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Marine Park in Taiji to Let Visitors Swim with and Eat Dolphins

Marine Park Taiji

The 2009 documentary, “The Cove”, unveiled the horrors of dolphin slaughter taking place in the Japanese town of Taiji. Now, the town has revealed that it will be opening a marine park where visitors can swim with captive dolphins nearby the same cove where they are killed.

Hatakejiri Bay is where Taiji fishermen select a few dozen corral dolphins to sell to aquariums and marine parks and kill the rest for meat.

A local government official, Masaki Wada said, “This is part of Taiji’s long-term plan of making the whole town a park, where you can enjoy watching marine mammals while tasting various marine products, including whale and dolphin meat.”

Officials seem to want to make clear that the park is not them “caving in” to pressure to stop the dolphin hunt; on the contrary, they hope it be made more sustainable. How that logic works out, we’re not so sure.

Local activists are already planning to fight back against the plans.

Nanami Kurasawa, the secretary general of Iruka & Kujira (Dolphin & Whale) Action Network, (IKAN) said, “The whole plan is based on the concept that they can exploit dolphins and whales freely as their resource, but the mammals don’t belong to Taiji.”

The park is slated for completion in five years time.

In situations such as this, we may feel helpless in the face of an issue taking place so far from home. The least we can do is share the story of “The Cove,” and take the first step in educating ourselves and others about this senseless violence. Share this with your friends, student groups and community, and urge others never to visit aquatic parks.

Image Source: Takato Marui/Flickr

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