(MARINE PARKS/DOLPHINS) This month marked the beginning of the cruel dolphin killing season which takes place in Taiji and other Japanese fishing towns, from September through March. Each year, upwards of 20,000 dolphins and other cetaceans are brutally slaughtered–often cruelly stabbed with knives, hooks and lances–in the annual hunt.

While part of the dolphins’ flesh is sold for meat, despite warnings of high-level mercury contamination, the primary motivation for the hunt is the captivity industry, where live, trained dolphins sell for a much higher price than dead ones.

During the hunts, wild dolphins are driven into a cove, secured by nets, along the Taiji coast. They are held sometimes for days, while “show-quality” dolphins are picked out and torn away from their families. These animals are then trained and sold off at high profits (up to $200 000 per dolphin) to aquariums, marine parks, dolphin shows, and other tourist attractions all around the world. Typically, some–if not all–of the remaining dolphins are then killed and butchered for their flesh.

The only way to put an end to this brutal annual killing of dolphins is to stop promoting captive dolphin entertainment. Call on the captivity industry to stop contributing to the demand that fuels these cruel hunts.

Continue reading below for more on the annual Taiji dolphin hunts, and see all the ways that you can take action with the Dolphin Project at the links below. — Global Animal

Activists from Earth Island Institute (EII) and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PWAS) hold a demonstration against dolphin hunting in front of the Japanese Embassy in Manila on September 1, 2016. Photo Credit: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty

The Observer, Michael Sainato and Chelsea Skojec

Every year from September 1 to March 1 the government of Japan permits dolphins to be legally hunted. During this season dolphin hunters spend hours herding pods of dolphins into a cove on the shores of Taiji, Japan to kill or capture them en masse. The quota this year, set by the the Taiji Fishermen’s Union, is 1,940 animals. That includes nine different species of dolphins and whales. This year’s tally is an increase from last year, which was set at at 1,840 animals—though even with this limit it’s thought that many more are likely killed and not reported to authorities.

On September 3, the Dolphin Project (a non-profit dedicated to protecting the aquatic mammals) reported on a gruesome scene from Taiji. Over the span of seven hours a pod of pilot whales were harassed by hunters who roared their engines and banged metal poles against their boats to disrupt the sensitive SONAR navigation the animals use to travel through the water. The whales swarmed together, disoriented, as they were slowly herded into a cove where the hunters cast their nets to seal their fate. The animals are often brutally stabbed, beaten and left to die slow, painful deaths before their meat is butchered and distributed to the market.

“Once again, we are in the horrible position of seeing dolphins and small whales slaughtered for meat—meat that is contaminated with mercury and should not be eaten by anyone,” said Mark J. Palmer, the associate director of the International Marine Mammal Project at the Earth Island Institute, in an interview with the Observer. “

[The hunts] are heavily subsidized by the captivity and aquarium industry that buy live dolphins and whales for thousands of yen each, leaving the rest to die,” he added. Palmer’s initiative, along with 22 partner organizations from around the world, have implored Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to end the practice of dolphin hunting, as well as whaling, which is carried out under scientific pretenses.

Cetaceans (dolphins, whales, and porpoises) are highly intelligent animals. A 2000 study found that dolphins, like humans and great apes, were capable of self-recognition in mirrors. Each individual dolphin has a unique whistle to differentiate themselves, and researchers have proven that dolphins retain the memory of the whistles used by all the dolphins they’ve previously known. One female dolphin, Bailey, was shown to recognize the whistle of a fellow dolphin she shared a tank with twenty years before. In South America, a well known cooperation exists between fishermen and dolphins who work together to catch fish. The dolphins signal to the fishermen when to cast their nets, and the fishermen have developed personal relationships with the dolphins, knowing each one by name.

The 2009 documentary, The Cove, which reported on the dolphin hunts in Taiji, is largely to thank for a growing momentum in the movement to cease this inhumane practice. But the Japanese government still condones these killings, and despite global protestation, the industry is thriving.

More The Observer: https://observer.com/2017/09/japans-horrific-dolphin-hunt-season-begins/

Up to 20,000 dolphins and other marine mammals are killed each year in the Taiji dolphin hunts. Photo Credit: xzonenews

TAKE ACTION with The Dolphin Project:

1. TAKE THE PLEDGE – DON’T BUY A TICKET TO A DOLPHIN SHOW

The dolphin (and whale) trade is an incredibly lucrative global industry that preys on human interest in these incredible animals. SeaWorld, aquariums, and spring break swim-with-dolphin trips, no matter how fun, support an industry that profits from animal cruelty. When they’re not doing flips for you, most dolphins are treated poorly. In spite of their naturally “smiling” faces, it’s pretty much impossible to keep dolphins happy and healthy in any captive setting. Take the pledge HERE

Click here to see a list of captive dolphin facilities that have been closed down, or never opened, thanks to the efforts of people like you.

