Taiji Dolphin Hunt

The Taiji dolphin drive hunt takes place in Taiji, Wakayama in Japan every year from September to March. Dolphins are captured or killed for meat consumption mainly by the Japanese or resale to marine parks and zoos.  Over 1000 dolphins are killed and captured each year.

The annual dolphin hunt has received international criticism for both the cruelty of the dolphin killing and the high levels of mercury in the dolphin meat which could be dangerous to eat.  Organisations protest each year at the cove where Taiji takes place raising awareness of the slaughter and putting pressure on the Japanese government to end the Taiji Dolphin Hunt.

Dolphins are herded into a cove in Taiji where they are trapped by fishermen who then insert a metal spike just behind the blowhole which is supposed to sever the spinal cord producing a ‘humane death’; they then plug the wound to stop the blood spilling into the cove.

According to an academic paper published in 2013 in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science titled ‘A Veterinary and Behavioral Analysis of Dolphin Killing Methods Currently Used in the ‘Drive Hunt’ in Taiji, Japan’, those killing methods involving driving a rod into the spine and using a pin to stop bleeding that is used by the Taiji Japanese creates such terror and pain that it would be illegal to kill cows in Japan in this manner.

Also, a number of aquariums and swim-with-dolphins programs around the world purchase live dolphins caught in the bloody drive hunts of Taiji.  Japan alone has more than 50 dolphinariums and swim-with-dolphins programs, ranging from large aquarium facilities with huge tanks and dolphin shows to small tanks at motels or floating sea pens in harbors.

Dolphins in the wild live in large complex social groups and can swim up to 100 miles per day when playing and hunting. The concrete and isolated tanks captive dolphins live in do not allow them to fulfil their natural instincts; the life expectancy of captive dolphins is lower than those in the wild and infant death rates are higher.  Captive dolphins also exhibit abnormal behaviour such as self mutilation, repetitive behaviour, unusual aggression and even attempts to escape their captivity that put their lives at risk (http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/why-whales-and-dolphins-do-not-belong-in-tanks/).

The captive dolphin entertainment industry makes a lot of money from dolphin suffering and death. The best way to shut them down is to never visit dolphin attractions and so stop them making money. By ending the demand for their shows, we can end dolphin suffering.

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