Bad News at The Cove -
Taiji Dolphin Hunt Begins

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Bad News at The Cove -
Taiji Dolphin Hunt Begins

By Jaymi Heimbuch on TreeHugger.com
September 2009

Richard O'Barry was waiting for this, knowing that the halt on this year's dolphin hunt was too good to be true, or last very long. [Ed. Note: Read Ric O'Barry's Documentary 'The Cove' May Have Ended Dolphin Killing.]

Eight days later than usual, but still arriving, this year's seasonal dolphin killing has begun at Taiji with about 50 pilot whales and 100 bottlenose dolphins being driven into the cove this morning.

Japan Probe informs us that the slaying began around 5:30 this morning in Japan as weather conditions improved.

Taiji's fisherman plan to catch about 2,400 dolphins during this season, as well as pilot whales, neither of which are protected by the International Whaling Commission's ban on whaling. Upwards of 22,000 dolphins, porpoises, pilot whales and false killer whales are taken each hunting season.

Despite how heartbreaking it is to see dolphins killed like this, the kicker of this whole situation is that the meat is sold to a population of people who are for the most part completely unaware that it is laden with mercury (the dolphin meat served in Japan has as much as 5000 times more mercury than allowed by Japanese laws), and mostly unaware that it is dolphin in the first place since the dolphin meat is often labeled simply as "whale meat" in order to fetch a higher price. So not only are the fishermen killing thousands of intelligent animals in a horrific manner, they're also slowly killing people. A sad situation all around.

Luckily, awareness is growing. A significant reason why the hunt is late to start is because of the mass of media on site opening day. With all eyes watching, fishermen were hesitant to get the hunt started. And if you're feeling active today, there are five things you can do right now to help from The Cove:

  1. Write to our leaders and help get the word out in Japan.
  2. Learn more about dolphins in captivity.
  3. Choose the safest fish to eat.
  4. Help Save Japanís Dolphins efforts on the frontlines.
  5. Support the filmmakers with your donation.

From Japan Probe:

So much for the claims that ďThe CoveĒ has halted Japanís dolphin hunt.

Nikkan Sports reports that weather conditions have improved in Taiji and the townís fishermen have finally begun their dolphin hunt.

Thirteen fishing boats left Taijiís harbor this morning around 5:30AM. They located a large group of dolphins and pilot whales, which they promptly surrounded and drove them into a cove. The captured group consists of about 50 pilot whales and 100 bottlenose dolphins. The International Whaling Commissionís ban on whaling does not include bottlenose dolphins or pilot whales. Neither species is classified as endangered.

During this hunting season, Taijiís fisherman plan to catch about 2400 dolphins.

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