2. SIGN DOLPHIN PROJECT’S PETITIONS & WRITE TO EVERYONE WHO WILL LISTEN

How would you feel if we told you just signing your name could save the dolphins? Here are a few petitions you can sign, and people you can write, to make a difference in mere minutes:

  • Send a letter to Prime Minister Abe 
  • Make a pledge that you won’t go to a dolphin show or attend a swim-with-dolphins program here.
  • Ask Taiji’s sister city Broome, Australia to sever ties until the slaughter ends. Sign here
  • Donate money to front line efforts to save Taiji’s dolphins. Your tax deductible donations go to monitoring the Taiji Cove and keeping constant pressure on the campaign.

3. JOIN DOLPHIN PROJECT ON THE FRONT LINES IN TAIJI

Were you inspired by Ric O’Barry in The Cove?  Now is your chance to #TakeAction alongside the only organization that has been in Taiji every year since 2003. Travel to Taiji as a Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project Cove Monitor. You can learn more & download an application HERE

4. EDUCATE YOUR FRIENDS

Host a movie night at your house and watch The Cove or Blackfish to show your friends what’s happening to dolphins. (They’re interesting movies to watch regardless of whether or not you’re an animal rights activist.)

5. SHARE

And we don’t mean just Tweeting sad face emojis next to pictures of jumping dolphins. Stand on your social media soapbox and inform and inspire others, even if the only person that follows you on Twitter is your mom.

Share this helpful article or this heartbreaking video. Repost our Instagram images, Tweet the hashtag #Tweet4Dolphins and follow Dolphin Project on Facebook to keep up with what’s going on. Education and spreading the word are key!

On twitter use the hashtag #Tweet4Dolphins

6. SHARE THIS CELEBRITY PSA

7. DONATE

Donate here and help keep Dolphin Project on the front lines in Japan. Together we are making a difference. Your tax deductible donations help keep our Cove Monitors on the ground in Taiji throughout the hunting season.

8. GET CREATIVE

Run a marathon, start a cove club, shave a mohawk and raise awareness and funds for our campaign. Create your own fundraiser here.

If you are in school, you can consider screening The Cove movie for your class or school. You can get your friends together to form a Cove Club, we can help.

9. WEAR YOUR SUPPORT

Literally! Check out our shop HERE and pick-up some authentic Dolphin Project gear.

10. CONTACT THE AUTHORITIES

Help us get the word out! Please contact these authorities and let’s end this senseless slaughter once and for all.

WAZA: The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
[email protected]

AZA: The American Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Media Contact: Rob Vernon (301)244-3352 | Email: [email protected]

IMATA: The International Marine Mammal Trainers’ Association
[email protected]

PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN
Prime Minister Shinzo- Abe
Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
1-6-1 Nagata-cho
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. 100-8914 JAPAN
+81-3-5253-2111

Website: http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/index-e.html
Online comment form #1: https://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/forms/comment_ssl.html
Online comment form #2: https://form.cao.go.jp/kokusai/en_opinion-0001.html

Japanese Embassies Worldwide:
Websites of Japanese Embassies, Consulates and Permanent Missions

List of Embassies and Consulates-General in Japan:
List of Embassies and Consulates-General in Japan

US Embassy in Japan:
Ambassador of the United States to Japan
Telephone: 011-81-3-3224-5000
Fax: 011-81-3-3505-1862
Send E-mail to the U.S. Embassy in Japan

Cabinet Office

Comment/Question for Cabinet Office

Wakayama Prefecture Office, Fishery Division:

[email protected]
Telephone: +81-73-441-3010
Fax: +81-73-432-4124

Dolphin Base:

Telephone: +81-0735-59-3514

Fax: +81-0735-59-2810

International Whaling Commission (IWC)
The Red House,
135 Station Road,
Impington,
Cambridge,
Cambridgeshire CB24 9NP, UK.
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 233 971
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 232 87
Email: [email protected]

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / Convention on Migratory Species (CMP)
UNEP/CMS Secretariat
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1
53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel: (+49 228) 815 2401
Fax: (+49 228) 815 2449
Email: [email protected]

Japan Fisheries Public Content Form:
Contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries

US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:
US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

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