Saturday, December 18, 2010



A tiny seaside town in Taiji Japan is becoming famous for all of the wrong reasons. Taiji is renowned for the infamous dolphin killing cove, which turns red with the blood of 23, 000 dolphins slaughtered each year from September to March. Little is reported about this cruel practice here in Australia, and alarmingly our nation is connected to this town through a sister-city relationship with Broome Australia. Information on the annual dolphin hunt can be found below. We hope you can work with us to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

We encourage you to please help the Bob Irwin Wildlife Fund and the Sea Shepherd raise awareness of this incredibly brutal slaughter and protect the world’s whales and dolphins. They might look cute as they perform tricks in theme parks and Swim with Dolphin programs, but if you take some time to understand how they got there, you will realise that these dolphins have suffered a very unfornate fate. A fate worse than death that is conntected to the brutal slaughter at places like Taiji's famous killing cove. Dolphins should swim free- be observered in the wild, in their natural environment where they belong.

DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER IN TAIJI- No survivors, no mercey, no humanity.

Dolphin drive hunting is a method of hunting dolphins and occasionally other small cetaceans, such as pilot and minke whales. Hunters drive the animals into a bay or onto a beach with their boats, their escape is then prevented by closing off the route to the open sea or ocean with boats and nets. This method of hunting is highly controversial and has been criticised internationally. Dolphins are hunted this way in several places around the world, with the largest number of dolphins hunted using this method in Japan, where dolphins are mostly hunted for their meat.

Some are captured and end up in dolphinariums around the world, and many thousands of dolphins are barbarically murdered in drive hunts each year. Additionally, there are possible health risks due to the extremely high levels of mercury and cadmium in the meat. 

The Japanese town of Taiji on the Kii Peninsula is the largest scale drive hunting town in Japan with around 2,400 cetaceans being killed each year. 23,000 are killed annually throughout Japan - a permit to take this many dolphins is issued by the Japanese fisheries.  These figures are open to debate as Japan tends to greatly under-estimate their catch. For example, they were found under-estimating their Bluefin tuna catch by 170,000 tonnes in the last twenty years! 

Alarmingly dolphins are not protected by the agreement made by the International Whaling Commission as dolphins are not classified as whales. The whaling nations are free to hunt the world's oceans of dolphins as essentially they are not seen to belong to any nation. They are the world's dolphins and therefore protected by nobody.

THE COVE MOVIE - Uncovering the Truth

The story of the Taiji dolphins was made famous in 2009, with the release of the award-winning doco The Cove featuring renowned surfers from Australia, including Dave Rastovich and actress Isabelle Lucas who are strong campaigners against the dolphin hunt. The documentary brought to light the fact that 1. the dolphin meat is high in mercury and dangerous to the health of those who consume it and 2. the so called “tradition” of the hunt has actually only been going on for 40 years- a “tradition” that is believed to have commenced when there were no whales left in the oceans left to hunt, so they turned to dolphins.

The Japanese appear to be operating behind the term ‘tradition’- a cover-up for the economic benefits that the dolphin hunt brings where live dolphins are sold to aquariums and theme parks for around $130, 000 each animal and dolphin meat sells for a fraction of this price- often sold as “whale meat”.  At the beginning of the annual hunt in 2010, 4 of the dolphins captured in Taiji, (that were spared their life) were sold to a wealthy Egyptian man who now has them inhabiting a tiny swimming pool in his backyard- Save Japan Dolphins are working tirelessly to have them released- an organisation headed by Ric O'Barry (renowned as the dolphin trainer from the television show Flipper now dolphin conservationist). It seems anything is possible with money! Anything that is except buying the dolphins off the Taiji fisherman. A conservation group recently offered to purchase the dolphins off them for release- but because of their pride in their “tradition” they refused the offer. The dolphins were killed.

In Japan, the hunting is done by a select group of fishermen. When a pod of dolphins has been spotted, they're driven into a bay by the fishermen who bang on metal rods in the water to scare and confuse them. When the dolphins are in the bay, it is quickly closed off with nets so the dolphins cannot escape. The dolphins are then systematically slaughtered. The method used in Taiji - the only place in Japan to currently do this - is called oikomi, where dolphins are rounded up into shallow water and harpooned one by one, swimming for days in their fellow pod-member's blood.

