Sea Shepherd: Dolphin roundup biggest in four years

AP

Fishermen in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, have finished killing about 40 dolphins targeted for their meat as part of a larger group trapped recently in what activists say was the biggest roundup they have witnessed in the last four annual hunts.

Sea Shepherd, best known for its anti-whaling activities, said that of roughly 250 captured dolphins, the fishermen first selected 52 to keep alive for sale to aquariums and other customers. They included a rare albino calf and its mother.

Of the rest, about 40 were killed, one became stuck in a net and drowned, and the others were released, it said.

A video released Tuesday (apne.ws/1hIC1xm) by Sea Shepherd shows dozens of fishermen on boats surveying the dolphins after they were confined to a cove with nets. Divers can be seen holding the dolphins selected for sale and guiding them to nets hanging off the boats.

While other dolphins have been killed since the hunting season began in September, Sea Shepherd said the 250 herded into the cove last Friday was the largest group it has seen since it began monitoring the hunt.

The annual hunt in the village of Taiji received high-profile criticism when U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy tweeted last weekend that she was deeply concerned about the practice.

The fishermen say the hunt is part of their tradition and call foreign critics who eat other kinds of meat hypocritical.

A government spokesman defended the annual dolphin hunt on Monday, saying it is carried out in accordance with the law.

The hunt was the subject of the Academy Award-winning 2009 film “The Cove.”

  • Harden up

    It is obvious to the western world that when it comes to the Japanese and things to do with their national culture that it sometimes overrides their common sense.

    • marcus

      Sorry nothing “traditional” with killing 30,000 Dolphins every year. This has gone from he odd local killing the odd Dolphin once in a blue moon to mass genocide.

      • JTCommentor

        I am sorry – where is the 30,000 number from? You seem to be off by a factor of about 10,000. By those numbers, the number of homicides in the US per year would be about 150 million. Now that sounds like genocide, you know, of people.

      • Josh Graham

        25k by Japan 5k by Peru, 5+25=30
        dolphin’s are better at math than you.

  • Mike Wyckoff

    Its unfortunate that foreigners can’t accept a tradition that has continued for 100′s of years. Just a shame…

    • Harden up

      It’s unfortunate that some cultures tradition overrides their common sense. Actually is sad, not unfortunate…

      • JTCommentor

        What is “common” sense? Common within a culture or society. It differs between societies and cultures – the two are inseperable. Unless you are saying that common sense as defined by your culture should prevail?

    • disqus_1btyFTUok2

      shoving an awl into an unused dolphin, allowing it to die a slow tragic death is so very honourable… it’s really all about the legal tender

    • pervertt

      Times change. Cultures and traditions need to keep up. I visited Barcelona last year and found empty bull rings throughout the city. The only bullfight I saw was in a movie. And I saw no diminution in Catalonian pride.

    • Lauren Bernhardt-Rhone

      Foot binding was a tradition too and that is not practiced anymore. This tradition has been going on consistently since 1969.

    • Lisa

      The history of the dolphin drives spans not so-called 400 years, but a mere 45. Furthermore, in 1969, the main goal of the dolphin drive was to capture pilot whales as prized showpieces for the Taiji Whale Museum. In other words, the dolphin drive was purely for profit, having nothing to do with cultural history. Since 1969 a close relationship began building between the drive hunt and aquaria as financial activities.

      • JTCommentor

        What is the source of this information?

    • @active4orcas

      Hundreds of years? The dolphin drive hunts have only been operating since the 1960′s. There were a few hunts in the 40s. The “tradition” only started when places like SeaWorld wanted dolphins to fill their tiny tanks. If it were traditional, why aren’t the fishermen going out in row boats instead of high-powered banger boats with sonar and fish-finders? And for the record, it’s not culture either.

      • JTCommentor

        I see many people claim it started in the 1960s. Did you see that on a movie, or do you have some actual evidence of it?

