Taiji drops anchor on dolphin hunts despite increasing pressure

The eyes of the world fell on Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, at the start of its dolphin hunting season on Sept. 1 after the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums instructed its members to stop buying dolphins from the coastal town. Rob Gilhooly was on the ground in the town earlier this month to gauge the fallout from the decision

by

Special To The Japan Times

On the harbor road heading east toward Tomyozaki Point, there is a moss-encrusted monument dedicated to an ill-fated whaling expedition in 1878. Facing fierce westerly winds, the fishermen released their catch, a right whale and her calf, and tied their boats together with nets to bolster defenses, but they were soon ripped apart and the fleet tossed further out to sea. More than 100 crew members lost their lives.

It’s the kind of story that resonates with the 3,500 residents in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, which is widely regarded as the birthplace of organized whaling in Japan, dating back over 400 years and continuing until the International Whaling Commission moratorium went into effect in 1986.

“When I was a child, I can remember the festival-like atmosphere when the boats came back (from a whaling expedition),” says local resident Sachiko Kushi, 78, outside a supermarket operated by Taiji’s fisheries cooperative. “That tradition has gone, but we still eat whale and dolphin meat. My grandchildren love it.”

High winds returned to Taiji in early September, when Typhoon Etau swept through the controversial town, although on this occasion there were no fatalities. Having heard reports of tornadoes out to sea, the town’s fishermen were staying on land and at first light on Sept. 8, they could be seen scuttling round the harbor securing their boats as rain cascaded across Taiji Bay.

In fact, the town had been battening down the hatches since the first day of the month, which marked the official start of a six-month season that has for years kicked up a more fierce, global storm.

Taiji’s notorious dolphin hunts annually attract anti-whaling activists from around the world. Their arrival in town triggers an almost Pavlovian reaction among local fisheries personnel and law enforcers alike. Barriers and “Keep out” signs are erected, and passports scrutinized, a process that has become increasingly stringent since the 2009 release of the Oscar-winning film “The Cove,” which documented the capture and slaughter of hundreds of dolphins in the town’s “Killer Cove.”

Swelling the ranks this year was a healthy contingent of local media, which far from following up on the film’s claims of barbarism and cruelty that violate international animal welfare codes, were turning their cameras to the outcome of another storm that had been quietly brewing in town.

On Sept. 8, the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) announced that the local museum had been cut loose from the governing body’s ranks for failing to respond to a directive to stop purchasing Taiji dolphins.

“It was predictable,” says Ric O’Barry, 75, who gained global renown in the 1960s as the trainer of TV dolphin Flipper and again almost half a century later when he appeared in “The Cove” having rejected his erstwhile role as a champion of the captive dolphin industry. “Now they are renegades.”

JAZA’s ultimatum to its members to stop purchasing live dolphins from Taiji came after the body was itself suspended and threatened with expulsion from the world’s leading zoo organization if it failed to sever its “unethical” association with the town.

A ballot among 152 JAZA members revealed that 99 were in favor of staying with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and 43 against. Only one, however, vowed to actively continue its trade with Taiji — the Taiji Whale Museum.

In explaining the enforced resignation, Tetsuo Kirihata, 56, deputy director of the museum, which features an aquarium housing 40 dolphins mostly caught in the drives, says certain activist bodies, many of them based overseas, had pressurized WAZA into its “regrettable” decision.

“This museum is part of Taiji and there is nothing illegal about the drives, which are an important cultural asset that we must protect,” Kirihata says.

The JAZA ruling has brought a mixed reaction among residents, some of whom expressed concern that it may signal the beginning of the end of that “cultural asset.”

“It would be a sad day,” says one resident, who declined to give her name. “It’s a deeply ingrained part of our food culture and I hate to think we would be forced to end that by people who don’t even try to understand it.”

Toshikazu Owashi, 46, a resident of the neighboring town of Nachi-Katsuura, believes the order will eventually have significant ramifications.

“It could have a huge impact on the fishermen, although JAZA is not actually condemning the dolphin drives,” he says. “They probably have another agenda and, like the activists, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with money.”

According to fisheries cooperative official Yoshifumi Kai, 55, however, little has changed. Orders for live dolphins this year stand at 150, compared with the 70 that were sold to aquariums in 2014.

“Basically, the number of orders has not changed,” says Kai, who lists dolphin and whale sukiyaki among his favorite local dishes. “The number of aquariums have decreased a little as there are no orders from JAZA-affiliated aquariums, with one exception.”

Asked if the orders were mostly coming from overseas, Kai says there is no way of knowing. “We only sell domestically, to buyers who then may sell on to overseas clients,” Kai says. “Those buyers have increased their orders, which has made up the difference for the orders lost (from JAZA affiliates).”

Experts are in no doubt, however, that the dolphins will end up both at overseas aquariums and non-JAZA-affiliated marine parks, of which there are 17 out of a total of 54 nationwide that keep dolphins, according to Yukari Sugisaka, 53, of animal welfare nongovernment organization Help Animals.

“(Non-JAZA facilities) will buy plenty and there will also be many importers, such as China and South Korea, which are among the few countries that are actually increasing the number of aquariums,” says Sugisaka, who co-wrote a study in 2013 that showed 25 nations, including Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Thailand, Chile and Croatia, have either banned the catching of dolphins from the wild or keeping them in captivity. “Income generated from live sales to aquariums is the biggest incentive — some varieties, such as the bottlenose, fetching millions of yen, as opposed to the roughly ¥10,000 made from the meat of a single dolphin,” she adds.

One visitor to the museum expresses a concern the directive could eventually backfire on JAZA.

“Larger facilities with the room and means to practice husbandry probably won’t be affected, but these are few and far between,” says Hisako Nagaoka, who was visiting from Osaka. “Smaller facilities, though, rely on live catches and could easily die out without a good cooperative breeding program among JAZA members.”

Sugisaka, however, takes a more positive view, saying the overriding reason for voting to stay with WAZA is the exchange of resources that members can enjoy.

“I think JAZA affiliates will now take breeding far more seriously, which wasn’t the case up until now because the need for large pools and the effort required for breeding meant it was less trouble and far cheaper simply to buy dolphins from Taiji,” she says, adding that dolphins are often “loaned” between member facilities to prevent in-breeding. “As JAZA members research and develop husbandry methods, I think even nonmembers will start to look at breeding and, subsequently, Japanese will begin to question the dolphin drives.”

Some activists suspect that there are members of WAZA among Taiji’s international clients, although the global governing body insists that its Taiji ban extends to all its members.

“No JAZA members are allowed to acquire dolphins from Taiji anymore and they are not allowed to be engaged in any sale or export of dolphins,” says WAZA Executive Director Gerald Dick. “However, we share the concern that other organizations outside the influence of JAZA and WAZA are continuing being involved in the drives.”

