove into the water only to hear them cry out of panic. By seeing the actual hunt and hearing dolphins cry, I realized that I really had known nothing about the dolphin hunting. Visiting Taiji and seeing the hunt have motivated me tremendously.
How have local people there treated you?
Since I stayed there only for a short time, I didn't get to interact with local people. What was impressive was that we were always surrounded or followed by police officers when we were hanging out at lookout points or driving to go somewhere.
Do you see any changes in attitude or media coverage in Japan in regards to this issue?
Media in foreign countries are willing to write or air stories about the anti-dolphin hunting movement in Japan, and their information is accurate. But Japanese media is the opposite. Since we will be having the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, hidden truths, like the dolphin hunt, which could damage the image of Japan, get even more difficult to feature in Japanese media.
What message do you think your presence in Taiji sends to other Japanese?
Although we went to Taiji to take action, it was rarely recognized by Japanese people. Television and newspapers are great ways to raise awareness, but they do not mention the dolphin hunt and our movement to protect dolphins. Only a very small group of Japanese animal rights activists found out about our event in Taiji on September 1 by seeing our posts on Facebook and Twitter.
What do you think is going to end the drives?
Many of us in Japan don't eat dolphin meat and don't want it, yet many dolphins still get killed every year. Their death is wasted. We are not appreciating their lives, which does not really go with Japanese mentality. That's why, if more people learn about the dolphin hunting, more people will speak out, and we will put an end to it. I believe that educating Japanese people is the most effective way to accomplish the goal. In August, Flippers Japan conducted a survey around Shibuya station in Tokyo asking people if they would want to eat a dolphin. One hundred fifteen Japanese people answered. Ninety-five said "no," 19 said "yes," and one person was unsure.
Those who responded yes said curiosity was the motivation, and none of them were eager to eat it regularly. Reasons for saying no were: They are cute; they are not food; I don't want to harm them. One person said, “My brother made me watch The Cove, and I learned what was going on. If I didn't watch it, I would have said yes.” But out of 115 people who took the survey, no one knew that dolphin meat was sold on the market and where these dolphins in aquariums came from. This is the reality of how much Japanese people don't know about dolphin hunting.
What can the average person outside of Japan do to help the most?
So many Japanese people don't eat dolphin meat, yet so many dolphins still get killed every year. The most important thing is to let the world know that fact. If anyone knows about the dolphin hunt, tell their friends and share the information. The anti-dolphin hunt movement will arise from each person learning about the truth. Japanese could find out about it by hearing from foreign media coverage.
Please sign and share The Cove petition here:
THE LAME EXCUSE
AQUARIUMS USE TO JUSTIFY
TAKING DOLPHINS FROM 'THE COVE'
In Taiji, Japan, dolphin buyers hide behind separate ‘herding exercises’ for live captures. Critics call it a PR move that doesn’t exonerate financial support
of the slaughter.
September 12, 2013 ~ David Kirby
David has been a professional journalist for 25 years.
His third book, "Death at Seaworld," was published in 2012.
How many of these dolphins have a friend or family member that was either killed or captured in Taiji, Japan’s notorious killing cove?
(Photo: Getty Images)
In recent years, the dolphin drives that corral hundreds of animals into the cove in Taiji, Japan, have been separated into two phases. The first occurs in early September, when bottlenose dolphins are captured alive for sale to aquariums, but none are slaughtered. This is followed by the regular season of massacre, which lasts until April, when a mixture of dolphins and small whales is butchered in the crimson waters of the infamous inlet.
The bottlenose “herding exercise” period was carved out of the regular killing calendar at the request of aquariums and theme parks around the world, which pay top dollar for captured dolphins but don’t want to be tainted by the moral stench of the slaughter. (Although no bottlenose dolphins are killed in September, many other species are.) Previously, buyers would inspect the catch, selecting the youngest and/or cutest animals for purchase, while the rest of the pod was brutally dispatched with spears and knives.
Now, with two separate types of drives, one for bottlenose capture, the other for slaughter, industry leaders believe they can distance themselves from the bloody part, even condemning the fishermen for killing dolphins from one side of their mouths, while still placing orders for new animals from the other.
