Today was my very first day to ever witness the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter first hand…
I knew it would be horrific, I knew it would be emotional, I knew it would be excrutiating… but I dont think anything can prepare you for it. This morning is probably the most emotionally drained, upset, and helpless I have ever felt… and going by the advice of Scott West, Sea Shepherd representative who is coming up on three months at the cove, it doesn’t get any easier!!
It was a very early morning’s start this morning… the boats head out at daybreak, so we were stationed at the cove by 6am… We saw the boats heading out for the day’s drive, and after a while of watching them out on the horizon- hoping and praying that they come back empty handed, we went down to ‘the cove’ of Taiji… My first reaction was actually thinking that it was smaller than I first expected! I guess I imagined it was a little bigger considering that they sometimes drive hundreds of dolphins in at one time- but after seeing the disgusting sight of over 6 dolphins in a minute ‘pen’ around the corner from the cove this afternoon, I am no longer surprised at the fishermen’s total disgregard for the dolphin’s spatial needs…
Then, I noticed that there were already dolphins in the nets! Having arrived late the night before, I wasn’t aware that some of the 80 or so dolphins caught would be remaining in the cove the next morning… There was approximately 23 or so in the cove. They were stressed out like I have never before seen dolphins in my life! They continuously tail-slapped, spy-hopped, breached and their unusually frequent breaths of air sounded distorted… This was an excruciating sight.
We also saw some of the skiffs (small boats) chartering the dead bodies of dolphins out of the killing cove- heading to the Gutting Barge only a few hundred metres away, waiting to be butcher these beautiful animals…
After they had finished transporting all the dead dolphins out of the killing cove, they released about 23 or so dolphins that were contained in the nets… This is by all means no victory for these creatures- they had to watch the sight of their relatives and close social pod members being dragged right by them, blood trailing along… These highly intelligent creatures, capable of emotions and thought processes humankind cannot even fathom, will spend the rest of their lives traumatised because of what happened to them in that little cove over the past two days… And that is if they’re lucky enough to survive, having had stress levels raised to dangerous levels…
That was it for the slaughter for the day… The rest of the day was spent exploring the town of Taiji. I along with the Sea Shepherd crew visited the ‘dolphin holding pens’ just around the corner from where the dolphins are slaughtered… After they spend a while becoming ‘conditioned’ to human interaction, they are transferred into different holding pens nearby. We visited these pens this afternoon and we encountered the dispicable sight of dolphin trainers clapping and cheering for dolphins as they reluctantly did tricks they have recently been forced to learn… You can tell that they are all very young- and the pens (there are approx 6 all up) are unbelievably small for even one dolphin in each… let alone some which I counted as holding up to 6 or more!!! The trainers would walk past the dolphins, and they would start jumping out into the air- even before they were signalled to do so- just so they can get some food, it was obvious they were stressed, traumatised and starved… These beautiful creatures will soon be transported to areas all over the world to ‘perform’ in dolphinariums who pay upwards of $100,000-$150,000 for each dolphin! This is one of the biggest reasons this dolphin slaughter still continues!!!
It has been a long, exhausting and emotionally draining day- but seeing and experiencing all of this has only fuelled my determination to try and put a stop to it all… PLEASE tell your friends, teach anyone you can and spread the word!
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Thanks for everyone’s support! 🙂
On the path to protect,