O’Barry confesses to a degree of despondency at the seeming inability to monitor the Taiji dolphin industry more rigorously.

“I was in China recently and a lot of the dolphins in Beijing Zoo are from Taiji,” O’Barry says. “If people have all the information they might not buy a ticket to go to a dolphin show. That’s what we are trying to do — get to the consumers whether it be buying meat or tickets for a show. Our business is with the consumers, not with the fishermen, who simply lump (all activists) together as terrorists, which we are not.”

This view is shared by Joyakgol, a member of the South Korean nongovernment organization Hot Pink Dolphins. Joyakgol and two others from the organization, which was largely behind the release from captivity over the past two years of five illegally caught dolphins in South Korea, were in Taiji this season.

“As our efforts started to gain attention, aquariums started to import more and more dolphins, and now around 70 percent are imported from Taiji, so we felt a responsibility to do something,” he says, adding that the outcome of the WAZA mandate could eventually mean cut-price dolphins are exported to nations with inadequate facilities, such as China. “I believe it is ethically wrong to make money from dolphins, but in South Korea, like Japan, it is big business.”

O’Barry says governmental influences on the Japanese media have led to a failure to report some of the bigger global issues, including the “dangerously high” levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in dolphin and whale meat — something the town had seemed to acknowledge when it removed the meat from local school lunches.

Kai of the fisheries cooperative admits that tests on local residents have revealed high mercury levels, which official reports say in some cases exceeded 100 parts per million — a far cry from the government’s safe level of 0.4 ppm and 100 times that set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

However, examinations of residents undertaken at the National Institute for Minamata Disease in Kyushu revealed no classic mercury poisoning symptoms, such as trembling hands, Kai says.

“The conclusion that was reached is that the mercury occurring naturally and that which is emitted industrially is different,” he says.

Papers published by scientists at the National Institute for Minamata Disease state the high presence of the antioxidant selenium in seafood as a more plausible explanation, while O’Barry balks at the image of cetaceans only being subjected to naturally occurring mercury.

“There seems to be a view that the dolphins only stay in one place, but they don’t,” he says.

Experts have also criticized the National Institute for Minamata Disease examinations for not including screening procedures widely deemed indispensable when testing for mercury poisoning.

O’Barry is critical of the view, expressed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among others, that the dolphin drives are an important part of Japanese tradition and culture, a perspective he says is “historically incorrect.”

Yet, while dolphin hunts actually only began in 1969, there is growing support for a re-examination of the roots of the drives, which some believe resulted from International Whaling Commission demands to stop Japanese whalers taking larger cetaceans from the oceans.

“Different regions have different food cultures and in Taiji they ate whale meat and have done for hundreds of years,” says Keiko Yagi, 48, director of a documentary film titled “Behind the Cove,” which debuted at the Montreal International Film Festival on Sept. 4. “However, when the International Whaling Commission ruling came, they were limited to taking small cetaceans, which they did according to the law. … ‘The Cove’ hid such background facts, which is why I called my film ‘Behind the Cove.'”

Yagi also believes the International Whaling Commission moratorium was the outcome of a carefully orchestrated PR campaign by the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon.

“In the 1970s, the U.S. was widely criticized for Vietnam and to deflect attention from what Swedish Prime Minister (Olof) Palme had already called ‘ecocide,’ the U.S. suddenly brought up whaling at the U.N. in 1972,” Yagi says, in reference to the U.N.’s first summit on the environment, which took place in Stockholm that year but did not originally include whaling as a major item on its agenda, despite the blue whale having been hunted to the point of extinction. “This served as a catalyst for many anti-whaling groups and anti-whaling activities, which were put into the spotlight, and which top-secret U.S. government documents have shown were financially supported by Nixon.

“Those cetaceans that are not on the International Whaling Commission endangered list and under 4 meters long were given the green light,” Yagi says. “Despite all this, we have films like ‘The Cove.'”

Wakayama University assistant professor Simon Wearne, 58, is another who believes that history holds an important key.

“In the beginning, Taiji was the great innovator of the sustainable whaling industry,” says Wearne, who was formerly one of the team of cinematographers nominated for an Emmy for “Whale Wars,” a TV series that followed the activities of anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd. “Where we all went wrong was industrial fishing, and Japan wasn’t the first country to do that. It’s up to Japan to argue that, but they are not doing that very well.”

Wearne believes Taiji will always be able to find a market for its dolphins, especially its meat trade, which he calls “Taiji’s business,” and that a far more effective way to limit live trade is via the institutions that house live cetaceans.

“I don’t agree with captive dolphins and … think live dolphin watching is the best thing,” says Wearne. who is writing a doctorate paper on Taiji’s whaling and is campaigning to get Taiji recognized by UNESCO. “But I do think that Taiji has been forced over the years to become dependent on this income … and that they should be offered an alternative if we want them to consider stopping doing what they’re doing.”

As it stands, Taiji residents feel constantly under siege, according to one female staffer at a whale and dolphin meat processing company, who spoke on condition of anonymity. A fax sent to one company from an unnamed source said “after you die, you and your children are going to hell,” she says.

“What I find upsetting is the never-ending focus on anything that makes us look like barbarians,” she says, adding that activists will wait outside the processing plant to take photos of bloody raw meat because “when they put it on Facebook it will attract sympathy — and money.”

“Not one photo will show anything that will convey cultural commonalities, so shots of the town’s whale statue will exclude the nearby convenience store,” she says. “Instead, the impression given is of a completely different culture and race of people.”

Activists frequently point out discrepancies in residents’ arguments. That a significant sized hill and half a kilometer of winding road separates the statues and convenience store, might be one of them, as would the 1878 whaling story, which stands at odds with a locally imposed veto that forbade catches of right whale mothers and their calves.

Sugisaka says the sympathy pill would be easier to swallow if residents made some efforts to open up what has often been referred to as Japan’s “dirty little secret.”

“They say the killing method they use has improved to shorten the dolphins’ suffering but from the footage I have seen that doesn’t seem to be the case,” she says, adding that research has shown the method does not fulfill the internationally recognized requirement for immediacy. “It’s difficult to know for sure because the tarpaulin hides what is going on, but if they are so sure their methods aren’t barbaric, as WAZA believes, then why not allow someone in to record it?”

  • brwstacsj

    Right now in Taji the fishermen and trainers are desroying a pod of 70 to 80 bottlenosed Dolphins. Forty-one dolphins have been taken from their pod and are confined to small pens, including a mother dolphin brutally separated from her young calf. The overwhelming cruelty of what they do–almost every day from Sept. To March–is heart wrenching to witness.
    If the fishermen were not wiping out entire pods of Dolphins–either by selling them for profit or killing them–I would understand hunting a few Dolphins for food. I think the author of the article is correct in pointing out the immense harm that the industrialization of Fish hunting is causing. There is no other predator on earth, other than humanity, that will wipe out entire populations of animals, like the fishermen and trainers do with each pod they herd into that cove. We live in a world that is fast unwraveling and at the heart of our dark actions that hasten its destruction is humanity’s disregard for non-human life and the environment. What these fishermen and trainers do is a symptom of how sick humanity’s values are most of the time. If we are even to have hope of saving something, it is imperative that our values change and we learn to respect non-human life and the environment.