Many of the dolphins will remain in Japan, where more than half of the nearly 100 aquariums have dolphins on display. Most of the other animals will be flown to facilities in countries such as Dubai, South Korea, China, Iran, Egypt, Vietnam, the Philippines and Turkey.
Cove Dolphin Slaughter to Begin Again 2013
Ready, Set, Slaughter: Dolphin Killings to Begin in Infamous Cove
Please sign and share The Cove petitionTHE COVE :
SIGN THE PETITION TO HELP SAVE JAPAN'S DOLPHINS
Staging separate “capture” drives before the bloodshed allows the industry to claim the high ground—and the bragging rights, so to speak—that no animals were harmed in the taking of their dolphins.
But critics say that doesn’t get them off the hook. Activists have long contended that the only thing keeping the bloody “tradition” alive is the infusion of cold, hard cash from Japanese and foreign aquariums, whose representatives descend on the site each season to buy dolphins for their “collections,” at prices reaching $150,000 apiece or more.
Hunting members of the dolphin family (bottlenose, Risso’s, Pacific white-sided, pilot whales, false killer whales, etc.) and putting their meat on the market is no longer a profitable enterprise, on its own. Levels of toxins like mercury and PCBs are so high that demand has plummeted in East Asia, where most of the meat is sold. Meanwhile, the cost of maintaining a fleet of boats and fueling them for six months with diesel has steadily risen.
The math simply isn’t sustainable. The dolphin killers of Taiji would go bankrupt and disappear altogether without the millions of dollars in checks being written by the dolphin collectors. The display industry is still subsidizing the slaughter, no matter when it takes place.
“The blood of the Taiji dolphin drive stains the pool of every dolphinarium in the world,” says Louie Psihoyos, director of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. “Just because they don’t slaughter them on the same day does not exonerate them from the atrocities they bankroll.”
In 2009, representatives from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) proposed a new “Dolphin Management Protocol” for its member group, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA). “We made real progress in discussions with our Japanese colleagues with regard to a commitment to begin a separate, gentler ‘herding exercise’ as a means of acquisition of wild dolphins for aquariums,” a 2009 WAZA newsletter said. “This stands in contrast to the controversial drive fisheries currently used for acquisition.”
Indeed, WAZA and many member groups condemn the slaughter. “WAZA does not support, and has never supported, the Taiji dolphin fishery in any way,” wrote Gerald Dick, WAZA’s Executive Director, in an email to TakePart. “To the contrary, WAZA has attempted to intervene directly, and has endeavoured to use its influence to bring to an end a practice which surely has no place in modern times.”
But while WAZA claims to be nudging JAZA away from drives altogether, there has clearly been little success.
Could the 2020 Olympics Force Japan to End ‘The Cove’ Slaughter?
Then there is the question of offshore captures. In January of this year, Taiji protesters witnessed the roundup of dolphins outside the harbor that leads to the cove. There was no drive.
“On this day something was different. Usually the boats drive the pod into the mouth of the harbor, and then push them towards the cove,” says Terran Baylor, a Cove Monitor and volunteer for the Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project, who witnessed the roundup. His account shows how possible it is that dolphins are being captured in other ways besides drives. “We watched as the nets were dropped just outside the harbor entrance to encompass the large pod of pacific white sided dolphins. Then another skiff full of trainers scurried out and started finding exactly what they wanted. Another net was then dropped and the pod was separated.”
Some dolphins “were being hand-picked, pulled from the water using nets, dragged into the skiffs, and immediately taken to harbor sea pens for captivity,” he says. “Another day in Taiji yielded another method for dolphin captivity.”
Finally, whether they take place in the cove, just outside the harbor, or somewhere else in Japan entirely, “herding exercises” for live capture are inhumane and put animals at risk, critics contend.