The release of 'The Cove' documentary in 2009 has had a direct affect on changing barbaric methods used by the fisherman in Taiji whereby the dolphins are now captured and put into cages to calm down over night. However, the following day the dolphins are caught one by one and killed, usually behind closed doors so that activists and the media can not see what is going on.

The Japanese government states that 'dolphins now may only be killed by driving a metal pin into their neck, which causes them to die within seconds'. This law is not enforced however and throat cutting and harpooning is still witnessed. The numbers of dolphins and other cetaceans that are being murdered in Taiji is rapidly decreasing due to international pressure. The hunting is no longer financially viable and the only reason fisherman can continue to hunt is because large dolphinariums around the world are buying wild dolphins for thousands of dollars. They buy them to perform at their parks and in so doing are not only sealing the fate of thousands of other dolphins to an inhumane death, but are also incarcerating wild animals and enslaving them to a fate dictated by the amusement of human beings. 
Often babies are released, and their mother's slain. The fate of the babies released is very grim. It is unlikely that the babies will survive in the wild without the guidance of their mothers to find food and be nurtured. We hope to bring the slaughter to an end once and for all!

DOLPHIN MEANT- Not Fit for Human Consumption

In 2010, hair samples from 1,137 Taiji residents was tested for mercury by the National Institute for Minamata Disease. The average amount of methyl mercury found in the hair samples was 11.0 parts per million for men and 6.63 ppm for women, compared with an average of 2.47 ppm for men and 1.64 ppm for women in tests conducted in 14 other locations in Japan. From the total population, 182 Taiji residents who were found with extremely high mercury levels underwent further medical testing to check for symptoms of mercury poisoning. None of the Taiji residents displayed any of the traditional symptoms of mercury poisoning, according to the Institute. However, Japan's National Institute of Population and Social Security Research reports that the mortality rate for Taiji and nearby Koazagawa, where dolphin meat is also consumed, is over 50% higher than the rate for similarly-sized villages throughout Japan, though no correlation between mortality rate and causal factor is implied in the report.
The chief of the NIMD, Misugisato Koji said, "We presume that the high mercury concentrations are due to the intake of dolphin and whale meat.”

COVE GUARDIANS- Giving a Voice to the Taiji Dolphins

The cove guardians are a group of dedicated, select volunteers from around the world.  They give up their time to ensure that the terrible atrocities being committed in Taiji (the cove) come to an end by photographing, filming and exposing the killings there twenty four hours a day seven days a week. None of the Cove Guardians are looking for conflict with the citizens of Taiji, but are there to observe and document a piece of history which, without them, would otherwise never be recorded. Especially with the censorship of the media in Japan.  On average around 23, 000 dolphins are brutally slain in Taiji each year, much of this takes place without the rest of the world knowing anything about it. These magnificent, intelligent animals need to be protected. The cove guardians make it their mission to expose the 'molesters' that brutally spear these animals to death. No animal is safe from the molesters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children are all their target.

One of the worst and most horrible truths to come out of 'the cove' is that the molesters are primarily funded by oceanariums and dolphinariums around the world. Trainers come from parks all over the world to select dolphins to train and perform at their parks. These men and women know what's going on in Taiji and yet still support it through paying thousands of dollars to keep these animals captive in their amusement parks. Without the support of these oceanariums the molesters would not be able to fund their murder.

By bringing these heart-wrenching events to the world media front and exposing these shameful men for what they are doing we hope to bring an end to this massacre once and for all!

For more information on how to become a Cove Guardian, head to

Some eye-opening facts involving Australia’s support of the Taiji dolphin hunt:
·         Broome Australia is the official sister-city of Taiji
·         In 2009 Broome Shire Council made a public decision to disassociate from Taiji until the dolphin hunt ceased in light of international pressure placed on Broome
·         Only months later the Broome Shire Council apologised to the Japanese community and reconnected with Taiji to reform the sister-city relationship
·         To lessen the public reaction, Broome Shire Council have agreed to support Taiji by offering to facilitate alternative economic opportunities similar to those that have seen Broome flourish through tourism and promotion of its natural marine resources- to date nothing has been done
·         Taiji Japan, seemingly have no affiliation of the sister-city relationship with Broome Australia as seen in this video 

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