    • Nicole

      This sentiment should embrace all of non-human life, bacteria, fungi, insects and plants included.

      • JimLight

        Comparing fungi to dolphin is ludicrous.

      • Nicole

        Why is it ludicrous? Do dolphins deserve to live more than fungi? They are both important to the ecosystem.

      • JimLight

        Next time they have a drive kill of fungi and then sell half of them to a fungiarium, let me know. What a joke.

      • Nicole

        You didn’t answer the fundamental question. Is the life of a dolphin more important than the life of a fungi? Oh, and the fungi have it just as bad. They end up in the frying pan, too.

      • JimLight

        All life is important. It’s called an ecosystem. But I haven’t seen a drive kill of fungi that takes out whole pods of genetic material from the pool of the species. Again, comparing farming of fungi to drive kills of dolphins is ludicrous. Never saw a fungi thrashing about in pain as it is cut. Never saw one run from its killer either….

      • Nicole

        This is because human concepts of pain are imposed on animals when they shouldn’t be. Pain is an emotional and physical response that only humans can knowingly experience, and when mammals are experiencing

      • JimLight

        Ludicrous. Have you ever worked with animals? Of course they feel pain. They fear. They panic. They show aggression. They show protection. Ever seen a dolphin surf? Why do you suppose they do that?

      • Nicole

        Again, you are looking at this through the lens of human experience. Fear, panic, and pain are human evaluations of our own behaviors and are attached to the particular workings of our minds and emotions. In my opinion, it’s simplistic and narcissistic to believe that animals that exhibit and approximate the same kind of behavior are somehow more valuable or more worthy of attention or pity. Is using the word ludicrous the only way you can condescendingly dismiss my point of view because you aren’t interested in civil dialogue?

      • Nicole

        Again, you are looking at this through the lens of human experience. Fear, panic, and pain are human evaluations of our own behaviors and are attached to the particular workings of our minds and emotions. In my opinion, it’s simplistic and narcissistic to believe that animals that exhibit and approximate the same kind of behavior are somehow more valuable or more worthy of attention or pity. Is using the word ludicrous the only way you can condescendingly dismiss my point of view because you aren’t interested in civil dialogue?

      • JimLight

        And that point of view is plain human arrogance. To think another mammal cannot feel fear, panic and fun just because we cannot communicate with them is arrogant and narcissistic.

        Narcissism is “self love”. Thinking we are the only beings who experience fear and pain is narcissistic. Thinking others may feel those things is empathetic and logical. As we are closer in genetic make up to dolphins than fungi, it is logical to assume more similarities especially in light of easily documented physiological responses. Perhaps dolphins do not have the degree of complexity of fear, pain, etc, (but that is debatable) to deny there is similarity is intellectually dishonest.

        I use the word “ludicrous” because slamming people for being empathetic toward dolphins and not fungi is indeed ludicrous. The statement ignores the wide, wide, wide gap between fungi and dolphins. To deny that gap is intellectually dishonest. Ludicrous: “so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing; ridiculous”. The definition fits. I used it.

      • Nicole

        It’s equally arrogant then to impose your human values on these animals. There is value in all life, but to insist that dolphins are more deserving of empathy because they feel the pain, fear, and panic that we feel and fungi do not is indeed narcissistic. Of course dolphins and fungi are fundamentally different in the same way that we are fundamentally different from dolphins, but to feel a closer to kinship to dolphins because they somehow feel the same way we do is indeed self-love.

        Again, the disturbing thing here is the assignation of value of life based on how much closer something is to us, or how much more advanced it is than another lifeform. That’s immoral.

      • JimLight

        I don’t impose my values on these animals. I am not the one killing them or condemning them to a life of captivity. I am imposing my assessment of the cruelty on those conducting the cruelty. Perhaps that is narcissistic, but I think it is more empathetic. I would react the same if I saw human slavery or cruelty. There is such a thing as social mores. That is what makes a society and a culture.

        Protecting another species from cruelty is not immoral at all. I would contend ignoring it would be immoral. How do you define cruelty to a fungi?

      • Nicole

        In the first place, we don’t see things from the same perspective. I’ll be clear: I am only concerned about cruelty towards human beings, and I have nothing against the killing of animals. The method of killing an animal does not matter to me. Killing is killing. The same applies to mosquitoes, ants, fungi and other non-human lifeforms, and I refuse to label any sort of killing as somehow more “cruel” than another because I don’t want to fall into moral relativism. In my view, the deliberate and intended taking of life has no spectrum of relative values. It is the same in any form. Finally, I am more interested in preserving ecological balance and the plight of vulnerable and endangered species.

      • JimLight

        So you see no difference between the instant death of an animal to torturing one to death? Again, intellectual dishonesty. You are also showing narcissism. If you care so much about preserving ecological balance, why are you wasting your time here and not commenting on some action that is causing ecological imbalance. Could it be you are trying to impose your values on us.

      • Nicole

        Ad hominem attacks are not going to strengthen your argument, unfortunately. Stick to the discussion, please, and try to avoid illogical statements. Who says I am not addressing the issues I’m passionate about while I’m commenting here? Surely you don’t mean to take away my right to free speech?

        Please read my statement carefully. It seems you are rendered myopic by seeing your own values as the only correct ones and anything else is ludicrous, narcissistic, or intellectually dishonest. To reiterate: I find no cruelty in killing animals. Killing is killing. It is neither moral nor immoral.

      • JimLight

        No ad hominem attack. I was stating an observation and you have confirmed it. I did not call you a name. You see no difference between torturing an animal to death and killing it instantaneously. The vast majority of people today do not view the two the same. Most of us opposed to drive kills are opposed to the cruelty. We differentiate. You do not. To ignore the fact that most people differentiate and that you might be the outlier is intellectually dishonest.

      • Nicole

        Ad hominem isn’t limited to name-calling… but that is beside the point.

        Where have I claimed that I am not the outlier? Don’t put words in my mouth. I simply said the popular line of thinking is hypocritical. It seems you are the one here being intellectually dishonest by accusing me of something I did not do.

        Something important needs to be said: I really don’t care what most people think. I can think for myself.

      • JimLight

        Only hypocritical if you use your definitions and your lack of empathy. If one believes the way of killing dolphins in Taiji is cruel there is no hypocrisy. Again you are narcissistic and trying to impose your limited definitions on others.

        If you don’t care what others think, why are you posting here? Apparently you DO care what others think. Otherwise why waste your time?

