Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In Taiji, Japan, Fishermen in the Cove are Still Not Killing Bottlenose Dolphins, but They are Killing Other Species

By Ric OBarry, Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins Coalition

Ive been here in Taiji, the small coastal town in Japan with the big secret, for several days now. I wanted to get a good idea of what is happening in the Cove, made infamous by the movie The Cove, recently released on DVD. It is imperative that I and my colleagues from Save Japan Dolphins Coalition are here on the ground regularly to judge what is happening and to document the truth that the Taiji dolphin killers and the Japanese government want to hide from the Japanese people and the world.

Ric O’Barry and his son, Lincoln O’Barry, are at the Cove in Taiji, Japan.
Photo by Kate Tomlinson.

The Taiji dolphin-killers, so far as we can tell, are still not catching any bottlenose dolphins for slaughter. Thats the good news. But obviously, this is largely a PR effort on the part of the fishermen to deny the truth shown in The Cove. They can say they are not killing Flipper, but they are butchering many of his dolphin cousins as many as they can get.

And the dolphin-killers are angry, too. They have physically assaulted several of us, although fortunately there have been no injuries. I was assaulted yesterday, but I got the assault on video. Tomorrow I will bring a copy to the police station and file a complaint against the dolphin killers. They will not intimidate me or our Save Japan Dolphins team that is here on site.

As depicted in the award-wining documentary The Cove, Japan issues 23,000 permits annually to slaughter dolphins. Here in Taiji, boats go out to sea and herd dolphin pods into a local cove, where nets are arrayed across the entrance to keep them captive. The dolphin killers work with aquariums from all over the world to pick out the best show quality dolphins for captivity. The rest are killed in the most horrible way imaginable, caught on hidden cameras in The Cove Movie. Roughly two to three thousand dolphins are killed here during the dolphin-hunting season, which runs from September to March.

Ric O’Barry at the Cove in Taiji, Japan.
Photo by Kate Tomlinson.

Sadly, in the Cove itself, I have found it is business as usual, despite the worldwide publicity against the dolphin slaughter. On Sunday, several False killer whales (a large dolphin) were captured and a few were taken by boat around the corner of the bay to the notorious Taiji Whale Museums floating holding cages on the other side. These whales will be trained and then sold for extremely high prices (as much as $150,000US each or more) to other aquariums for their captive dolphin shows. The rest of the pod, their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers, will be slaughtered tomorrow at dawn. There are also Rissos dolphins and Pacific white-sided dolphins in the Cove today as well, and they will die too tomorrow. My son Lincoln and I will be on hand to record it. My son and I are working on a new TV project, so we will have a way to show the world the reality here in Taiji.

We will continue to show our presence here, and we will continue to witness and record the brutal dolphin slaughters. We will also show The Cove Movie throughout Japan. We will spread the truth that the government has tried so long to cover up.

One of my goals here this week is to change some hearts and minds here in Taiji. It seems to me that this is ground zero for the fight to change the hearts and minds of all Japan. We know there are people here in town that object to the dolphin slaughter, and this week, I will have a chance to meet them. We have a Japanese version of The Cove DVD with us, and we plan to screen it discretely for as many local people as we can find who want to know the truth.

I want to thank all our supporters for their efforts to contact President Obama and other opinion leaders throughout the world, to contact the Japanese Embassies, and to give donations to our cause to help us with our expenses here in Japan. Your support means a lot to me and the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition.
Dolphins and small whales are still being killed in the Cove in Taiji, Japan.
Photo by Kate Tomlinson.

For further information about the Campaign to Save Japan Dolphins and to take action, go to our website:


To donate to the Campaign, click here:

Thanks for all your help! We will stop the slaughter of dolphins in Japan -- I believe it is only a matter of time.

Save Japan Dolphins Coalition:
Earth Island Institute, Animal Welfare Institute, Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan, In Defense of Animals, Campaign Whale of the UK, and OceanCare of Switzerland

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