Kennedy tweets concern over Taiji dolphin hunt


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.

  • Astrumporta

    Correction: they’ve taken 35 dolphins just from this huge pod. They’ve taken dozens more and killed hundreds since this year’s open season started in September. Taking dolphins for captivity is pure greed, and the meat of the murdered is full of mercury and not fit to be eaten. The whole ‘hunt’ is a jobs program, not a cultural ‘tradition’. Everyone with a conscience should boycott Japanese products until this stops.

  • AntoniaGutierrez

    Taking dolphins from the wild for Captivity is not a Japanese tradition.

  • Samdyn

    Very happy to see Kennedy standing up for dolphins and saying that Taiji’s drive hunt is not okay! We hope she can do more for the dolphins and help us end the slaughter.

  • ETJ

    The dolphin drive hunts have only been going on for a few decades. How can this be tradition when it only started when the killers discovered how many they could drive with motorboats? This is not tradition or culture; it is outright animal cruelty and greed driven by the captive industry. Don’t buy a ticket to a marine part; if you do, your hands are as bloody as the Taiji killers and trainers.

    • JTCommentor

      What is the source of this information?

  • Denise Gurz

    Good for Ms. Caroline for speaking out! No country, organization or individual has the right to carry out such horrific atrocities. There have been plenty of long forgotten cultural traditions in Japan. This should have been the first to go.

    • JTCommentor

      Lets just hope the Indian ambassador to the US also speaks out about the inhumane and disrecpectful treatment of cows in that country, which should also be stopped.

  • Sko Gen

    They use the same excuses they used in the 1980s. They will have to
    stop this inhumane practice now. India already banned all abuse of
    dolphins because “they are the non-humans of the sea”.

  • Cat

    Tradition and culture aren’t celebrated under tarps. Selling dolphins and whales is a very lucrative business. Today isn’t an exceptional day in Taiji. These horrors happen every day from Sept to March, every year.

  • Darren

    And native people kill one whale and share among the whole community.. They don’t kill them for profit or sale to sea world..

  • ETJ

    Who said beef and pigs is ok? This is an article about a brutal drive capture and slaughter of dolphins. Many animal advocates also comment on articles about slaughtering other animals.

    • yas

      Which is not brutal slaughter?

      Captive bolt pistol stunning cattle or sheep.
      Slitting throat chickens.
      Boiling beans.
      Pulling out vegetables.

      Human being must to eat, Otherwise die.
      In Japan, Captive other animals and lives for eat minimum necessary is sin but it is justifiable and allowable.

  • Whale

    Either way, this is not a probrem which an ambassador raises. How do you feel if you were told “Don’t kill and eat our God at Mcdonalds.” by Indian ambassador??

  • Taka2

    You probably don’t realize but these “what you guys are doing is inhumane” argument coming from Americans (and Australians, Europeans, …) really sounds condescending and racially motivated (even if you THINK you don’t mean) because we can hear what you are thinking after this sentence: “you barbaric monkeys”.

    It probably wouldn’t sound that offensive if it came from a vegetarian monk in India, but when a rich white American diplomat who comes from a country where people hunt tons of animals for recreation, don’t care about crazy people shooting automatic weapons at schools, and consume the world’s supply of meat, it IS offensive and insulting.

    • Darren

      Barbaric monkeys?? Wow you’re really reading a lot into it.. White people can’t have an opinion about something because we have our own problems so therefore if we do have an opinion it’s racist. Haha oh my dear god..

  • Sharpshooting

    I love pigs,cattle and hens. Please Do not eat it !

  • JTCommentor

    Very well said Taka. Unfortunately, your logical arguments will only be met with illogical emotion here.

    The mindset of the the colonial days of western culture where their one truth was pushed onto barbaric natives, or the natives were killed, still exists in many from the west (albeit in a more diluted manner). Killing baby cows is OK, killing dolphins is not. Why? Because the former is done in “my” country, and the latter is not. Doesnt seem like a very sophisticated argument.

    And your “barbaric monkeys” comment is not as extreme as Darren makes out. Many other news sites or articles on this topic have westerners calling japanese barbaric and uncivilized.

  • nita smith

    Respect for Caroline Kennedy – new Ambassador to Japan for getting behind this barbaric genocide.