      • Nicole

        Ad hominem in the last part. Let’s stick to the discussion and avoid fantasizing about motives. I’m not questioning why you are still replying to me, am I?

        It seems like you can’t engage in discussion without being overwhelmed by emotion and passion for dolphins. I’ll say this in the clearest way possible: I have empathy only for human beings. I respect the value of life in all lifeforms, nonhuman ones included, but my empathy is reserved for human life alone. I have no problem with people exhibiting empathy for nonhuman life, though I find this narcissistic, but I have to say it is hypocritical if this empathy is only assigned to particular species or greater in particular species. Why is that so? It goes against my belief that the value of life in nonhuman beings is all equal.

      • JimLight

        Funny how you call my posts “ad hominem attacks” when I use the words that you tied to folks like me on the anti-drive kill side.

        It is you who stated you don’t care how they kill anything but humans, you just care about whether a species is endangered. Clearly no empathy there. You have proven my point so is the truth an ad hominem attack?

        You called people hypocrites who believe the way they kill dolphins in drive kills is cruel because they don’t find killing fungi cruel. Yet you’ve not defined how anyone is supposed to define a cruel fungi kill rather than a humane fungi kill. And yes, I call it ludicrous because the comparison is ridiculous.

        You define empathy for other species as narcissistic yet narcissistic is self love and empathy toward another species is not self love. Selective empathy is narcissistic – you are saying anyone who does not hold your beliefs is a hypocrite.

        Your arguments are full of intellectual fallacies and flaws. Yet you accuse others of the same. Whom is the hypocrite?

        But beyond that, it is a sad existence for someone who does not differentiate between cruelty and torture and humane treatment. You put setting a dog on fire letting it slowly die of its injuries in the same boat as euthanizing a terminally injured dog. If you cannot see any difference, you are missing a part of humanity that most of us possess.

        Society has changed through the millennium. Empathy for the treatment of animals has been building for hundreds of years. I believe it is because we are more enlightened and the circumstances of our existence has changed. You lack empathy. And I feel for you. I rescued a suffering pelican from a fishing line tangled in its wing. Would you just let it suffer if you had the power to help? If so, how sad. Helping others, human or not, is not narcissistic. Ignoring something simply because it is not like you is. People who do have that empathy, are hardly hypocrites simply because they act on that empathy.

        But beyond that, killing all members of a genetic pool is hardly scientifically sound. Most societies have banned that for ages in most mammals. So even if you come at it from a purely scientific perspective, the drive kills are bad.

      • “Animals do not experience suffering”? You’re not expressing an opinion, you’re expounding a total lack of compassion, a mental illness IMHO.

      • Nicole

        It’s equally arrogant then to impose your human values on these animals. There is value in all life, but to insist that dolphins are more deserving of empathy because they feel the pain, fear, and panic that we feel and fungi do not is indeed narcissistic. Of course dolphins and fungi are fundamentally different in the same way that we are fundamentally different from dolphins, but to feel a closer to kinship to dolphins because they somehow feel the same way we do is indeed self-love.

        Again, the disturbing thing here is the assignation of value of life based on how much closer something is to us, or how much more advanced it is than another lifeform. That’s immoral.

      • Kevin

        The same could be said between two different human beings. How do you know that another human being feels the same way you do? You make that judgment based on their behavior, NOT on ‘knowing’ they fell emotions or pain like yourself.

      • Rosa Lea

        clearly you are not the brightest crayon in the box so I will explain it to you simply. Running over a puppy with a lawn mower and mowing your lawn are NOT the same thing. Can you spot the difference? smh.

      • Kevin

        And you know this because … you were once an animal? Dolphins are social animals with a requirement to feel empathy and yes emotion to survive – without it they would not survive.
        And anyway, with your argument I could say, what value does your life or another human being have over a fungi, right? If you agree a human’s life is more important than that of a fungi, then you are making value statements similar to the one people make about dolphins.

      • JimLight

        Next time they have a drive kill of fungi and then sell half of them to a fungiarium, let me know. What a joke.

      • tisho

        You are right. All life is equal, the life of a dolphin is just as equal as the life of a fungi. Humans should not interfere with the life of other animals or organisms and kill them. I guess the reason why people are angry about the dolphin killings is that, number one – some of the dolphins are endangered species, number two – all countries are allowed to kill dolphins on a limited scale, but Japan exceeds their allowed quotas and then lies that they are conducting research in order to continue killing them. Number three – the way they trap and slaughter the dolphins is unacceptable to many people. Number four – often the Japanese fishers go to other countries territorial waters to hunt them, an act illegal by the UN. Some of the other reasons include people loving dolphins more than they love fungies, and i think the reason people limit their anger to Japan is because Japan kills by the far the most dolphins and wheals, and also the other reasons i mentioned above.

      • Nicole

        I do have some questions: Which endangered dolphin species are part of the drive hunt? What is the quota for dolphins and is there clear evidence that they have gone beyond it? And do the people of Taiji go beyond their territorial waters to hunt?

      • tisho

        You’re going to have to do some research for yourself if you want to find the truth. I am not a marine expert, nor interested in this subject that much, but from what i have read and heard from various organizations and news, a particular species from the minke whales are endangered, and Japan has been slaughtering them quite a bit. According to one of the marine organizations i read once, the dolphins Japan is killing are not yet endangered but the particular species they are killing is at risk from becoming endangered, you’re gonna have to check on the details on that one too. I don’t know what the quota set by the UN is, it’s probably written on their website somewhere, but yes, they are exceeding the quota. Last year, one organization for animal protection sued Japan for their violation of the international law, and the International court of Justice in Haga did an independent investigation and they determined that Japan does not conduct any valid research and therefore the exceeding of the quotas is a violation of the law, the court ordered Japan to stop hunting whales an dolphins, but since they can’t enforce the ban, Japan simply chose to ignore it. Didn’t you read about this case? As for your last question, yes, there has been several documented instances of Japanese fishing boats entering Austrian and New Zealand territorial waters just for hunting purposes. You’re going to have to do your own research instead of relying on other people’s answers and information. All the information you want can be found on the internet.

      • Nicole

        Well, you put forward the claims, so I expected you to provide the necessary support and documentation. I believe you have the burden of proof. I only asked the questions. I don’t believe I’m going to do much research because there are other species I’m more concerned about (and again these aren’t my claims), so this political wrangling is outside my sphere of interest. But let’s try to separate the whales and the dolphins here.

      • kension86

        > “Well, you put forward the claims, so I expected you to provide the necessary support and documentation”

        Well, you also claim that animals don’t feel pain, and the only “proof” you have is simply that it’s your belief/opinion without scientific citation. So by the same standard, others can believe in the opposite without providing any more “proof” than you did.

      • Nicole

        Burden of proof waiting to be approved by the Japan Times. Goodnight.

      • Nicole

        Burden of proof waiting to be approved by the Japan Times. Goodnight.

