Thursday, January 7, 2010

What is happening in Taiji now?

By Helene O’Barry

Since the showing of the documentary The Cove, which exposes the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan, many rumors have swirled around one question: Did The Cove stop the killing of dolphins in Taiji? Some media outlets have publicized statements that would lead the public to believe that dolphins are no longer being hunted there. Sadly, this is not the case. The killing of many dolphins, including bottlenose dolphins, still continues in Taiji. The policy of no killing of bottlenose dolphins apparently did not last long and was most likely nothing but a strategic short-term publicity stunt, aimed at reassuring the international media that bottlenose dolphins would no longer be killed. Bottlenose dolphins are being hunted and killed in Taiji again, along with many other species of dolphin.

It is important to remember that this is the world’s largest dolphin slaughter. Japan issues 23,000 permits annually to fishermen around its shores; in Taiji alone, 1,500 or more dolphins are slaughtered every year. It has been going on for more than 400 years, although the drive fishery has only gone on for the past 70 years or so, and of course the capturing of dolphins for aquariums and swim-with-dolphins programs is a modern, very lucrative addition.

It is not realistic to think that we, or anyone else, can shut it down before this year’s hunting season ends in March 2010. In order to once and for all stop the dolphin slaughter in Japan, The Cove must be viewed by the Japanese people. So far, it has not been. There are 126 million people in Japan. Less than 300 of them have seen the documentary so far. The work, therefore, is now about launching an effort within Japan to ensure that as many Japanese people as possible see The Cove.

The Save Japan Dolphins Coalition is leading that effort, and we are currently finishing up the Japanese translations for The Cove and making copies to distribute around the country, particularly to decision-makers in Tokyo. Additionally, our Coalition will be screening copies around the major cities shortly. We are getting e-mails from people in Japan eager to help us spread the word.

Your donations help our efforts. We want to thank you for all your support. Help us reach those 126 million people in Japan by donating today:

Working together with our friends in Japan and from all around the world, we can stop the killing. We are already seeing stories in the Japanese media that would never have appeared without our Save Japan Dolphins Campaign. The Japan Times, for example, recently printed a story listing ten important human rights issues in Japan — the Japan dolphin slaughter was number 9! Go to:

We don’t know how long this campaign is going to take, but we are in it to win protection for all the dolphins and whales. You can count on that.

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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