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In the small fishing village of Taiji in Japan, hunters ambush entire schools of dolphins and force the panicked animals into shallow waters after a prolonged chase.
Once they’re trapped inside the cove, the hunters stab them to death with spears or knives. The water turns red with their blood, and the air is filled with their screams. This horrific massacre goes on for six months every year.
It’s commonly assumed that Japanese fishers hunt dolphins to supply a small minority of Japanese people with dolphin meat. But the real reason the Japanese government issues permits to kill the animals has nothing to do with food culture. As shocking as it sounds, dolphins are viewed as “pests” and are eradicated in huge numbers in order to preserve the ocean’s fish for human consumption.
What’s even more scandalous is that members of the international dolphin-display industry take advantage of the hunt to obtain animals for use in captive-dolphin shows and “swim with dolphins” programmes.
An investigation by the Dolphin Project revealed that in the 2021–2022 hunting season, at least 563 dolphins were taken from their ocean homes. Of them, 498 were slaughtered – likely for food or because fishers consider them “pests” – and 65 were kept to be sold to marine abusement parks. This doesn’t include the elderly, young, sick, and injured dolphins who are unable to keep up with their family during the chase and whose fate is unknown.
Please send an e-mail to the Japanese ambassador to the UK urging him to use his influence to help stop the slaughter of dolphins.