      • tisho

        Well, these are not my claims, i am just telling you what i know for a fact. I am not burdened for proving anything, because i am not obligated nor interested in doing so. You asked a question, i answered you, if you demand evidence, you have to do your own research for yourself. Everything i said can be easily find with one google search. Anyway, the fact of the matter is is that the only reason the whaling and dolphin hunting industry is still alive is because the Japanese government keep subsiding them. There is no market demand for dolphin or whales meat. They operate on a loss. If the J. gov. stops giving them money, they would never be able to do hunting on the scale they are doing now, and therefore they would never be able to exceed the allowed quotes, or even travel these distances to hunt. They would be limited to a small coastal fishing, which would be enough to supply the small demand that exist. They literally have to keep the meat they catch frozen and eventually probably throw it away. You can find enough documentation of that too. The J. gov. keeps giving them money because of pride, that is no secret to anyone. I have been told by many Japanese people that they believe the same too. For many people in Japan the idea of bending to the demands of a foreigner is unacceptable. By the way, there are quite a lot of documentaries on the internet and interviews with inside people of the industry, you can watch them if you want more info. The person that wants the information is the one that should be looking for it.

      • Nicole

        That’s not how the burden of proof works. Anyway, as I said, I’m not interested in the political wrangling. They can go hunt the whales and dolphins, but I am against having any endangered species caught in the crosshairs. Otherwise, they can enjoy their non-endangered whales and dolphins.

      • tisho

        Well then you should be against the killings of whales and soon to become endangered dolphins. I am against the killing of any animal. We are advanced enough to produce our own healthy food that does not contain meat. However sadly most people are not intelligent enough for that, so the killings shall continue.

      • Nicole

        Why should I be? I’m not against the killing of non-endangered animals. I enjoy my meat and let people enjoy their vegetables. Neither is morally superior to the other.

      • Nicole

        Why should I be? I’m not against the killing of non-endangered animals. I enjoy my meat and let people enjoy their vegetables. Neither is morally superior to the other.

      • Nicole

        Why is it ludicrous? Do dolphins deserve to live more than fungi? They are both important to the ecosystem.

      • And there is equal outrage about the Faroe Island Grindatrap.

      • Nicole

        I don’t see it getting the same press as Taiji.

      • JimLight

        You are limited in what you look at then. It is covered on the same par as Taiji.

      • Nicole

        How many articles on The New York Times are about the Faroe Islands and how many are about Taiji?

      • JimLight

        Don’t know. I don’t just read the NYTimes. That is not my only source of news. The Grindarap is a different beast and it is harder to cover because it moves and is unpredictable. It has been covered. I saw pictures of it as a kid in Look magazine and there was outrage back then.

      • Nicole

        Compare the reach of the NYT with Look magazine.

      • JimLight

        At the time Look was far more available and well read than the NYT. It was a national magazine. I had to go to a library to see the NYT. Not sure why that matters. The internet provides us far many more options and opportunities today. Why limit yourself to one paper?

      • Nicole

        I am talking about global accessibility and the exposure of certain issues attached to saving particular species. Compare the readership numbers of the two.

      • JimLight

        At the time (the 60’s) Look reached more people than the NYT. But even today, I do not look at the NYT as my main source of news related to cetaceans.

      • Nicole

        We aren’t talking about your particular experience but the fact that media is responsible for dictating the agenda and what issues we should be talking about. The Faroe Islands should get as much press as Taiji, but because of ulterior and suspect motives Taiji gets all the attention.

      • JimLight

        But we were. I brought Look magazine into the context. You compared modern circulation to an event that happened decades ago.

        I have no ulterior or suspect motives. I am as appalled by the Taiji drive kills as I am by those in the Faroe Islands. And I believe most others opposed to Taiji drive kills feel the same way. Not sure why you think we would not oppose both.

      • Nicole

        You are not getting the point. Why is Taiji singled out and the Faroe Islands unmentioned in mainstream dialogue? It’s a question I pose and it’s as simple as that.

      • JimLight

        Newsweek, National Geo, International Business Times, Nature World News, NYT, Digital Times, The Ecologist… and many more have covered it. As I stated before the Grind is not an organized daily event, it is harder to cover. But I do not speak for the press. I will speak for most of us opposed to the Taiji drive kills. It is not the location or the country, it is the cruelty. And I am confident most of us oppose both.

      • Nicole

        Then that’s fine then. I just find it distasteful that this small community is singled out when the practice exists elsewhere.

      • JimLight

        No we’ve not singled it out. I believe most of us comment on the cruelty of Grindarap too. If this article would be about Grindarap, I would be commenting on it. But the article is about Taiji. I would expect the comments to be about the Taiji drive kills.

      • Nicole

        I’m talking about the media and armchair activists who are not as knowledgeable. It’s not all about you.

      • JimLight

        I cannot speak for the media. And I do believe most of us opposed to Taiji would make similar comments on the Grindarap. I think you would find very few of those opposed to Taiji switching sides and supporting Grindarap.

      • Nicole

        Are there similarly scaled protests as well, along with a well-known documentary?

      • JimLight

        A documentary is in work. And SeaShepherd has been protesting Grindarap for years, but its logistically more difficult because the Grindarap moves. There are protests in Europe and it gets much more press coverage there. Several cruise lines have stopped their visits to the Faroes. Several former “sister” cities have backed out of the relationship.

      • Nicole

        Things would be fairer then if this documentary were as influential as The Cove and if the Anglophone media were as balanced in their coverage. It’s something I have yet to see.

      • JimLight

        I control neither the media nor the documentary production.

      • Nicole

        When did I say that? Again, the discussion here is not about you. It’s never been about you.

      • JimLight

        Grindarap is covered. It appears that you don’t read the sources that do cover it. It is different than Taiji and I’ve already explained why. The Taiji fisherman do it as a job. The Faroese do not. The Taiji fisherman always do the drive kills in Taiji. The Faroese do it numerous places with no predictability. None the less, the killing is cruel in both instances and I condemn both.

      • Nicole

        You don’t understand what I’m saying with regard to the level of media exposure and so it’s useless to debate this further. The comparison between Taiji and the Faroe Islands is used to make a point about exposure in the media. It can be extended to the Solomon Islands that do profit from the drive. Wash, rinse, repeat. Shall we all gather the major newspapers the world over and count the number of articles that mention Taiji versus those that mention other dolphin drives? Thanks, goodnight.

      • JimLight

        And yet both of us are award of drive kill fisheries in all three….

      • Kevin

        Are you suggesting some conspiracy by the world against Japan? A bit paranoid, don’t you think?

      • Nicole

        You don’t understand what I’m saying with regard to the level of media exposure and so it’s useless to debate this further. The comparison between Taiji and the Faroe Islands is used to make a point about exposure in the media. It can be extended to the Solomon Islands that do profit from the drive. Wash, rinse, repeat. Shall we all gather the major newspapers the world over and count the number of articles that mention Taiji versus those that mention other dolphin drives? Thanks, goodnight.

