A Grim Return

There’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself to witness slaughter on a mass scale.

Returning for my third season here in Taiji, Japan yesterday showed me just that.

Arriving yesterday afternoon, the news that I was greeted with instantly made me sick to my stomach- over 100 Pilot Whales had been captured within the cove that morning, waiting to be slaughtered.

I travelled into Taiji yesterday afternoon for the first time since last season. This time, the first stop was the new ‘Police Box’ where all new activists must report for questioning upon their arrival in the town. When I had left last year, the police station at the cove was newly being built… This year, the police presence has grown immensely!

After talking with the police, I wanted to head straight to the Cove.

The sight that greeted us was one of pure heartbreak. Huddled together and confused, the huge pod of Pilot Whales were barely moving, except for the occasional spy-hop or tail slap. Some members of the pod were enormous and of old age, some were newborn calves; still sporting ‘birth rings’ along their bodies. We remained at the cove for hours until the sun had set. Ever present these days, the police had set up powerful lights which shone out over the whole beach overnight..

After a very restless sleep, we awoke this morning and set out for the cove at 5am. After what would have been a night of absolute terror for these sentient beings, we arrived at the cove to find that the pod had hardly moved at all, still clutching onto each other, huddled up and giving comfort in the form of physical touch. Their stress levels were noticeably increasing, however, with every hour that passed…

We did not have to wait long until the dreaded skiff full of dolphin killers showed up.

They began herding some of the pod into the killing cove- the pod put up quite a valiant struggle against the nets, boats, sounds, engines, propellors and men that were trying so desperately to end their lives… The dolphin killers selected some of the largest pilot whales from the pod and dragged them by a rope harnessed around their tail fluke, into the killing cove. The next time that they emerged, they were lifeless and tied to the side of boats- headed for the butcherhouse.

What teared away at my insides most today was seeing innocence in its’ purest form be greeted with such atrocious acts of indifference and cruelty. This morning, one of the young calves became trapped in a net, and was very visibly struggling to free itself, while its’ mother looked on close by. This went on for a long time, while the dolphin killers stood merely metres away- too busy and transfixed on their money-generating slaughter to even acknowledge the calf, let alone free it. After a while, the calf vanished- it had drowned in the net, with its’ mother by its’ side… helpless.

In my opinion, the development of human indifference has been the most dangerous thing that has ever occurred on this planet. When we’re children, we are taught right from wrong. In school, we are constantly urged to show respect for others, compassion and kindness. We know when we are doing the wrong thing, we know when our words or actions hurt another- we have been instructed how to live a life of peace from an early age.

But, somewhere along the path of growing up, we lose all of this kindness and compassion- we become indifferent and apathetic to the problems in this world, always leaving it for another to take responsibility.

We are ALL responsible for what goes on in this world, and it is up to every single one of us to make the conscious change to live a compassionate life and to stand up for those without a voice. For if we do not do so quickly, there may not be many more generations to teach this compassion to. This is YOUR time to stand up, have your voice counted and do something that will change the world.

Just consider; what kind of a world do you want your kids and grandkids to see? What kind of legacy would YOU like to leave behind?

At the end of the day, 15 Pilot Whales were killed during the slaughter, including the calf that drowned. The remaining 80-90 whales are still currently within the cove, awaiting their fate tomorrow morning…

We will be updating live from the cove in the morning- you can keep updated on the official Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians’ Facebook Page. Or follow #tweet4taiji on Twitter!

I’ll be updating this blog as well as my Facebook every day whilst I’m here in Taiji! A huge thank you to those of you who have already sent such kind words of support, I really do appreciate it and it helps to get through the days here knowing that we have such a strong network of support worldwide!

Until tomorrow…

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  1. Oh Nicole, This post made me cry..again…thank you for caring and for spreading the word. It just makes me heartsick.. you and.the Cove Guardians are so strong as I know that I could never bear witness to this horror. We can never give up. Again, stay strong and thank you. My children are 9 and 11 and are advocates as well. My hope is that we will not need Cove Guardians when they grow up and that this capture and slaughter will end. Hugs to you.

