Stop Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji Taiji is regarded as the spiritual home of Japan‘s whaling industry. The first hunts took place in the early 1600s, according to the town’s whaling museum, but the industry went into decline after the introduction of a global ban on commercial whaling in 1986. The town, a six-hour train ride from Tokyo, is dotted with restaurants serving whale and dolphin sashimi and cetacean iconography appears on everything from the pavements and bridge balustrades to road tunnels and a wind turbine. Yet in other respects it does not have the feel of a town that takes pride in its traditions. Last week’s pilot whale cull was conducted in inlets shielded on three sides by steep cliffs and dense undergrowth to deter campaigners and journalists. Barriers have been hastily erected along coastal paths that run through publicly owned land. Local fishermen point out that the dolphins and other small cetaceans are not covered by the whaling moratorium. What critics regard as the senseless slaughter of intelligent creatures they see as a legitimate exercise in pest control, blaming dolphins for decimating fish stocks. “People say dolphins are cute and smart, but some regions have a tradition of eating dolphin meat,” said Toshinori Uoya, a fisheries official. “Dolphin-killing may be bad for our international image, but we can’t just issue an order for it to stop.”(a) related article click here Let us dive into the secrets of the little town Each year from September to May over 20,000 dolphins are slaughtered in Japan. Fishermen round them up by the hundreds using sound barriers to disorient and herd the frantic pods out of their normal migrations into hidden lagoons like the one featured in The Cove. Bottlenose dolphins, especially ones that look like Flipper, are pre-selected by trainers and sold off for upwards of $200,000 to marine mammal parks around the world, where they will remain in captivity performing as circus acts. After the trainers and spectators have left, the rest of the dolphins are inhumanely killed in what can only be described as a massacre. The butchered dolphins are later used for food, but the Japanese government has intentionally sheltered people from the dangers of eating them. Consumers of dolphin meat run the risk of mercury poisoning due to high levels of the toxin within the animals. Adding to the danger, much of the pricier whale meat they purchase is actually mislabeled toxic dolphin meat. While the Japanese government defends dolphin hunting as part of their cultural heritage, this tradition has serious health effects on its own people. The more lucrative captive dolphin industry is the driving economic force behind the dolphin slaughter in Taiji. In the U.S. alone, dolphinariums represent an $8.4 billion industry, while a dead dolphin fetches a mere $600. International law provides no protections against the killing of dolphins, and other slaughters occur in places outside of Japan. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) affords no protections for 71 (out of 80, known) cetacean species, including all dolphins and porpoises, which is why Japan and other countries can legally kill them by the tens of thousands. So the Question we put to in front of everybody will the slaughter continue ? Small cetaceans, namely dolphins are not protected by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In fact, the IWC affords no protections for 71 (out of 80, known) cetacean species, including all dolphins and porpoises, which is why Japan can legally kill them by the tens of thousands. The Japanese people have been intentionally sheltered from the slaughter, and the large majority are still unaware that much of the meat they purchase is actually mislabeled dolphin meat. for related article click here Dolphin slaughter turns the sea red as Japan Hunting season returns Over the next six months the town’s fishermen will catch about 2,300 of Japan’s annual quota of 20,000 dolphins. The meat from a single animal fetches up to 50,000 yen (£330), but aquariums are prepared to pay up to £90,000 for certain types. In a typical hunt the fishermen pursue pods of dolphins across open seas, banging metal poles together beneath the water to confuse their hypersensitive sonar. The exhausted animals are driven into a large cove sealed off by nets to stop them escaping and dragged backwards into secluded inlets the following morning to be butchered with knives and spears. They are then loaded on to boats and taken to the quayside to be cut up in a warehouse, the fishermen’s work hidden from the outside by heavy shutters. Taiji officials said all the pilot whales caught on this expedition had been killed and their meat put on the market, but added that half of the bottlenose catch would be sold to aquariums and the remainder “set free”, in an apparent attempt to mollify international opinion. It is impossible to verify those claims. The bottlenose dolphins were still penned in close to the shoreline more than 24 hours after they had been captured The gruesome spectacle of dolphins being slaughtered for profit has returned to Taiji, just as international condemnation of the Japanese town’s annual cull reaches a crescendo. At least 100 bottlenose dolphins and 50 pilot whales have been taken in the first hunt of the season, which began on 1 September. The tarpaulin covers have been meticulously erected, but they can’t completely mask the brutality of the slaughter unfolding below. Even from the clifftop, it is possible to hear the hunters’ voices and the thrashing of tail fins as their prey make a final, fruitless bid for freedom. Occasionally a hunter emerges into the gaps between the covers, grimacing as he plunges his knife into the water. Minutes earlier the sea around him was