Monday, February 18, 2008

Are you Supporting the Japanese Dolphin Kill?

Author: Robert Strong

Dolphins are at the top of the must-see list for tourists and residents alike. Aquariums and marine parks are traditional tourist destinations all over the world. Everyone has happy childhood memories of family outings for birthday parties at the local aquarium. If the tourists that flock there really knew where the dolphins came from and how they have been caught, I am sure they not be patronize these businesses so avidly.

Every year, from September to April, Japanese fishermen hunt and kill thousands of dolphins as a substitute for whale meat. In Taiji Bay Japan, at least 2,000 dolphins are slaughtered for meat annually with the prize specimens sold to aquariums worldwide. A prime specimen of a live dolphin is worth more than $40,000. Japanese fishermen search for a pods of dolphins in samll boats. Once located, they beat the water with long metal poles, creating a wall of sound that interferes with the dolphins' sonar navigation. As the dolphins agitatedly swim away from the sound, the fishermen maneuver their boats and herd the pod of dolphins into a bay enclosed with nets. Once trapped in the bay, they are stabbed with spears and knives, then left slowly to bleed to death. The water literally turns red from the violent slaughter. A few ""lucky"" ones are hauled out of shore with ropes that are tied around their tails and sold to marine parks.

The aquarium industry offers thousands of dollars for these few prime specimen, thus subsidizing the annual dolphin kill. This is a dark and dirty little secret that few people know about and nobody really wants to publicize. On its own, dolphin meat does not generate enough income to be a viable industy because of the high levels of mercury it contains. However, while the aquarium industry continues to offer thousands of dollars for the few captured dolphins, the violent slaughter for dolphin meat in Japan continues with this huge subsidy from aquariums all over the world. Thousands of innocent dolphins continue to die horrible deaths at Japanese beaches and bays, while the uninformed public applaud the few seen jumping and dancing in aquariums.

Patronizing aquariums where that purchase dolphin from the Japanese is supporting this barbaric practice.

What can you do about it? Send a letter, e-mail or fax to the Prime Minister of Japan, the Minister of Fisheries, your local embassy or consulate and other Japanese officials to let them know that this barbaric slaughter is unacceptable.

About the author: Robert Strong is an active environmentailist living in North Vancouver BC.

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