      • JimLight

        No we’ve not singled it out. I believe most of us comment on the cruelty of Grindarap too. If this article would be about Grindarap, I would be commenting on it. But the article is about Taiji. I would expect the comments to be about the Taiji drive kills.

      • JimLight

        No we’ve not singled it out. I believe most of us comment on the cruelty of Grindarap too. If this article would be about Grindarap, I would be commenting on it. But the article is about Taiji. I would expect the comments to be about the Taiji drive kills.

      • JimLight

        But we were. I brought Look magazine into the context. You compared modern circulation to an event that happened decades ago.

        I have no ulterior or suspect motives. I am as appalled by the Taiji drive kills as I am by those in the Faroe Islands. And I believe most others opposed to Taiji drive kills feel the same way. Not sure why you think we would not oppose both.

      • Nicole

        We aren’t talking about your particular experience but the fact that media is responsible for dictating the agenda and what issues we should be talking about. The Faroe Islands should get as much press as Taiji, but because of ulterior and suspect motives Taiji gets all the attention.

      • JimLight

        Don’t know. I don’t just read the NYTimes. That is not my only source of news. The Grindarap is a different beast and it is harder to cover because it moves and is unpredictable. It has been covered. I saw pictures of it as a kid in Look magazine and there was outrage back then.

      • Nicole

        How many articles on The New York Times are about the Faroe Islands and how many are about Taiji?

      • brwstacsj

        Nicole, I skimmed over a lot of your comments and they are painful to read. Animals do feel pain and other emotions, pretending or refusing to acknowledge this is pointless. Furthermore, if you truly valued human life, then your would value non-human lives and the protection of the environment as they are a vital part of the ecosystem we humans are a part of. If we destroy them through greed, then we destroy ourselves. Period. Humanity–all humanity, not just the Japanese–have inherited a cultural view that humans are superior to all other life on this planet. Based on that belief, we have founded society and economic systems that rape the world in an unending quest for profit. With climate change intensifying, as well as the rapid extinction of fellow species and the destruction of the environment, we must develop a new world view urgently, one in which humanity is not the center of life on this planet–just as the earth was never the center of the universe. If we don’t do this, than all is mute and we will devastate this beautiful planet.
        *P.S. There exists studies done with dolphins that prove they are aware of their unique identities as individuals, and that they have names for themselves (unique whistles that pertain only to one individual). I think, if we have enough time and maturity, our species will discover that we not the only intelligent life on this planet.

  • Thank you for covering the slaughter of these animals. Stealing highly intelligent and sentient dolphins from the wild to sell to dolphinariums is not tradition – it is greed, and all about money. Watching the rounding up and slaughter of the other dolphins is sickening, barbaric and heartbreaking. This is not tradition – it is murder, animal cruelty, greed, and all about money, make no mistake about that. Human slavery was considered ‘tradition’ at one time – it doesn’t make it morally or ethically right. What we do to these animals, we are doing to ourselves, they are here for their own purpose. They all have a part in the ecosystem that we are systematically destroying for greed.

    • Nicole

      Assigning sentience to dolphins is a fallacy. It’s simply an appeal to emotion. Sentience, by its very nature, is a human construct superficially imposed on non-human life to exploit it for moral self-righteousness. Anyone who would be aghast at the death of a dolphin should be equally aghast at a mosquito getting swatted away. Otherwise, it’s intellectual and moral dishonesty.

      • Thousands of studies would prove otherwise. Dolphins are far more intelligent in their world than we are in ours! That’s evident by everything we’re doing to the planet and other animals.

      • Nicole

        So the value of life is based on the level of intelligence that a lifeform possesses? A dolphin is more important than an ant because it is more “sentient”? In this case, would you apply the same kind of thinking to human life? Not all are intellectually equal.

      • IMO, no. All animals have an equal life value. It’s only human’s greed and arrogance that believe otherwise, using them for food, fur, leather, or exploitation. They all have a part in the ecosystem, and it’s not our right to take that away from them.

      • Nicole

        Then if it’s fine to kill an ant, it should be fine to kill a dolphin.

      • You’re the one talking about killing things, not me. I never said it was OK for the ant, either.

      • Buck

        The value of all life is not equal. The value of human life is more valuable than others. The values of the lives of endangered species are more important than others, for example.
        You yourself have pointed this out multiple times. Furthermore, in a survival situation such as a famine, the value of edible plants and animals are more important than those we cannot eat. Humans assign value to various living things, certain species of life are more important than others. It is fine to kill an ant and not fine to kill a dolphin, with multiple exceptions. You cannot
        simplify the complexity of this topic to black and white.

      • Buck

        The value of all life is not equal. The value of human life is more valuable than others. The values of the lives of endangered species are more important than others, for example.
        You yourself have pointed this out multiple times. Furthermore, in a survival situation such as a famine, the value of edible plants and animals are more important than those we cannot eat. Humans assign value to various living things, certain species of life are more important than others. It is fine to kill an ant and not fine to kill a dolphin, with multiple exceptions. You cannot
        simplify the complexity of this topic to black and white.

      • JimLight

        Certainly the dolphinariums appeal to emotion as well to entice customers while exploiting the dolphins. Again comparing a dolphin to mosquito is ludicrous.

      • Nicole

        Why is it ludicrous? They are both life forms that possess brains, need nutrition, bear offspring, expire, and participate in the ecosystem. The problem is the perception humans have assigned to particular animals.

      • JimLight

        Again, comparing a mosquito brain to that of a dolphin is again ludicrous. The mosquito brain is functionally and physically different from that of humans and dolphins. It is much simpler and is missing areas of more intelligent creatures. Insects can live for days without their heads because many body functions have a different control mechanism. Mammal brains have much more in common with human brains and function very similarly.

      • Nicole

        As I said in the comments here: So the value of life is based on the level of intelligence that a lifeform possesses? A dolphin is more important than an ant because it is more intellectually advanced? In this case, would you apply the same kind of thinking to human life? Not all are intellectually equal.

      • JimLight

        You are comparing apples and oranges. If you cannot see the difference as to why people empathize more with mammals than bugs, fungi and bacteria, there is nothing to debate. Go to the fungi drive kill article and bash away or support it.

      • Nicole

        I am simply pointing out the hypocrisy in this line of thinking, so there’s no need to be snippy and get upset. The value of all life should be equal, so I don’t see any fundamental difference between a mosquito and a dolphin. Let me be clear: I neither support nor condemn dolphin drives, but what I am against is this intellectual dishonesty that many activists have. Just be honest and say that the dolphins should be saved because they are cute. Personally, I’m more concerned about vulnerable and endangered species.