emerald green. Now it is turning a deep crimson, the morning air tainted with the stench of freshly drawn mammal blood. for related article click here Some briefing about Taiji, Wakayama Taiji (太地町 Taiji-chō?) is a town located in Higashimuro District, Wakayama, Japan. As of 1 January 2011, the town has an estimated population of 3,225 and a population density of 541 persons per km². The total area is 5.96 km². Taiji is the smallest local government by area in Wakayama Prefecture because, unlike others, it has not experienced a merger since 1889, when the village of Moriura was merged into Taiji. Taiji shares its entire overland border with the town of Nachikatsuura and faces the Pacific Ocean. Taiji has long been well known as a whaling town and spearheaded the development of more sophisticated traditional whaling techniques in the 17th century. In 1988, a ruling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) caused Taiji to suspend commercial whaling. However, the town continues to hunt small whales and dolphins. Taiji’s annual dolphin hunt is a subject of controversy and the town faces continued pressure from protest groups. History of Taiji related to dolphin’s Slaughter Taiji has been primarily known as a whaling town. Japanese traditional whaling techniques were dramatically developed here in the 17th century, and the commercial hunting and catching of dolphins remains a major source of income for its residents to this day. Wada Chubei organized the group hunting system (???) and introduced new handheld harpoon in 1606. Wada Kakuemon, later known as Taiji Kakuemon, invented the whaling net technique called Amitori ho (???) to increase the safety and efficiency of whaling. This method lasted more than 200 years. The town was dealt a massive blow in 1878 when a large group of fishermen endeavored to kill a whale. The sheer strength of the whale pulled many of the fishermen out to sea. Refusing to cut loose the whale until it was too late, many fishermen were lost or drowned at sea as result. Around a hundred fishermen died during this episode. Taiji’s whaling industry became buoyant again after the Russo-Japanese War as it became a base for modern whaling. When the Antarctic whaling started, Taiji provided crews for the whaling fleet. In 1988, Taiji suspended their commercial whaling as a result of a ruling by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The town continues to hunt small whales, such as melon-headed and pilot whales, as well as dolphins; commercial activities which are not regulated by the IWC. Whalers from Taiji also participate in the annual hunt for minke whales, which is sanctioned under IWC regulations for scientific purposes. According to the Fisheries Research Agency, 1,623 dolphins were caught in Wakayama Prefecture; this figure represents about 13% of the total national dolphin catch for that year. In 2008, 1,484 dolphins and whales were caught. In 2009, 2,317 dolphins and whales were caught, just under the town’s self-imposed quota of 2,400. The town’s annual dolphin drive hunt was featured in the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove. Some people who appeared in the film, including Taiji assemblyman Hisato Ryono, have stated that the documentary’s producers lied to them about the film’s intended content. Since the film’s release, more activists than before, many from outside Japan, have gone to Taiji to observe or protest the annual dolphin slaughter, which usually begins in September. As a result, in July 2011, the town announced it was reinforcing its police presence at the cove where the killings take place by operating a 24-hour, 10-man koban in order to prevent confrontations between activists and locals.
Now we should also look at the health report of the citizen of Taiji
In 2009, hair samples from 1,137 Taiji residents were tested for mercury by the National Institute for Minamata Disease (NIMD). The average amount of methyl mercury found in the hair samples was 11.0 parts per million for men and 6.63 ppm for women, compared with an average of 2.47 ppm for men and 1.64 ppm for women in tests conducted in 14 other locations in Japan. From the total population, 182 Taiji residents who showed relatively high mercury levels over 7.2 ppm, including 18 men and 5 women over 50 ppm, underwent further medical testing to check for neurological symptoms of mercury poisoning.None of the Taiji residents displayed any of the traditional symptoms of mercury poisoning, according to the Institute. However, the Japan Times reported that the mortality rate for Taiji and nearby Kozagawa, where dolphin meat is also consumed, is over 50% higher in comparison to some other similarly sized villages in other regions of Japan. However, the study makes no mention of specific causes of death nor does it mention relevant age demographics: as Taiji has 1,225 elderly residents (aged 65 years or older) and Kozagawa has 1,531 elderly residents, both towns have more elderly residents, up to twice as many, as towns mentioned in the study, such as Hiezuson, Tottori (699). The chief of the NIMD, Koji Okamoto, said, “We presume that the high mercury concentrations are due to the intake of dolphin and whale meat. There were not any particular cases of damaged health, but seeing as how there were some especially high concentration levels found, we would like to continue conducting surveys here.” NIMD ran further tests in 2010 and 2011. Hair from 700 Taiji residents were tested for mercury; 117 males and 77 females who showed over 10 ppm underwent further neurological tests. Again, no participant displayed any signs of mercury poisoning. In August 2012, a research project to investigate the health effects of mercury on children was launched by NIMD
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