Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Japanese fishermen ignore protests as dolphin hunting season opens

Check this out, in Taiji Dolphin's are still being slaughtered! News

Fishermen at the Japanese town made famous by the controversial Oscar-winning documentary The Cove shrugged off protests by animal rights activists yesterday to carry out their annual dolphin hunt.
Protesters said residents of the seaside village of Taiji butchered a whole pod of dolphins, apart from two that will be sold to aquariums and six young animals that were released.

For years, Taiji has held an annual dolphin hunt which begins in t
he autumn and continues until March. It has traditionally sold the best-looking animals to aquariums and killed the rest.

But the Oscar-winning documentary - which showed how herded dolphins were driven into a cove and stabbed, turning the waters red with blood - has intensified international opposition to the slaughter.

The film has met with fierce opposition in Japan from groups who say it is "anti-Japanese" and an affront to traditional culture. The work's Japanese opening in July was greeted with shouting protests from flag-waving demonstrators and a scuffle.

Unlike previous years, Taiji hunters have been setting some dolphins free, probably because of the growing pressure, said Scott West, a member of the Sea Shepherd conservation group who is in Taiji as part of a campaign to protect the mammals.

The village also has not killed any bottlenose dolphins - the most photogenic of oceanic dolphins. Instead, the mammals targeted have been risso dolphins and pilot whales (which are also dolphins but don't have the distinctive pointed noses of bottlenoses), Mr West said.

Last month, Taiji fishermen captured about a dozen bottlenose dolphins, which are still swimming in a netted area in a harbour separate from the cove.

A European conservationist group, Black Fish, said it cut nets in the harbour last month but the dolphins did not escape.

The young dolphins released yesterday appeared confused, perhaps looking for their parents, and it was unclear how well they will survive, Mr West said.

Japanese broadcaster TBS showed one activist - identified by Sea Shepherd as Steve Thompson of the Taiji Dolphin Action Group - raising his voice to fishermen about to leave for the hunt at about 5am.

"Today. No fishing. There is baby dolphin, pregnant dolphin.


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