      • JimLight

        Not upset or snippy. Just laughing at the ludicrousness of the argument. Dolphins should not be killed cruelly. They should not be held captive under cruel conditions. No intellectual dishonesty. And not at odds with protecting endangered species.

        But to sit there and compare why people get upset to see a dolphin herded into a cove to the harvesting of a cultivated fungus is intellectually dishonest. Panicked pods driven in front of a wall of sound and boats. Individuals dragged into the shallows by their tail fin while panicking and fighting all the way. And then stabbed in the back and left to flounder in its death throes along with other pod members side by side. This way different than than plucking a mushroom from the ground. To deny the difference is intellectual dishonesty. You also seem to ignore the human capacity for empathy. And ignoring that is also intellectually dishonest.

      • Nicole

        I’ve already replied to this above. The simple reason why there is more empathy directed towards dolphins compared to, say, ants or mosquitoes is the result of human narcissism. We see something of ourselves in dolphins and therefore we “feel” more for them. It’s an extremely limited concept of empathy (empathy only for those we resemble) and dangerously near relativism. How am I being intellectually dishonest if I am addressing this?

        Stepping on an ant is just as cruel as killing a dolphin. The difference is the dolphin is perceived as cute and has movies, television shows, and cartoons to help its public image.

      • JimLight

        Not so. It is narcissistic to think we are the only mammals who exerience fear and pain. It is empathetic to feel for a creature we see to be suffering. Tough to tell if a fungus is suffering. An ant’s brain is different than a dolphin’s. It is much simpler. Nonetheless, I do not pull the legs off of ants. That seems cruel. But stepping on an ant is just not the same as driving whole pods of panicked dolphins into shallow water, dragging them by the fluke into shallower water, and then stabbing them in the back multiple times and leaving it to die while thrashing around for minutes. If you can’t see the difference you are being intellectually dishonest.

      • Nicole

        I’ve explained my point of view in your other comment so I don’t need to repeat. I simply think you’re engaging in moral relativism. I don’t think I’m being intellectually dishonest at all when I call this line of thinking out.

      • JimLight

        Tell me what act to a fungus crosses the line of cruelty? If you can’t see the difference between the cruelty of drive kills and stepping on an ant, you are being intellectually dishonest.

      • Nicole

        Explained above in the most intellectually honest way.

      • JimLight

        No you’ve not described when the killing of fungus becomes cruel. Just because you do not see any difference between torturing an animal to death and killing it instantly does not mean most of us do not.

      • Buck

        The value of all life is not equal. The value of human life is more valuable than others. We should probably define “value” and valuable
        to whom for example. The thing that is valued should be important, useful or poses some worth. To whom are said things valuable, that would be human populations in general and each human individual in general. How to determine such value is based on historical, cultural, religious and other factors. The values of the lives of endangered species are more important than others, for example. You
        yourself have pointed this out multiple times. Furthermore, in a survival situation such as a famine, the value of edible plants and animals are more important than others. Endemic species are more important then invasive
        species. My pet is more valuable than your pet. As a society we need use scientific
        research, debate, and decide for ourselves what we should base the value of
        life on. Not flat out ignore reality and claim all life is equal.

      • JimLight

        You are comparing apples and oranges. If you cannot see the difference as to why people empathize more with mammals than bugs, fungi and bacteria, there is nothing to debate. Go to the fungi drive kill article and bash away or support it.

      • Nicole

        As I said in the comments here: So the value of life is based on the level of intelligence that a lifeform possesses? A dolphin is more important than an ant because it is more intellectually advanced? In this case, would you apply the same kind of thinking to human life? Not all are intellectually equal.

      • JimLight

        Again, comparing a mosquito brain to that of a dolphin is again ludicrous. The mosquito brain is functionally and physically different from that of humans and dolphins. It is much simpler and is missing areas of more intelligent creatures. Insects can live for days without their heads because many body functions have a different control mechanism. Mammal brains have much more in common with human brains and function very similarly.

      • Maria Schilling

        Mosquitos don’t have complex brains like humans AND dolphins, get over it.

  • etchasketch

    Dolphins are delicious.

  • JimLight

    You seem to think that there are no people fighting for the plights of endangered species and other animals. Everyone picks their causes and most support more than one cause. I can tell you why cetaceans are one of mine. I grew up landlocked, but was fascinated by marine life from venues like Cousteau Documentaries and National Geo. When I finally got the chance to see dolphins and killer whales at SeaWorld I was appalled at how many dolphins and orcas were crammed into such tiny, barren, concrete tanks devoid of any semblance of their natural habitat. After experiencing dolphins and whales in the wild only reinforced my disgust with SeaWorld. And then seeing the cruelty of the drive kills influenced me to oppose them. Where else do we indiscriminately drive all members of a mammal herd into a confined area and kill them all in front of one another by stabbing them and letting them thrash about regardless of age, sex, pregnancy, etc.? There are good reasons to oppose drive kills. if they are as humane as the Taijian fisherman claim, why the tarps, fences and restrictions?

    • Nicole

      They certainly don’t get the same press or enjoy the same popularity as dolphins.

      • JimLight

        Depends where you are looking.

      • Absolutely, Jim.

      • Absolutely, Jim.

      • Nicole

        So you can with all honesty say that the plight of Blanc’s Fringe-toed Lizard gets as much press and is discussed by as many people as the dolphins?

      • JimLight

        No, do they drive kill the Blanc’s Fringe-toed Lizard? You are grasping at straws. Cruelty to mammals is all over the press – bull fighting; performing elephants; poaching rhinos, gorillas, elephants; and drive kills of cetaceans. This article happens to be about drive kills at Taiji. One would expect the comments to be about that.

      • JimLight

        Depends where you are looking.

    • Nicole

      They certainly don’t get the same press or enjoy the same popularity as dolphins.

  • “NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A SMALL GROUP OF COMMITTED PEOPLE TO CHANGE THE WORLD. IN FACT, IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT EVER HAS.” –MARGARET MEAD

  • “NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A SMALL GROUP OF COMMITTED PEOPLE TO CHANGE THE WORLD. IN FACT, IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT EVER HAS.” –MARGARET MEAD

