With the memories of yesterday still very fresh in our minds, we made the trip down to Taiji Harbour in the early hours of the morning… We arrived to find out that 11 boats had left, and were already beginning their hunt for dolphins far out on the horizon.
We made our way to the Cove, and began our long wait… During this wait, almost every single day, we encounter dozens of emotions, within only a few hours… It is one of the hardest parts of our days. Of course, once we realise that it could potentially be a day where the lives of innocent animals are lost there is a tense atmosphere surrounding our time in the Cove. Whenever we spot the banger boats, we all jump up and instantly try our best to determine their movements- we’re looking to see if they are in the dreaded ‘Drive Formation’… where they all line up along the coast in unison- it is a sickening sight…
Once we see that formation, our stomachs drop, and there is silence amongst the group- perhaps except for the occasional question or remark about the boats’ movements. It’s a tense and heart wrenching wait. We wait to see if they have a pod in sight, or to see whether they are just chasing white caps on the surface. To see them lose a pod, then regain it, is utterly painful. We are always hopeful… and thinking the most positive thoughts possible. But to have that hope shattered, by a glimpse of those gorgeous dolphins being hounded by a fleet of large white boats, their banging sounds trailing along with them, is heartbreaking. That is what happened this morning.
There was a pod of about 10 Risso’s dolphins, a larger species of dolphin with particularly distinguishable white markings along its back. They were putting up an almighty fight against the dolphin hunters. It took a long time for them to drive the pod into the cove- in fact, we were convinced on several occasions that they could have almost escaped… This never happened, and after some very honourable attempts at eluding the banger boats, they were forced straight into the killing cove- defeated and outnumbered by man.
I left straight for the hill overlooking the killing cove by myself, and reached the top just as a skiff-load of killers and trainers had arrived below. The trainers were there to choose ‘unblemished’ dolphins to steal, force their orders and dead fish upon, then make them perform in front of deafening crowds… just so a dolphinarium somewhere in the world can make a profit. And for what? Conservation messages? No… if there was no captive dolphin trade, there would be no slaughters- there is no way that they could possibly have ANY conservation message or impact that could outweigh the injustice of dolphin slaughtering. Education? No… what can people learn from dolphins who are taught everything they know from humans??? We all know how to wave, we know how to jump, we know how to spin hoops… we do NOT need to see dolphins, one of the smartest animals on this Earth, being completely abused and disrespected in this way. Personally, I think it is an absolute insult to their intelligence- for HUMANS to teach them tricks- then display these tricks to kids and impressionable individuals of the public, and pass it off as the DOLPHINS’ intelligence! If we were really here to educate the world about dolphins’ intelligence through dolphinariums and ‘swim with’ programs, we would demonstrate their ability to communicate underwater with a series of clicks and whistles, to echolocate to see a series of images far beyond our own eyesight, or to navigate the earth with no compass, with no map, no GPS, not even the stars… And the thing is- we can’t educate people about these things by using dolphins in tanks, because we simply don’t understand them. We don’t know how to do these things ourselves, so there is no way we can teach a dolphin to demonstrate them on cue… You see, they can understand us- but we cannot, and may never be able to fully understand them. We will never have their advanced eyesight through echolocation, their power and grace in the underwater world, nor their ability to see ‘through’ people… they can see your heartbeat… they can even see a pregnant woman’s unborn child…
The only way we can appreciate these animals, is by appreciating the fact that they live in a world so unknown to humans, they live in unison with their environment- as they have done for millions of years. The only way to appreciate them is to accept that we may never know everything about them, that they have an understanding of this world far greater than ours… The only way to appreciate the cetaceans of the sea… is in the wild.
All of this is why it totally sickens me to think that the dolphin killers consider the sentient animals they slaughter every single day as ‘fish’… As nothing more than a guppy in the water- not having any kind of awareness, or knowledge of the world. Someone that can look down into the eyes of these wise, innocent, care-free creatures and continue to stab their throats, hack at their spines and leave them to drown in their own blood is just unimaginable… I have no idea how someone could do it. I will never be able to understand it.
Today, those trainers watched the killers do just this. They picked two untarnished, young dolphins- propped them beside boats, and watched these killers hack away at the rest of their family…
I thought that the ‘beauty’, ‘wonder’ and ‘excitement’ of dolphin shows in places like SeaWorld, is meant to be the ‘bond between dolphin and mankind’… the ‘relationship’ between a dolphin and its’ ‘carer’… I’m sorry, but there is no possible way that these trainers we saw today have any love for dolphins whatsoever. There is no way that people would sit there and watch these choreographed, unnatural displays if they knew where the dolphins came from… if they knew what had happened to the dolphins’ mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children. Just so people can ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ at insulting displays which don’t show the dolphins’ natural intelligence at all… it just sickens me.
I think the thing that most affects me during the slaughter days, is coming down from the hill overlooking the killing cove, having just seen families ripped apart, and hearing the cheering, laughing, clapping, music and commentators at the nearby Whale Museum, during their daily 12pm shows. It is just a disgrace…
This morning, 8 dolphins were brutally killed.
That is all I really need to say. That one sentence basically says it all for me.
I wish it were as easy to convey the inhumanity to the dolphin hunters… and even further still- the Japanese Government.
But we will get there, there is no doubt in my mind! Watching YouTube videos just this afternoon of what the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter was like only five or so years ago is a perfect example of what awareness and exposure of this issue can bring about. It only needs to continue, in the right direction of course, for a little longer before we can shut down this industry… forever.
Please make sure you keep updated with my journey to expose the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter, and work from within Japan to end this utter madness… I have made a new YouTube account, so that people can follow my video uploads much easier- and share them to friends from all over.
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Thank you all for your kind support! The movement to end all dolphin slaughters would not exist without each and every one of us exposing it and creating awareness! So keep up all of your fantastic efforts!
On the path to protect,