Sea Shepherd’s latest update on Japanese dolphin slaughter

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I’m a little behind in getting his posted, but the update is still important:

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January 18, 2014 – TAIJI, Japan — Five separate pods of Bottlenose dolphins totaling more than 250 individuals including juveniles, babies and a priceless albino calf and its mom were driven into Taiji’s infamous killing cove on Thursday and held overnight. Swimming free just two days ago, they now face a lifetime in captivity in a tiny cell or brutal slaughter.

Yesterday, the members of the pod endured a violent and stressful captive selection process. Taiji dolphin killers and trainers once again worked side-by-side as they wrestled dolphins under their tarps where those deemed “pretty enough” for captivity were chosen. Babies and mothers were torn from each other’s sides as 25 Bottlenose dolphins were taken for captivity.

Among those taken captive was a rare albino calf, who had been clinging desperately to the side of his or her mother until being dragged into a sling and taken to Taiji Whale Museum. Albinos can sometimes be blind or deaf but that did not stop the killers. They saw dollar signs at the first sight of this unique dolphin, and the albino calf was the first of the pod to be taken for captivity. The captive selection process is as violent as the killing in Taiji, and yesterday, blood could be seen in the water as the dolphins struggled for their last chance at freedom. One dolphin who was taken captive did not survive the stress and brutality and was transferred directly from the Taiji harbor pens to the butcherhouse for “processing.”

All three Taiji captive facilities – Dolphin Base, Hotel Dolphin Resort, and Taiji Whale Museum – had trainers in the cove taking dolphins to fill their tanks. It is believed that one baby dolphin may have died next to his or her mother during the captive selection. Some captives remain in Taiji, while others are transported for captivity internationally.

The trauma and bloodshed is not yet over for the more than 200 remaining dolphins, who have endured two days without food or shelter and are showing signs of extreme distress – spyhopping, tail-slapping and swimming upside down, as today they will face further selection for captivity and possibly slaughter. This reality is completely counter to Taiji’s contention that the hunts and slaughter are “humane.” The flesh of those killed is sold as dolphin meat by the Taiji Fishermen’s Union, despite the fact that it contains high levels of mercury and other harmful toxins. We anticipate going online from the Cove with our live stream today at ~ 2 pm PT as the captive selection and slaughter begin. Please spread the world by sharing our URL with your audience: Interviews with our Cove Guardians, as well as video footage/stills, available upon request.

The drive hunt and slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales occurs throughout Japan each year. Japan refuses to sign on to many protection efforts and regulations for marine mammals, despite most of the world recognizing the need to protect these imperiled animals. The most well-known among these annual hunts occurs in Taiji from September 1st and usually continuing through March of the following year. Fishermen herd entire cetacean families into shallow bays where they are mercilessly stabbed with a metal spike inserted into their blowhole to sever their spine. The dolphins slowly and painfully bleed to death or drown in the blood of their family. These inhumane killings would not be allowed in any slaughterhouse in the world.

Taiji’s annual dolphin slaughter was virtually unknown until Sea Shepherd released covertly obtained footage and photographs taken at the Cove in 2003, followed by further international attention due to the Academy Award-winning film The Cove.
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