  2. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you who report these acts of sadness. Being in the military I understand that sometimes being raised in a culture to believe that these acts are normal, functional, and sometimes a sacred part of their lives from birth. Without the outside awareness and education this continues for Decades. I hope that with what you all are doing you can touch a number of lives that can be opened to the thought that this can not and must not continue. To change just one is simple proof that you being there was worth the sacrifice. Thank you for what you do. I will no longer support marina life entrapment and continue to teach my children who in turn will teach their children that being captive for our entertainment is a defiance to the nature beauty we can experience with a vacation into thier natural enviornment.

  3. I have nothing but admiration for you Nicole McLachian … please stay strong and keep letting the world know what is happening … you are right – human indifference to pain and suffering is a disease we must all fight to stop it spreading …

  4. Oh, Nicole. Words and tears cannot express the deep grief I feel for all the lost souls and those yet to be caught and killed. 1000 years of crying wouldn’t suffice. Love to you

  5. Vicariously we watch this unfold. Thank you for being there, it must mess with your sanity. While we can close our computers and momentarily go about life as we know it – you can’t you’re living this nightmare. We’re behind you Kia Kaha x

  6. I have cried and cried over this nightmare. I admire you for being there and trying to make a difference. It’s breaking my heart from here. I can’t imagine what it’s doing to you. The whole world needs to know. We need to make a change.

  7. Your photos and blog help those of us who cannot be there “see” the heartbreaking horrors and cruelty that take place in Taiji. No doubt not the same as what you are witnessing in person. Thank you and please know that I cry with you and the other Cove Guardians and would be there too if I could. This disgusting tragedy must end!

  8. I wish I had your courage but to bear witness to such a thing would utterly destroy me. I am so very disgusted that human beings could do such a thing, not once but constantly. I have been so frustrated that we cannot do something to stop the slaughter now before any more are killed, all we seem to do is talk about it. A very sad day. Good on you for sticking with it.

  9. What is the chance of generating money to hire boats or helicopters to drive the whales and dolphins away ahead of the killing boats? People I’m sure would donate to do that. Also what is the chance of getting any help with publicity from Hayden Panatierre, the actress who has a very successful TV show right now and actually came to Taiji and swam there to bring publicity to it in the past. I’m grasping at straws here, but anything to alleviate this suffering and end this outrageous animal cruelty and abuse and stop selling meat that is tainted in the first place let alone the slaughter that is allowed to bring it to market. Thank you for your efforts
    Debra Heverly, m.d.

  10. Thank you Nicole for exposing this! God bless the souls of these innocent creatures! My heart aches for them!
    The more people who know and care, the higher the chance that it will be brought to a stop one day.

  11. Thank you thank you for trying. This is so heartbreaking & we’re even at such a distance, while you’re on the ground there! I pray for you too sweet person with such a big heart.

  12. I cannot even begin to comprehend what you must be going through (thousands of miles away in South Africa, I am weeping). Thank you for caring enough to expose this to the world!

  13. danke für die Bilder, die mich sehr traurig machen, ich würde auch gerne direkt an Ort und Stelle mithelfen dieses barbarische Abschlachten/Töten von den armen Tieren zu verhindern. Warum kann man diese Netze nicht zerstören, damit die erst einmal keine Wale so in die Netze bekommen können

  14. Nicole, your article is beautiful, eloquent, and brims of truth and love for our planet. I admire you tremendously for being a voice for these unfortunate victims of human brutality. Thank you so much and keep your voice strong and clear.

  15. Nicole, I would drop everything right now to come & fight alongside you for these Beautiful Beings who are being so brutally slaughtered!!! My heart is breaking, breaking, breaking!!! What can normal people like me do to help, apart from create awareness? How can this be allowed to continue!?!?

  16. I am deeply touched by your energy and sharing.
    You are an incredible inspiration.
    My heart is there every moment in Taiji and I am deeply thankful to know that you are there with the others giving voice to these incredible sentient beings.

