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The internationally acclaimed and Oscar winning documentary, The Cove, delves into the intricacies of Japans rampant dolphin slaughter in the name of culture and tradition. Directed by National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, the film is a call to action to halt mass dolphin kills, change Japanese fishing practices and educates the public about the risks, and increasing hazards of mercury poisoning from dolphin meat.
Read our review of the Cove here
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“We will pass down the history of our ancestors to the next generation, preserve it. We have a strong sense of pride about this. So we are not going to change our plans for the town based on the criticism of foreigners”
-Mayor Kazutaka Sangen, Taiji, Japan.
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|The barbaric cruelty of annual Dolphin hunts at Taiji, Japan show dichtomy in a modern nation... |
The Cove revisited
By Charlene Hendricks
|Stop the slaughter! The smaller Dolphins are killed - in hundreds- and the larger, if found fit, separated for dolphinariums around the world. | These words reflect the Mayor’s attitude to the ruthless dolphin drive hunting that takes place every year in Taiji, Japan, an attitude shared by the local residents of the town. Ironical that the word “pride”- a word that the Japanese associate with their being one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world- is also applied to one of the most ruthless and primitive activities in the world.
The people of Taiji believe that “foreigners” should not interfere with their customs and traditions, that they too kill thousands of cows every year. It is hard to believe that people as educated as the Mayor of Taiji do not understand the difference between a cow and a dolphin. Perhaps it is time that they are educated in the difference between the two. Dolphins are believed to be the second-most intelligent beings on the planet after humans, even more intelligent then primates. Their high level of intelligence is attributed primarily to the large size of their brain. The brain is intricate, with the neocortex being more convoluted than even that of a human being. More importantly, their brain allows for a sense of self-awareness among them, generating in them the ability to experience emotions. It could be argued that all animals have some capacity of emotions, but it is more pronounced in dolphins as the part of their brain associated with processing emotional information is particularly expanded. So basically, they are killing an animal that can feel pain as acutely as perhaps a human being would.
The people of Taiji explain that the hunt is conducted in the most “humane” way possible. In order to clarify that, an explanation of the killing process is necessary. When a school of dolphins swim by, the fishermen position boats behind them. These boats have two steel poles attached at either side which are than lowered into the water. The fishermen then begin to hit the poles repeatedly with hammers. The sound travels down the pole which has a flared end. The flared end serves to amplify the sound. Dolphins being sensitive to loud sounds are scared
. into moving towards the shoreline. The fishermen drive them into a small cove on the Taiji harbor and seal the mouth of the cove with several nets, trapping the dolphins. The next morning they arrive at the cove in boats and kill the dolphins by spearing or harpooning them. Often, they stab the dolphins with fishermen hooks and then haul the still living dolphins onto the boat. The dolphins continue to thrash about in their own blood. It is difficult to comprehend how such a cruel and painful method of killing can be described as humane by the fishermen?
The killing is all the more senseless, as even the meat cannot be safely eaten, due to a high Mercury content.
Join EarthSmiles.net's protest of this horror, by downloading and getting as much signatures on the campaign letter of Stop the Slaughter 2012. Get your School/College/Institution involved by having the principal / authority endorse the letter and start collecting as many signatures as you possibly can, on the reverse and on additional sheets of paper. Then send the signatures to us - or directly to the Japanese Counsel at Kolkata at the address metioned.
If you're not from Kolkata, you can send it to the Japanese Counsulate at your city - a list is available on this site: http://www.in.emb-japan.go.jp/Contact_Us/Contact-Us-ConsulatesInIndia.html
The campaign letter is available from our Facebook page and from the EarthSmiles.net Campaigns page on this site.
What are we doing protesting something thousands of miles away? We need to know how terrible a crime against nature this is, so that we can never repeat a similar mistake in our environment, or allow something like this in our country; and develop a culture of awareness and concern for our beautiful planet. We may not stop the slaughterers of Taiji today, but hopefully we can begin that change of heart which will end the killings.