“Mortality risk in bottlenose dolphins increases six-fold after a capture from the wild and takes more than a month to return to normal levels,” Vail wrote in a 2010 letter to WAZA, on behalf of WDC and several dozen international organizations opposing live captures. “Stress, sometimes fatal, is an acknowledged threat even using the method considered most humane by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (purse seine netting). The NMFS acknowledged that ‘animals removed from the wild for permanent maintenance in captivity often represent only a proportion of the total take during a live capture operation.’ In promoting live captures elsewhere in Japan, WAZA is merely shifting the pressure to other dolphin populations.”
Trauma from the chase, Vail says, can cause “acute shock and death, entanglement and suffocation in nets, or more delayed effects that compromise longer term health.”
Cove Monitor Baylor agrees. “Casualties during the capture process always occur,” he says. “We might not see the dolphin die of starvation for several days to weeks for not accepting the dead fish, but we do see dolphins sick and/or dead in the harbor pens very frequently. Irrevocable damage always occurs to the remaining pod members released after the ‘chosen’ are stripped away.”
On September 1, the drive season’s opening day, 18 dolphins were taken alive for captive facilities, witnesses reported.
A few days ago, Ric O’Barry of The Dolphin Project sent an email describing the current scene. “They are out looking for bottlenose,” he said, “Flipper-look a likes. They’ll do this throughout September to create the illusion that the slaughter and the violent captures are not connected. This hocus-pocus was the brainchild WAZA. The captures that we witness are no less violent than the slaughter which will start-up in October.”
No matter when, or where, dolphins are herded up for live capture, “the end result is the same,” Vail wrote, “whole families of dolphins are traumatized, injured, and killed in the process of being driven into the cove, whether they are selected alive and consigned to a slow death in captivity, or slaughtered after a brief confinement in the cove. We would argue that captivity is virtually the same as direct killing: it is a tormented death sentence in either event.”
RELATED STORIES ON TAKEPART
PETITIONS AND CONTACT FORMS
ADDRESSES BELOW FOR GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN
TO PROTEST TAIJI DOLPHIN CAPTURES
AND DOLPHIN SLAUGHTERS IN THE COVE.
TELL WAZA TO STOP PARTICIPATING IN DOLPHIN MASSACRE AT TAIJI, JAPAN
BOYCOTT 'KUMANO' AS A TOURIST . AS LONG AS WAKAYAMA PREFECTURE CONTINUES SLAUGHTER AND CAPTURE OF DOLPHINS
TELL WAZA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GERALD DICK:
STOP THE DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER IN TAIJI, JAPAN
WAZA & IMATA :
STOP SUPPORTING THE DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER IN TAIJI
COCA~COLA : STOP SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL MARINE ANIMAL TRAINERS ASSOCIATION (IMATA)
HAAGEN ~DAZS : STOP SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL MARINE ANIMAL TRAINERS ASSOCIATION (IMATA)
HORROR BEHIND THE CURTAIN
TELL JAPAN AIRLINES & CHINA AIR:
NO DOLPHIN TRANSPORT
INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION : PROVIDE PROTECTION AGAINST THE KILLING OF DEFENSELESS DOLPHINS
INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISION : STOP THE SLAUGHTER OF DOLPHINS IN TAIJI JAPAN
FaceBook only petitions: Causes:
STOP THE TAIJI DOLPHIN HUNT
http://www.causes.com/actions/1682149-stop-the-taiji-dolphin-hunt ~ FaceBook ~ Causes
CHALLENGE JAPAN TO END TAIJI DOLPHIN HUNT FOR TOKYO 2020 BID
~ FaceBook ~ Causes
STOP THE TAIJI DOLPHIN HUNT
http://www.causes.com/actions/1682149-stop-the-taiji-dolphin-hunt?causes_ref=email&template=activity_mailer%2Fcustom_activity_mail&utm_campaign=custom_activity_email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=causes&open_inviter=true ~ FaceBook ~ Causes
SKY NEWS LONDON firstname.lastname@example.org: COVER AND UPDATE WHAT IS HAPPENING IN TAIJI JAPAN
BBC ~ TAKE A CREW TO TAIJI!
