U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy has tweeted her concern at the “inhumaneness” of a Wakayama Prefecture village’s traditional dolphin hunt.
“Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG (U.S. Government) opposes drive hunt fisheries,” she tweeted Friday.
Kennedy, the lone surviving child of assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy, took up the diplomatic post in November.
Every year the fishermen of Taiji corral hundreds of dolphins in a secluded bay, select a few dozen for sale to aquariums and marine parks and then stab the rest to death for meat.
This year, fishermen and divers in the village have caught at least 250 dolphins in a process to select captives before the mass slaughter, environmentalists said Saturday.
Activists from the militant environmental group Sea Shepherd streamed live footage of Taiji’s dolphin slaughter, which drew worldwide attention in 2010 when it became the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove.”
The selection appeared to continue Sunday, and volunteers working with Sea Shepherd believe the slaughter will begin Monday.
The town’s fishermen defend the hunt as a cultural tradition, and “The Cove” was met by protests from right-wing activists when it was screened here in 2010.
Sea Shepherd said in a statement Saturday: “Those taken captive are forced to watch as the remaining members of their family are brutally killed for human consumption.”
The Taiji Fisheries Cooperative Association, which is in charge of the dolphin hunt, was not immediately available for comment.