      • Robert Miller

        The preparation of porpoise as a meal indeed dates back, at least, 600 years to the times of Richard II :

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/6710024/How-to-cook-porpoise-and-other-600-year-old-recipies.html

      • Josh Graham

        And in ancient times that is 1500BC in ancient Greece you would have been tried as a murder for killing a dolphin. So what is traditional?

      • Robert Miller

        Your response is actually not that relevant to my comment.

        The link that I posted demonstrated that the preparation of porpoise as a meal dates back, at least, 600 years.

        Your retort merely suggests it was illegal some 3,500 years ago.

        Keep up with the times, eh ?

      • Josh Graham

        Actually “Drive hunting” killing the entire pod of dolphins didn’t start until the 1800s as a form of pest control(which is the true purpose of the Taiji hunts). Yes dolphins were hunted before then, but they didn’t kill entire pods of them.
        My point was that there are traditions older than the dolphin hunts, which are happening to come back again. The ancient greeks believed that dolphins were actually people, so it was barbaric to them to kill them for any reason.

        Well now India, Costa Rica, Hungary and Chile has declared dolphins to be people to. This traditional belief is thousands of years older than the dolphin hunts regardless of the age. in fact the reason dolphins were used as food was because a philosopher from the 1500s had said that all animals were just red blooded machines without feelings, souls or wishes. this is why it became ok to eat animals that were not traditional and the first time it was done, it was done for lack of other foods. eating dolphin was a rare occasion and dolphin drives didn’t happen they killed a few dolphins in the 1600s, but not the whole flock. That didn’t start until 1800s.

    • phu

      This is pretty similar to calling slavery in the US and female genital mutilation in Africa traditions. Why can’t people respect our traditions?

      Just because people have been doing something for a long time doesn’t make it good or right, and it certainly doesn’t mean we should just blindly accept it.

      • Karl Malloy

        Americans have been eating beef for a really long time. If Hindus, who find that extremely offensive, travel here to protest it, should we listen to them and change our ways?

      • JTCommentor

        Awesome comment – but your very relevant point wont be taken on.

      • Karl Malloy

        That’s because most people carry a moral certainty that they are right about everything, when in fact moral certainty is what causes most conflict in the world. Everybody just needs a little perspective.

    • RDEF

      What hundreds of years, Taiji started slaughtering dolphins in 1969 just about the time Sea World was heavy into capturing wild caught dolphins and whales. Dolphins and whales are mammals LIKE US, they have complex family structures and care for their young in family groups like us. Taiji is ground zero for the live trade in dolphins to be sold for huge profits to aquariums around the world. To steal a nursing baby from its mother and kill her mother in front of her, and then put this gentle being in a chlorinated tank to do stupid tricks for the fleeting pleasure of humans, and condemn them to a lifetime of misery is just wrong.

    • Josh Graham

      Um, how far is your head up your own rear? 100s of years ago sailors thought killing dolphins would give you bad luck it wasn’t until the 1800s that we started killing them and not till 1969 that is became a regular thing.

      • Robert Miller

        The preparation of porpoise as a meal indeed dates back, at least, 600 years to the times of Richard II :

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foo

        Quote from the article : “You can still get dolphins off the coast of Cornwall, though.”

  • Mandingo

    Maybe I’m just ignorant but can someone explain to me what essential differences exit between dolphin hunt and killing other animals for meat, say like industrial slaughter of pigs, that are by the way very smart animals, or cattle cows?

    Or is it your common sense to regard cattle cows as not “human” enough to receive our love?

