The Japanese Are Still Killing Dolphins In Taiji Cove

In The Cove, Louie Psihoyos’ Oscar-winning 2009 documentary, a group of animal rights activists went to extraordinary lengths to expose the annual dolphin slaughter in Japan’s Taiji cove. The film made a pretty persuasive case that hunting intelligent creatures for their mercury-loaded meat that most people don’t want to eat anyway is kind of a dick move. The film stirred up international criticism and brought about sweeping changes to the dolphin hunt. And by that I mean the fishermen covered the bloody stuff with a giant tarp this time. Progress?

On Tuesday, at least 30 dolphins out of the group of more than 200 held in the cove since Friday were herded by boat engines and nets into a killing area of the Taiji cove.

Fishermen waiting in the shallow waters by the shore, some in wet suits with snorkeling masks on their faces, wrestled the dolphins into submission and tied their tails with ropes to stop them from escaping.

That sounds pretty terrible, but at the same time, “Snorkel Full of Blood” would make a great Metalacolypse song.

Before the killing began, fishermen pulled a tarpaulin in front of the cove to prevent activists and reporters from seeing the killing. A large pool of blood seeped under the tarpaulin and spread across the cove.

Jeez, this is dark.

“A metal rod was stabbed into their spinal cord, where they were left to bleed out, suffocate and die. After a traumatic four days held captive in the killing cove, they experienced violent captive selection, being separated from their family, and then eventually were killed today,” Sea Shepherd Conservation Society activist Melissa Sehgal told Reuters.

“UK opposes all forms of dolphin and porpoise drives; they cause terrible suffering. We regularly raise (the issue) with Japan,” said the British Ambassador to Japan, Timothy Hitchens, in a tweet on Monday. Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. envoy to Tokyo, has also said she was “deeply concerned” about the hunt.

Yoshinobu Nisaka, the governor of Wakayama prefecture where Taiji is located, rejected Kennedy’s concerns.

“Dietary culture varies and it is the wisdom of civilization to mutually respect other standpoints unless the world faces a lack of resources,” Nisaka was quoted by Kyodo news agency as telling reporters. [Yahoo]

Where you draw the line on how smart is too smart an animal to kill for food is kind of a tough decision, with some cultural overtones. Dolphins are definitely smarter than pigs and cows, but it’s not like pigs and cows don’t feel it when we shoot bolts into their skulls, and I probably wouldn’t eat them if I had more will power and they were less delicious. Not chickens, though. Chickens are dead-eyed idiot meat birds, at least we can agree on that.

Incidentally, here’s a picture I ultimately deemed too racist to use as a banner image.