Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, March 31, 2008

Dolphin Slaughter Captured on Film

If you're a dolphin lover, brace yourself. It's not pretty.

Members of the group Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) spent seven months filming the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, part of Japan. The film is due for worldwide release this summer.

There are some powerful images captured for the film.

Captured dolphins were filmed writhing in pain as Taiji whalers speared them repeatedly or cracked their spines with spiked weapons. Stricken dolphins are also shown thrashing about wildly, blood pouring from their wounds until they finally succumbed. Meanwhile, a number of dolphin trainers and officials from the Taiji Whale Museum are shown cooperating in the slaughter — some even laughing — as the killing cove's bloodied, ruby-red water swept round into the adjacent capture cove.

But perhaps the most iconic scene is one in which a baby dolphin leaps to its death on the rocks after its mother is killed. This really was a surreal and incredibly sad sight to see.

What is especially mind-boggling is that the dolphin meat is not even considered safe for human consumption due to high mercury levels.

One of the officials OPS filmed was Taiji City Councilman Junichiro Yamashita, who organized certified tests on local dolphin meat bought from retail outlets in the town. The shocking test results revealed mercury and methylmercury levels that were 30 and 16 times, respectively, above advisory levels set by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. As a result, Yamashita hastily distributed newsletters to Taiji residents warning them to avoid consuming the meat — which he called "toxic waste."

So, another example where harm to humans and harm to animals clearly intersect.

Photo by Farl.

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