Every year through the months of September to March thousands of dolphins are slaughtered off the coast of Japan. This unfortunate event has gone on for centuries, unrecognized by the public, until recently when the award winning documentary "The Cove" circulated the globe. This documentary has opened the eyes of millions world wide and has resulted in a massive public out cry for the dolphins of Taiji.
In Taiji, dolphin hunters use a series of boats to heard dolphins towards the shore. They do so by using long poles which they hit on the top with hammers. This creates an intolerable sound barrier for the dolphins, forcing them to head towards shore. When the dolphins are in shore to a certain extent, the group of 26 fishermen seal them off with ropes, prohibiting them from an escape.
Generally, they are left here overnight, completely unaware that they must face a horrible fate in the morning to come. Some dolphins die during this process due to stress. The rest are examined in the morning by professional dolphin trainers from around the globe. These trainers are looking for the most attractive dolphins, typically Bottlenose dolphins, to take for their own aquariums. The remaining are brutally slaughtered, often times for their meat.
The reason the Japanese fishermen slaughter these surplus amounts dolphins puzzles me, considering how much mercury dolphin meat contains. A very limited amount of people actually consume dolphin meat in Japan. If my statistics are correct, I believe it is in and around 1% of Japan. Does 1% of a nation really eat so much dolphin meat that 23,000 must be killed each year? And as for that one per cent, are they aware of the risk of consuming dolphin meat? It has been proven that some of the expensive whale meat labeled in stores throughout Japan are in fact falsely labeled as it is actually dolphin meat from Taiji.
This issue doesn't just revolve around the dolphins, but the people. This dolphin meat was given to schools where it was mandatory for the students to consume it, intoxicating them with incredibly high levels of mercury. Fortunately, this has been stopped due to the direct action of two members of the municipality of Taiji. Regardless, it is still being sold in stores and for the dolphins' and people's sake this needs to stop.
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