Dolphins flock to the curtain of death before slaying Taiji

Dolphins are caught with a “noise curtain” so they can be hunted for meat and aquariums during Japan’s annual Taiji dolphin hunt.

The hunt takes place in the small village of Taiji, nicknamed “The Cove”, in Higashimoro District every year from September 1st to March 1st. Dolphins are either slaughtered for meat or transported to marine aquariums.

Danny Groves, Head of Communications for Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), a wildlife charity, said: Newsweek: “Car searches in Japan are essentially brutal. Once a pod is discovered, the hunters bang on metal poles, which creates an underwater curtain of noise, which disorients and disorients the dolphins.

“Then they are collected or driven ashore together. Some of them, usually juveniles and calves, may be allowed back into the ocean on their own, frightened and stressed. Most are not so lucky and are slaughtered for meat, which few people eat,” Groves said.

A dolphin hunt is underway in Japan
A pod of dolphins during a hunt in Japan.
The Dolphin Project/Life Realization Agency

The Dolphin Project, which works in conjunction with the Life Investigation Agency, has been documenting the searches this year and has posted updates on its site. Facebook page. On Monday, the organization reported that 58 melon-headed whales — including sticks — had been herded into the cave. A total of 21 kills, 37 were thrown away. But since the manhunt began in September 2022, many more have been killed.

The Dolphin Project also reported that fishermen killed an entire group of 12 Risso’s dolphins.

“Although Risso’s dolphin can dive to 1,000 feet and hold its breath for more than 30 minutes, Taiji fishermen have developed techniques to disorient and panic the dolphins, causing them to stay on the surface to breathe faster,” she said on Facebook. This year Risso has always been a target. For these Hunters, making this the 11th time they have slaughtered Risso this season. 108 Risso have been slaughtered so far this season.”

Hunting dolphins for six months is authorized by the Japan Fisheries Agency, but many animal welfare groups say it is cruel and unnecessary and are calling for it to be banned. The agency that regulates hunting, sets an annual quota for certain species. The quota for the 2022/2023 season is 1,849.

Last year, fishing operations in Taiji resulted in the death or capture of more than 550 whales and dolphins, according to the WDC.

The hunting controversy increased with the 2009 release of the documentary cove, which detail how to hunt and kill dolphins. In 2017, said a senior official of the local fisheries association, Yoshifumi Kai Watchman That the hunt is essential to the livelihood of the local people.

Hunting participants say the practice helps meet the demand for meat. In addition, hunting dolphins for marine parks can earn fishermen thousands.

“In recent years, the driving force behind these hunts seems to be the demand for live individuals to fuel the entertainment industry, both in Japan and abroad,” Groves said. “There is more and more emphasis on capturing healthy, handsome individuals, usually young females, to sell in theme parks… A dead dolphin makes a few hundred US dollars, yet a live, trained dolphin can earn over $100,000.” “

He continued, “More and more information is surfacing about the elevated levels of pollution in dolphins and young whales and the human health effects associated with eating contaminated meat. So the link between these fisheries and the captivity industry is getting stronger with multimillion-dollar deals between Taiji fishermen and Chinese aquariums.”

According to Groves, their life in captivity is miserable.

“Whales and dolphins are not supposed to be kept in small tanks,” he said. “Separated from their families, they cannot travel the vast distances they can every day in the wild, and so they suffer stress, swim in small circles, live shorter lives and perform unnatural tricks to get food just to entertain us. And that is if they are lucky.”

WDC has worked to expose the cruelty involved in dolphin hunting. An independent analysis of the hunt found “alarming levels of physical trauma and extreme cruelty that fall short of international standards for animal welfare”.

Animal welfare groups believe this practice is cruel and should also be banned for the sake of the ecosystem.

“This practice remains very puzzling when we’re fighting climate collapse,” Groves said. “A healthy planet needs a healthy ocean, and whales and dolphins help maintain a healthy ocean. Slaughtering them in such a brutal way and taking them out of the ocean to put in tanks just doesn’t make sense.”

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