  • Lisa

    I’m not even going to try to be polite or intellectual. I don’t know when Nicole’s heart – assigned at conception – was wrenched out of her body, and I can see that she was never gifted with the ability to entertain the idea that non-human species with highly-developed brains and nervous systems existing in complex family groups, might just be able to suffer and be cognizant of that suffering to the same extent as humans, thus categorically ‘sentient’. Can you not see the paradox Nicole? We love watching dolphin shows because what is really on show is the intelligence and sensitivity of these creatures. Yet whilst we inhumanely slaughter them we conveniently switch off that awareness and see them as nothing more than a piece of meat which we can kill any damn way we please because we were born into the superior race. It kind of reminds me of puppy mill breeders. Their product is a hit because of its inherent ability to reciprocate human love and affection (isn’t that evidence of sentience, or are the ability to display love and affection just reflex actions? ) And those endearing traits which enable a lucrative livelihood for those breeders are conveniently disregarded by those (sub)humans in their nothing-short-of abominable treatment of their ‘money-making-slaves’.( Funny how they usually consider themselves to be good Christians too). I believe we call that ‘inhumane exploitation’ permitted only by laws which haven’t caught up to ethics yet. I find it interesting/disgusting how abandoned pets in Japan are ‘disposed of’ – nice euphemism equating them with garbage. Anyway, returning to the main topic…..as humans we have a choice to be humane or inhumane when we kill another being. Those that choose the latter are just a**holes, tradition/custom or not. I would’ve thought that evolution away from barbarianism was a desirable goal in any culture. Nicole, your comparison of dolphins and mushrooms touches on ‘Buddhism’, but you’re forgetting about the part of Buddhism which teaches respect and empathy. I think these fishermen should slaughter in front of their children if it’s such acceptable behavior. I also think Nicole you should do a little clinical trial. Offer yourself up for ‘dolphin slaughter’, and get back to us on the degree of real (not super-imposed by humans) suffering you experienced, and the degree to which you as a dolphin deserve to be deemed sentient. I also truly hope that anyone who kills another ‘being’ willingly and without consideration rots in hell. Finally, having watched ‘Isis be-headings’, skinning of live raccoon dogs in China, and halal& kosher killings of livestock, I would have to conclude that the responses of all those being murdered were all about as ‘sentient’ as each other.

    • Nicole

      I have no desire to engage in civil discourse with someone who begins her post by stating that I am an immoral, heartless, brainless person devoid of empathy. Ad hominem, hypocritical, and, frankly, you are the immoral one for making that suggestion.

      • Lisa

        How vulgar to talk about creaming all over dolphins. Truly vulgar. I see your class was removed at the same time as your heart. You already told Jim you have no empathy for anything non-human and think it’s just fine to kill any animal any time which puts you in the severely-biased camp I would think, so you really shouldn’t be contributing your thoughts on a topic which involves any degree of empathy towards animals because you’re really just annoying decent people with semantics. I do feel sorry for you in that you’ve obviously never known the love of an animal. As far as assuming to know what your values are, it’s a bit hard not to when you’re spending so much time blabbing on in 1 discussion site. I’m off to bed….better things to do. Can’t say I’ll see you in heaven one day, cause with all the murdered animals up there, there couldn’t possibly be room for you. Ja ne!

      • Nicole

        If you can’t handle the lack of graciousness, then try to be gracious in your first post. You set the tone. I responded in kind. I’m glad we have the authority on decency around here. And, my stars, you really should get in touch with your nearest Church to be canonized! Imagine, you have seen a vision of heaven! They’ll call you St. Lisa soon. Is there room for the Japanese housewives you have no empathy for?

      • Lisa

        Actually I love the new Pope even though I’m not Catholic. Among other admirable observations – he thinks there’s a great deal of room for better treatment of animals in the world. And I don’t particularly believe in heaven or hell, but I sure hope there’s an equivalent of hell where all the ‘soul-less’ people end up. Regarding Japanese house-wives, if they’ve been selfish and entitled, treated their husbands like work-slaves, ATM’s, and sperm donors, expected government/hubby-company benefits to prop them up all their married lives, and forced their kids to just about live in cram school where their teachers can raise their kids for them, then I guess ‘no’ there isn’t room for them either.

      • Nicole

        Lol, and there it is, clear as day.

      • Lisa

        Which part is funny?????????? Actually yes, I have far more empathy for helpless animals. What am I supposed to feel sorry for such women about? How are they suffering exactly? Are they being threatened with murder/neglect/no representative voice? There is definitely a segment of the female population over here that are the laziest women I’ve ever come across (and believe me, I’ve met a lot of them). Why are you taking it personally? Do you fit the description of a Japanese house-wife(foreign version)? I’m guessing you’re from a ‘red’ state somewhere in the US. Conservatism is blinding you know.

      • Nicole

        Lol. When all else fails, accuse someone of being blue or red. Before we get to that point, you first have to establish that I am an American woman. What if I say I’m a paraplegic black lesbian and war veteran who just married her non cis-gendered sweetheart of twenty years in our beautiful state of New York and that I’ve never voted Republican? Does it matter?

        Lol, gay.

      • Lisa

        I don’t mind if you are black, lesbian, war veteran. Speaking of paraplegic, I took care of my paraplegic Dachshund with all my heart for her natural life. I treated her with dignity which she fully deserved as a sentient being – didn’t ship her off to the pound to be gassed as the people in your corner would, or leave her in a nuke or flood zone whilst I saved myself. I can sleep with a clear conscience. Can you?

      • Nicole

        Very much, thank you. I have wonderful dreams of eating dolphins. Good night.

      • Lisa

        You’re 1 sick individual. Karma will do its job.

      • Nicole

        Very much, thank you. I have wonderful dreams of eating dolphins. Good night.

      • Maria Schilling

        Nicole, Nicole, why the hell are you wasting here so much of your precious time, aren’t you interested in saving humans only? And tell me, do unborn babies count for you as humans, too? Or are those babies also like you claim devoid of any fear & pain feelings like all non-human animals? STOP wasting your time here and protest against abortions, haven’t seen you there…

  • Nicole

    Good morning, betas and omegas. Most of you can’t even engage in meaningful and properly structured debate, so I’m checking out now. I suggest going back to college and taking extra credit in philosophy, then we’ll talk. I enjoyed drinking your tears. Have a good day!

    • Lisa

      I got a distinction in Philosophy lol.

    • JimLight

      You can’t even cogently support your arguments and you are insulting others? Look in the mirror before you insult others. You are only making yourself look bad.

  • JimLight

    “A measure of self-awareness and deep suffering exists in elephants and cetaceans, which also have a highly developed anterior insula and ACC with von Economo neurons.” It would seem your own quote differentiates elephants and cetaceans from other animals.

  • Maria Schilling

    Nicole, are you really that sure that I or any other human is as capable to feel pain & fear just like you do? After all, you said you cannot tell if animals do experience those feelings just because they are not humans. Well likewise, this assumption about not feeling fear or pain can be also made about me or anybody that is not YOU. Be careful, not just animals but I and all the people around you are just mindless robots… :)

  • Gail Jilian

    I am a Nurse and have studied human and animal physiology and all living beings that have a central nervous system experience pain and suffering. We are primates, but also mammals. Dolphins are mammals just like us. Of course they experience pain and suffering under the circumstances of the Taiji Hunts. Fungi on the other hand do not experience the emotional response that a living being with a central nervous system would experience. To say that animals do not experience pain or suffering is utter nonsense. Thank you to everyone that has posted their opposition to the Taiji hunts. To be compassionate and caring toward all animals and not just humans is a great thing.