Sunday, September 26, 2010

Defiance In Japan -- first dolphin kill at Taiji

by Ric O’Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute

It’s with a heavy heart that I write today’s post. Despite all our efforts and despite the worldwide condemnation of the cruel dolphin slaughter, the Japanese government remains defiant and has allowed the first dolphin kill of this season at Taiji.

This defies all logic, both because of the brutal inhumane abuse of dolphins and because it is now proved that the dolphin meat is poison -- containing dangerous levels of mercury.

Throughout the first month of the season several captures have taken place with select dolphins retained for export to zoos and aquariums. The rest of the pod were released back into the wild. However, a few days ago one group of 15 Risso's dolphins was brutally killed and taken to the slaughterhouse.

I can't tell you how angry this makes me. And I know it makes you angry, too. Many of you will be frustrated, but I don’t want you to lose hope. I also am more convinced than ever that our campaign to generate worldwide pressure for an end to the slaughter is right and must succeed.

We must be vigilant and turn up the heat. The Japan government's defiance must not be allowed to stand.

Change does not happen overnight, and we have only just started to get the word out to the Japanese people.

We are working to keep people on the ground in Taiji to monitor the Cove and report back to the world. Take a look at this video done by one of our dedicated volunteers, Leilani Münter:

We are also ramping up efforts with our Japanese distributor to get thousands of copies of the Japanese version of the movie The Cove into the hands of the Japanese public so that they can build pressure internally.

Recently several Japanese people who have seen The Cove or heard about our work have begun coming to Taiji for the first time ever – our Save Japan Dolphins Team members there have been talking with them. They want to understand just what is happening there, and this is a very positive step. The Japanese people themselves can end the slaughter, especially if the Japan government can no longer hide the killing from them.

One of our volunteers in Tokyo recently interviewed several people about The Cove and the dolphin slaughter – she found all of them had now heard about the issue, quite a change from just a few months ago when nobody knew anything about the dolphin hunts.

US President Barack Obama is going to Japan in November. We are moving quickly to get him and his administration to urge attention to this matter. We'll provide more details on this in the days ahead.

If you can donate to help this work continue, it is most appreciated. Go to:

Check out our blog for more details of the Save Japan Dolphin Day activities on October 14th and other updates.

Thanks for your help and continued effort to make the waters safe for dolphins.


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