GET 60 MINUTES AUSTRALIA TO COVER DOLPHIN KILLINGS AND CAPTRUES IN TAIJI JAPAN
NHK WORLD BROADCASTING CORPORATION:
RESEARCH WHAT IS GOING ON IN TAIJI, WAKAYAMA & BROADCAST WHAT YOU FIND:
THE COVE :
SIGN THE PETITION TO HELP SAVE JAPAN'S DOLPHINS
MARINE LAND AND GAME FARM, 7657 PORTAGE ROAD, NAIGRA FALLS, ONTARIO :STOP TAKING DOLPHINS FROM THE TAIJI COVE IN JAPAN
BROOME CITY COUNCIL: SAY NO TO TAIJI
THE DOLPHIN HUNTERS OF JAPAN :
STOP THE SLAUGHTER AND CAPTURE OF WILD DOLPHINS IN TAIJI, JAPAN
PETITION DOLPHIN BASE RESORT :
STOP THE ANNUAL SLAUGHTER OF DOLPHINS
DOLPHIN DRIVE HUNT ~ TAIJI
THE COVE :
SIGN THE PETITION TO HELP SAVE JAPAN'S DOLPHINS
CONTACT THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN
Contact ~ Ministry of the Environment
Contact ~ Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
Please write your comment on the Administration of Japan
Facts About the Drive Hunt:
Death or Imprisonment for Life
Shared by Olaf Janssen
The dolphin drive hunts in Taiji do not just end in the killing of the dolphins. Taiji is “ground zero” for international trade in live dolphins. There is money – big money – in the captive dolphin entertainment industry. Without the money the FU makes from the live trade business, it is doubtful that the Taiji FU would be able to sustain the killing of dolphins. The operation is expensive.
We understand that the FU makes about $32,000 USD for each live dolphin it captures. Trained dolphins sell for much, much more. There is a direct link between the captive dolphin entertainment industry and the bloody waters of the Cove in Taiji. Supporting a live dolphin show or participating in a confined swim-with-dolphin program anywhere in the world is the same as slicing open a dolphin in Taiji. The dolphin entertainment industry drives the hunt. The killing of the dolphins follows in its wake. Well-intentioned marine mammal trainers and the dolphin-show-viewing public all have the blood of innocent dolphins on their hands.
For the dolphins pulled from their families and sold into captivity, life is beyond horrible. Even those dolphins born in captivity exist in prison-like conditions. It is now illegal in the United States to import a dolphin which has been caught in the wild, so there is a big business in captive-bred dolphins. One wonders though how many of the so-called captive bred dolphins imported into the US each year are actually wild-caught. Even the captive-bred dolphins most likely have ancestors who were captured in Taiji. The link to the killing in Taiji is undeniable, and unavoidable.
Taiji is located in a protected nook off of a bay. The rocky land soars up from the water along the coast there. The water in the bay is shallow and there are many rock spurs and islets. Near the entrance to Taiji harbor is the entrance to the infamous Cove. The rock spurs, islets, and shallows create a natural funnel right into the entrance of the Cove.
There are a dozen small fishing boats in Taiji equipped with metal poles on their sides. These boats go out into the ocean off the Wakayama coast each morning at first light. They fan out and start patrolling in the known dolphin migratory routes looking for pods of dolphins or small whales. They often go over the horizon. They also look for seabirds because the birds will follow the dolphins looking for an easy meal from the fish the dolphins chase. Once a hunting boat finds a pod, the operator will radio to the other boats. While the others are racing to that location, the first boat will follow the pod. Once there are five or more hunting boats on the scene, they will herd the dolphins using their boats and by banging with a hammer on a flange on top of the poles. We call them “banger boats” because of these poles. This banging creates a wall of sound from which the dolphins and small whales swim away. This is the “drive hunt.” The banger boats next drive the pod into the bay, along the coast past the entrance to Taiji harbor and then into the entrance to the Cove. Once the dolphins are past the entrance, other dolphin hunters close off the entrance with nets.
TAIJI DOLPHIN DRIVE HUNT SEASON 2013~2014 QUOTA
Thank you Olaf Janssen and Save Misty the Dolphin
CONTACT THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN
Thank you Olaf Janssen
WEBSITES OF JAPANESE EMBASSIES, CONSULATES AND PERMANENT MISSIONS.
