For the Protection of Dolphins in Japan

To the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan:

The dolphins in Taiji, Japan are hunted from September 1 to March 1; this when the fishermen can hunt as many dolphins as they want. Dolphins are killed to be sold for their meat, and because the fishermen believe that dolphins are eating all the fish. During this time the dolphins are killed relentlessly. This continuous cycle of hunting brings the dolphins in danger of extinction. The killing of dolphins, not only endangers the species, but can also ruin the ecosystem, and brings suffering to the dolphins as they are capable of feeling complex emotions.

The killing of dolphins is used mainly to sell their meat in Taiji. According to the Educational Series: Stopping the Dolphin Slaughter, the 2016-2017 hunt produced "only 45% of their typical quota, which has led experts to believe that certain species that were commonly hunted in Taiji are now facing the threat of extinction." This demonstrates the effects of continuous hunting of dolphins, which is the extinction from being massively hunted in Taiji. In Taiji, when the fishermen hunt dolphins, they trap the dolphins with nets and then the hunters start to stab them with spears. With the time and the methods that these fishermen use, they reach their quota quickly, and still the Japanese Fishing Agency responds with increasing the quota once it is met in order for fishermen to keep hunting. According to the Dolphin Project, dolphins "are heavily contaminated by mercury." According to the data from the National Organization for Rare Disorder, mercury exposure affects respiratory, behavioral, and neurological function. It causes "abnormal buildup of fluid in the lungs, excitability and quick-tempered behavior, lack of concentration, and loss of memory." People that are most vulnerable to mercury poisoning are pregnant women,according to the National Organization for Rare Disorder, as their infants take the full effect of mercury causing birth deformities, such as blindness, hearing loss, and paralysis. This hunting, not only affects the consumer of dolphin meat, but also brings dolphins in danger of extinction causing the environment harm as dolphins are needed for the ecosystem.

Dolphins are very sensitive to environmental disturbances and negative human impacts; therefore, they are perfect indicator species for marine ecosystem health. According to mundoazul.org cetaceans play an important role in maintaining the ecosystem healthy and by doing so it helps the fisheries. This is a contradiction from what the fishermen believe as they are told that dolphins are eating all the fish. Dolphins, like many other high-level predators, prey mainly on old and ill fish. This way they are playing an "important role in fighting infectious diseases among fish populations and ensure the reproduction of fisheries resources." This demonstrates that the dolphins help maintain a safe environment for everyone by making sure that fisheries have healthy fish to sell. By killing dolphins, we are destroying the sanitation of the oceans, which will result in more diseases and less fish. Their place in the ecosystem is to maintain a healthy ocean, and they also benefit us as they keep the oceans healthy with plentiful fish. This demonstrates that the killing of dolphins must be stopped or the continued killing will bring harm to the environment. These creatures not only benefit the environment, but they are also highly intelligent, comprehending what is occurring.

According to mundoazul.org dolphins have large brains; dolphins have a brain to body ratio second only to humans. The us.whale.org states that large-brained creatures generally have a few things in common:"they live long lives; they are sociable; their behaviour is complicated; females give birth to only a few offspring throughout their lives and take extraordinary care of each baby while teaching them life skills." This demonstrates that dolphins have complex families just like us, they can feel and understand the death of their family when they are being hunted. They suffer throughout the killing methods that are used in Taiji.

The extinction of this beautiful creature would bring ruin to the environment, but also as these creatures are killed they are conscious of the pain they go through. I implore you to take immediate action to preserve and protect the dolphins of Taiji from further death. These beautiful creatures must be allowed to live in peace, and thrive once more in their habitat. With dolphins being so important to the ecosystem, we cannot afford to stand idly by and do nothing in their defense.

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