The Taiji dolphin drive hunts only came into the world’s purview fairly recently thanks to the film “The Cove.” These dolphin drive occur on an annual basis during which time local fishermen herd local dolphins into what is known as the “killing cove,” where they brutally beat and kill dolphins for their meat. While the majority of dolphins will face this fate, some that are deemed “pretty” enough are captured and sold into the marine captivity industry.
According to the International Marine Mammal Project, “Last year ended with 652 dolphins being killed, 111 captured for a life of misery in captivity, and 121 driven back to sea after the traumatic capture process where they likely witnessed the slow and painful deaths of their families and friends.”
Although the practice of consuming dolphin meat is on the decline in Japan and international resistance to marine captivity continues to rise, this cruel tradition continues. This video features a group of tourists playing in the infamous cove just weeks before the hunts are set to begin in September.
International Marine Mammal Project explains that the dolphins featured in this video were likely captured in last year’s drive and they have been kept in this netted enclosure and trained to interact with the guests.
While this scene may look innocent on the surface, it betrays the sad reality of how disconnected we are to what happens to animals for the sake of our entertainment. The dolphins bobbing next to children and kayakers have witnessed the horrific death of their friends and family and have lost every ounce of their own freedom. And remember, these dolphins are considered the lucky ones in the grand scheme of things.
This cruel tradition can only continue if there is potential for profit, so it is up to every one of us to raise awareness for what happens to dolphins in Taiji. You can help by sharing this video and encouraging friends and family to boycott marine parks. You can also join International Marine Mammal Project’s Save Japan Dolphins campaign to end the Taiji drives, by clicking here.
No animal should have to suffer for the sake of our entertainment!