  17. this has to stop its so heartbreaking what these poor whales n dolphins have to endure at the hands of these ruthless killers in soul i am with you all and pray that the ones that do escape stay free where they belong thank for trying to get the world to see whats happening keep strong keep faith

  18. My heart breaks again while reading this. I have so much respect for you & all the cove guardians who bear witness these barbaric practices. With all the photos, blogging , videos & the many people involved. We will stand as one & these atrocities will come to an end. Many blessings.

  19. Beautiful and wise written! A lack of compassion is why the society is so very ill nowadays. The result of expanding individualism and materialism in the last centuries. I guess it must even go more wrong before people want to change this. There’re still a lot of people with compassion on this planet, so there’s still hope. In the meantime I’ll watch you and the others in silence and with respect… It’s a heavy job you choose to do. I can’t do it, but I’ll show my support.

  20. Thank you for being our eyes and ears Nicole. I dont know how you do it, but we are all there with you in our hearts.

  21. hard to find any words……hard to whatch this……and go further doing my job…..business as usual…..but it hurts!!…..very much….

  22. Nicole, Thanks so much for reporting to the world on this barbaric atrocity. It takes so much courage, strength and determination to witness such horrific cruelty and slaughter of these beautiful creatures. You are right compassion and empathy is so lacking in the world especially towards our animal species. It is so important for parents to teach their children to love and respect all animals and fight for a cruelty free world. Outdated Cultural practices such as this need to always be exposed, people need to be educated, laws need to be changed, people in the rest of the world need to fight for what is right! It’s a slow but sure process and we Thank you for fighting that fight! Our hearts go out to all the beautiful innocent whale and dolphin souls who are sacrificed so man can evolve into a more compassionate being. Sending love and strength ❤

  23. how horrible and inconsiderate can some companies be, murdering defenceless and beautiful animals. Just the fact that even the calves got slaughtered as well is heart breaking. This is defiantly another reason for me being a vegan, I don’t want any of these brutal slaughters on my conscious. Im so heartbroken over these senseless killings. ;( RIP

  24. May You All have the Strength & Courage to endure what Taiji Japan continues to Brutality do to these Beautiful Sentient Beings. Bringing Awareness is crucial. My Prayers are with you All. Thank you for being there and being a voice for the voiceless. God Speed Much Love and we will continue to help you all until #TheCove Runs Blue Forever. #Tweet4Taiji

  25. Nicole, esto es terrible!!!!! Terrible es que esa gente continúa y continúa cometiendo atrocidades contra estas personas no humanas, Y NO HAY QUIEN LOS DETENGA!!!! realmente es algo desesperante y enloquecedor, ERES MUY VALIENTE!!!! solo que me parece que la estrategia para evitar que siga pasando este HORROR no está resultando muy eficiente. QUÉ SUFRIMIENTO NICOLE!!!!!!!!

  26. Well done Nicole. You’re a lot braver than most. Keep up the good work. What a very sad day/s for these poor helpless creatures who wouldn’t hurt a soul!!! Isn’t their meat poisonous to a human once consumed?

  27. Dear Nicole, your beautiful words are so true and very touching … can’t help crying …. I have so much respect for what you guys are doing over there : to watch these terrible slaughters, even if it makes you sick to the stomach, must be very hard for people with such a beautiful and pure soul like you. I truely hope that this horror may stop soon, very soon !!! I wish all of you guys over there who are trying to protect what’s so precious to this planet, all the strength and luck you need to keep going on, and on, and on ……..

  28. My heart was devastated by your writing…..as a Sea Shepherd Volunteer myself I feel so helpless sometimes, it hurts so much knowing that there are some people in this world who have no compassion, whose only lot in life is to torture and kill innocent creatures who did not deserve the fate they have been dealt.

  29. “The development of human indifference…” Nicole, this is a brilliant analysis. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts with the world. You are a gift.

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