CONTACT ~ TOKYO METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
Please write your comment on the Administration of Japan
THE PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN
Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister of Japan:
MR. KAZUTAKA SANGEN,
TAIJI TOWN MAYOR
SECRETARIAT OF TAIJI TOWN ASSEMBLY
TAIJI FISHERY COOPERATIVE
Embassy of Japan in Washinton D.C.
Ambassador Ryozo Kato
2520 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008-2869
Tel: (202) 238-6700,
Hours: M-F 9:15-12:30 and 2:00-6:16
Fisheries Agency of Japan
Mr. Yoshio Kobayashi, Director-General of Japan Fisheries Agency:
Mr. Jun Yamashita, Head of Whaling Section of Japan at Far Seas Fisheries Division in Japan Fisheries Agency
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
Mr. Toshikatsu Matsuoka, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
The Ministry of the Environment
Ms. Masatoshi Wakabayashi, Minister of the Environment
Local Government, Wakayama/Taiji
Mr. Yoshiki Kimura, Governor of Wakayama
Nourinsuisanbu Suisankyoku Shigenkanrika
(Resources Management Section at the Fisheries Section, Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Wakayama Prefecture)
E-mail: mailto: email@example.com
NO BOYCOTT JAPAN!!!
Taiji is not all of Japan.
Not all Japanese folks are even AWARE of Taiji dolphin hunting, nor are they themselves the hunters, nor would they condone this if they DID know.
We cannot afford to demonize the Japanese activists who will end the Taiji dolphin massacres by referring to them in terms of racist naming and slurs. We need to show them support and the same applied to the Cove Guardians who are there to witness.
Anything less will ENDANGER their safety, and then WHO will end this hell for Taiji dolphins?
Not the folks who are tweeting and posting vitriol from the comfort of their chairs halfway around the world.
YOU CAN'T BOYCOTT A COUNTRY AND A PEOPLE OF THAT COUNTRY!
The following does represent my personal point of view concerning ending the Taiji cetacean hunts by peaceful means. Please place your support and your praise with Save Japan Dolphins and Sea Shepherd. These powerful advocacy groups do not condone violence or racial hatred.
The Weight of a Snowflake
"Tell me the weight of a snowflake," a coalmouse asked a wild dove.
"Nothing more than nothing," the dove answered.
"In that case I must tell you a marvelous story," the coalmouse said. "I sat on a fir branch close to the trunk when it began to snow. Not heavily, not in a raging blizzard. No, just like in a dream, without any violence at all. Since I didn't have anything better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,471,952. When the next snowflake dropped onto the branch--nothing more than nothing -- as you say -- the branch broke off."
Having said that, the coalmouse ran away.
The dove, since Noah's time an authority on peace, thought about the story for a while. Finally, she said to herself, "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come to the world."
- Source unknown
February 11, 2013
Why I do not support a boycott of Japan
Taiji Dolphin Slaughter
by Sandy McElhaney
Dolphin Activist Ric O’Barry: Boycotting Japan Is ‘Racist’
‘Cove’ star sounds off on the Solomon Islands slaughter, a Spanish dolphin named Marcos, rereleasing wild-caught orcas—and more.
Why Boycotting Japan is a Bad Idea
An article by Ric O'Barry
Regarding a boycott on Japan....
An article by Lotus
Taiji and dolphins: would boycotting Japan solve anything?
An article by Charlie Moores
Eloquent, Intelligent, Spot On!
Article explaining the effectiveness of the peaceful activist solution for Taiji dolphin hunt
DOLPHIN HUNTS - A DYING PRACTICE?
There are indications that the drive hunts were becoming a dying practice before the lucrative trade in live animals really took hold. Of the Japanese towns maintaining the practice, only Taiji has continued aggressively with the hunt in recent years.
1. Out of the 550 members of the Taiji Fishing Cooperative, only 26 maintain the right to hunt dolphins, and only 13 boats have a license to conduct the hunts.
