The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Relentless slaughter of Taiji dolphins.

Operation Infinite Patience: March 1, 2012

Cove Guardians with Erwin Vermeulen on his last day in Taiji.There is no such thing as “humane slaughter”

It was another bloody week here in Taiji. There was so much blood in the cove that the tarps could not even hide the massacre. 98 Pan Tropical Spotted Dolphins were brutally slaughtered, including many babies and juveniles. The entire pod was butchered for consumption.

There is no truth to the Taiji Fisherman’s Union claim of “humane and quick slaughter”.  These dolphins die a horrible, painful death. They fight and struggle to stay alive in the bloody water as divers try to wrangle them back to shore.

The process is known as “pithing.” A metal rod is hammered into the spinal cords to paralyze them. Once the metal rod is removed, a wooden plug is inserted to hide evidence of a wound or bleeding. The dolphins are not dead and are still fully conscious and aware of what is happening to them and the rest of their family. Many dolphins are still able to swim and try to get away. We were able to see one dolphin’s determination to gasp for breath as it continually kept spinning in the water. Dolphin killers circled around the dolphin, laughing as the dolphin eventually sank beneath the surface.

Dead dolphin bodies are thrown onto skiffs and covered with tarps. These tarps are meant to hide the carnage. The skiff carries the bodies to the Taiji butcher house. This time, as the skiff was entering the harbor, Cove Guardians were filming. Our video footage was able to capture a dolphin still moving under the tarp. The dolphin was still alive after having a metal rod inserted into his/her spinal cord. After lying on a pile of dead family members this dolphin still had a will to live. The dolphin killer tried to pat down the tarp to discreetly hide the movement-as if he was moving the tarp. We know the truth.

A short time after the slaughter, local buyers swarmed the butcher house. It is rumored that the dolphin-hunting season will end soon and locals opted to stock up on fresh dolphin meat. Trucks upon trucks flowed into the parking lot to purchase the 98 carcasses. The buyers wear facial masks and try to cover their license plates so that we cannot identify them. Unfortunately for them, we do know who they are and we always have our cameras ready.

The blood trail ended at a local fish market. I stood outside the open door. Quietly I watched a woman chop up dolphin fins. She was eager and took her time cutting precise pieces on a wooden table. Five minutes of video was all I needed. Soon the police arrived. It is not illegal to film; I wasn’t breaking the law. So I continued to film as the woman tried to close the door but couldn’t. She was angry. Well, I am angry too. I am angry that Taiji kills dolphins. The grotesque smell of boiling dolphin flesh continues to linger in this dark and haunting little town.

I refuse to turn my back and look the other way. The dolphins need me-and each and every person who is able-to be their voice
Source: Sea Shepherd

Save Japan Dolphins

Continued Vigilance Reduces Taiji Slaughter

Earth Island Institute’s Save Japan Dolphins Campaign, an arm of our International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP), continues its vigil at the notorious dolphin-killing cove in Taiji, Japan and the effort is achieving some real victories. Thanks to our constant monitoring of the dolphin hunt, the relationships we’ve built with Japanese activists, and the public education campaign to raise awareness about the high mercury levels in dolphin meat, the dolphin-hunting season is expected to be much shorter this year, and that will save the lives of scores of animals.

IMMP has had volunteer observers in Taiji since the start of the hunting season on September 1. Cove Monitors have been posting daily updates at to keep the world apprised of what’s happening there. Ric O’Barry, star of the Oscar-winning film The Cove, joined the team in January. O’Barry brought with him a potent new tool for our campaign – an iPad, which he used to stream real-time video of the hunts and to offer virtual tours of the inhumane Taiji Whale Museum.

O’Barry and the rest of the IMMP team have sought to avoid confrontations with the hunters and local authorities.

They have focused their efforts on cultivating alliances with Japanese environmentalists and Taiji residents. This relationship building has been crucial to getting insider information about the hunts and to spreading the word about the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated whale and dolphin meat, a subject that is ignored by the Japanese government and media.

IMMP’s Japanese allies report that the demand for dolphin meat in Japanese markets has dropped considerably since the campaign started, especially with the opening of The Cove movie in Japan. (The documentary is now available on DVD in Japanese, and our campaign – along with Director Louie Psihoyos and the Oceanic Preservation Society, which made The Cove – has been distributing free copies.) The government has denied any problems with mercury-tainted meat, but Japanese consumers appear to be ignoring such false claims. In 2010, Japanese authorities stated whale meat sales were down by 15 percent, as approximately 5,000 tons of frozen excess meat sat in storage. In 2011, the tonnage in cold storage rose to 5,400 tons. Dolphin meat is often mislabeled and sold to Japanese consumers as “whale” meat.

It also appears that the Taiji hunts are slowing down. The season usually lasts through the end of March, and sometimes into April. Japanese sources report that the dolphin hunts may end by mid- to late-February this year, weeks earlier than usual, due to the lack of demand for dolphin meat. If so, it would mark the fifth straight year that the number of dolphins killed in Taiji has declined since the IMMP campaign started.

Even though the dolphin hunts are waning, they cannot stop soon enough for our Save Japan Dolphins Campaign. IMMP will continue our efforts – including fielding Cove Monitors, getting out the mercury facts to Japanese consumers, and working with the Japanese people – to put an end to the killing of dolphins and whales in Japan once and for all.

Source: Earth Island Journal

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 


~ by FSVSF Admin on 5 March, 2012.

One Response to “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Relentless slaughter of Taiji dolphins.”

  1. Great post! Thanks for all your hard work.

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