Each year hunters in the western Japanese town of Taiji hunt and kill over 2,000 dolphins by hand. Activists worldwide have attempted to end this gruesome display of animal cruelty, but have been unsuccessful. Under International Whaling Commission regulations, whaling is banned, but the hunting of dolphins is still permitted. Apparently Japan has also found a loophole that would allow them to kill whales under the guise of scientific research. Fortunately, through the use of hidden microphones and cameras, it appears that the movie industry has succeeded in giving the public a firsthand account of what actually goes on behind closed doors. The 2009 movie “The Cove” captured on film the true story behind the annual slaughter ritual of dolphin hunting in Taiji.
The movie had a great impact on the public’s understanding of what happens to these dolphins and the need to implement a ban on killing them. Hopefully a ban on dolphin hunting will achieve more success than has been achieved by the ban on whaling since whales are still being hunted despite IWC regulations. An anonymous Japanese official stated that the movie has generated an international public outcry to ban dolphin hunting. As a result, the town of Taiji has decided to suspend its annual hunt. The dolphins that were captured so far this season will be released or sold to aquariums. This is a step in the right direction. Typically the dolphins are slaughtered and their meat sold for consumption. The Japanese consider the dolphin meat to be a delicacy despite the fact that it contains dangerously high levels of mercury. Maybe the movie industry can play an active role in solving animal cruelty issues. Seeing stories of animal cruelty on paper is equivalent to seeing a piece of meat on your dish, you are blind to what really goes on. Getting a visual firsthand account of the cruelty that these animals endure will send even the most devout carnivore to the produce market.
Filed under: animal advocacy | Tagged: animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, dolphin hunt, dolphins, environmental advocacy, environmental law, environmentalism, Japan, Taiji, The Cove |