2. The price of dolphin meat has also significantly dropped in recent years.
3. WDC believes that World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA) has failed to adequately address the drive hunts
Katsumoto, on Iki Island, essentially abandoned the hunts in the late 1980s, but has more recently indicated it might reopen them in order to capture live dolphins. In Futo, no hunts have taken place since 2004. In 2001, the Ito City Fishing Cooperative's Futo Branch had 500 members but only about 15 had experience of using their boats to drive dolphins in a hunt. These fishermen were fast reaching retirement age and finding it very difficult to find younger fishermen to carry on the practice.
Prior to the hunts being abandoned, reports suggest the work of these fishermen was proving increasingly difficult. To deflect attention away from the drive hunts, Japan's Fisheries Agency directed the Futo fishermen to conceal the 'unsavory' aspects of the hunts from public view, requiring them to screen off Futo's harbor where the dolphins were being killed or to kill the dolphins offshore. Reports suggest both requirements would have made the hunts unprofitable and in the latter case would have endangered the fishermen's lives.
Furthermore, after 1999, it was considered too expensive to send out 'spotter' boats to look for dolphins so the hunts could only be conducted opportunistically when dolphins were seen from a fishing boat already out at sea, or if they passed within sight of shore. Before the revival of the hunts in 2004, fuelled by the demand for live captures, all these factors resulted in a reduction in hunting to the point of abandonment. In Taiji, the trend is similar. Of the 550 members of the Taiji Fishing Cooperative, only 26 maintain the right to hunt dolphins, and only 13 boats have a license to conduct the hunts. In addition, the price of dolphin meat has also significantly dropped in recent years, possibly due to an increase in meat from the expanded scientific whaling programme for large whales, but also perhaps due to fears over adverse human health effects. Reports from the ground suggest the demand for dolphin meat is down.
There is more evidence that demonstrates the increased focus of the drive hunts on obtaining live animals for display by the aquarium industry. A memo circulated by Japan's Cetacean Conference on Zoological Gardens and Aquariums in August 2005 and written by the conference's Executive Secretary asked aquarium directors to complete a questionnaire to determine the extent to which aquaria want to display Pacific white-sided dolphins, a species not currently targeted by drive hunts, so the results could be used to justify a permit application for their capture at Taiji. The memo also referred to the need for discussion between fishermen and aquaria to only capture dolphins wanted for captivity. Taiji's plans to expand its use of small whales and dolphins, a five-year “Community Development Plan by Whale People using Whales,” has been approved by the Japanese Government under Japan's Local Revitalization Law, which entered into force in April 2005.
In October 2005, seemingly in response to increasing pressure from environmental organizations and concerned scientists, the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA ) issued a statement to its members, reminding them to “ensure that they do not accept animals obtained by the use of methods which are inherently cruel”, and noting that: “the catching of dolphins by the use of a method known as ‘drive fishing’ is considered an example of such a non-acceptable capture method.” It was hoped that this statement would be used to impose sanctions against any WAZA members that knowingly procure dolphins from the drive hunts.
Unfortunately, and instead, WAZA has brokered a concession with JAZA (the Japanese Association of Zoo and Aquaria) to develop a ‘Dolphin Management Protocol’ that allows for the herding of dolphins separate from the drive hunts in Taiji specifically for aquaria. However, it appears that this protocol has merely increased the pressure on dolphin populations around Japan through promoting additional captures, while also resulting in the focused acquisition of bottlenose dolphins from the drive hunts in the month of September in Taiji, where JAZA facilities still associate with the drive hunts, but release those bottlenose dolphins that are not taken for aquaria. In other words, JAZA facilities (a WAZA member) are still knee-deep in the killing cove in Taiji. WDC believes that WAZA has failed to adequately address the drive hunts and continues to hold them complicit by continuing to support JAZA’s involvement in the hunts.
Read more about the captivity connection in WDC’s report, Driven by Demand (2006). You can read the report in both English and Japanese.
RELATED ISSUES :
Every year in Japan and the Faroe Islands hundreds of whales and dolphins are herded into coves and then killed and captured in brutally cruel hunts
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