    • marcus

      This argument is often used. Remembering that the killing of cows, sheep, chicken and pigs is Not just a western civilisation thing. Japan also kills and eats the same. And yes I myself believe these animals are also treated terribly. But I can’t remember the last time a slaughter house blew the spine out of a cow or pig with an explosive harpoon or stabbed wildly at a chicken or sheep with a spear. And remember this is not about food. This is about making money and destroying any competition for fish stocks

      • Karl Malloy

        Are you joking about not remembering the last time? There are more than 100 million pigs killed each year in the US… if 0.011 percent are treated or killed inhumanely that’s more than all dolphins killed at all.
        Not to mention that the hunting of wild animals, while it can be done inhumanely, comes at the end of a life lived in complete freedom in the wild. Whereas livestock are raised in cramped often dirty conditions their whole lives, fed hormones and have their entire reproductive cycle controlled by humans the whole time. I don’t think the ethics of that versus a messier death for dolphins are very cut and dried.
        The much bigger crime humans perpetuate against dolphins is poisoning every single dolphin in the world with mercury, to the point where many of their brains are becoming addled and they are beaching themselves in higher numbers. So, everybody get rid of your computer as a step towards stopping the mercury from power generation and rare mineral mining.

      • Josh Graham

        Well ironically when Europeans first came to America they excessively hunted wolves and cougars right now they are both endangered. due to this fact deer have become overpopulated in America and the only real predator left are humans. So hunting deer isn’t a bad thing, in fact hunting deer is more natural than farming goats so it could be argued that hunting is a better form of getting meat.

      • Karl Malloy

        The deer population has grown 8 fold in the past several decades, we probably will be back hunting them more soon as they are becoming more and more of a nuisance. When animals actually affect people’s lives they drop the fairytale treatment of them that is only a byproduct of the fact that humans became so superior that we have the luxury to actively protect some animals.
        BTW 15,000 years ago there were megafauna all over North America. Wooly Mammoth, sabretooth, giant sloth, etc… then the first humans came across the land bridge and within a couple thousand years they were all extinct, with their bones in the remains of Clovis culture fires.

    • Mandingo

      Marcus, Sure it’s about making business and most lucrative portion of it is selling dolphins to aquariums, if I’m not mistaken?
      But then again, aren’t we slaughtering excessive amount of animals, eating more than necessary and if you ask people to point out one or two countries that have exhibit tendency the most, that’d never be Japan. So you say it’s terribly wrong to kill animals “for food” but isn’t this excess slaughter not precisely about food, as we know it as vital component survival, but more about… well simply killing. Or it’s about killing animals for food opulence, ins’t it?

    • Josh Graham

      Dolphins are endangered, pigs and cows are artificially overpopulated due to farming and actually deer have become overpopulated. Know the difference between overpopulated and endangered? I hope so.

  • Gordon Graham

    I’ll pass on the dolphin meat, thanks…I’ll have veal instead

  • Mamajoy2013

    Please this article need to clarify the information about the mother of the albino dolphin. This was caught on video. The dolphin family was extremely distraught!! They separated them, the mother was killed. This “tradition” of drive hunting started 1969-70s. Rather than “tradition” is more likely “the money.” Japan is not the only ones at fault here, but that does not make continuing this the right moral thing to do. Faroe Islands must stop, the Marine Parks must stop, illegal whaling must stop, all abuse must stop, including military uses. In the USA, it was found that slaughter, slaughter houses attracts certain personality types, certain crimes… Look at Romania, China, Korea, all of us!!! As Paul McCartney has said, “If slaughter houses had glass walls, everyone would be vegan.” Taiji must stop, Faroe Islands must stop, SeaWorld, etc. must stop we must evolve into better people. This reflects badly on humanity. Science already agrees animals feel, emotionally and physically. Are the human cultures going to advance, or slip back into barbarism?

    • JTCommentor

      You kind of just ran with it there, didnt you.

  • Robert Miller

    Judging by the comments, am I to understand that the Japanese actually take “Sweet Caroline” Kennedy and the Sea Shepherd Society seriously ?

    No Milliionaire gringo is gonna tell me what I can or cannot eat.

    Vive la difference.

  • JTCommentor

    Do you mean humans in general, or the Japanese?

  • Josh Graham

    America is not the only country against this, many European countries, even some south American countries(except Peru) and Australia is against this hunt. Almost the entire world is against it. It isn’t a tradition started thousands of years ago. It couldn’t have been the equipment they use to do these hunts didn’t exist until the 20th century which happens to be the century that these hunts started.