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Headlines      Animal Rights Activists Meet Taiji Mayor, Japan, To Argue Dolphin Hunt
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Animal Rights Activists Meet Taiji Mayor, Japan, To Argue Dolphin

Activists from the animal rights group Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society and the mayor of a tiny, remote village in Japan met last
Tuesday to try and find some common ground over the controversial annual
dolphin hunt that has traditionally been held from September to March.

Each year during the annual event the 3500 fisherman and town’s people
herd up and kill up to 2300 dolphins into an isolated cove.

The idyllic village on the eastern coast of Japan boasts being
the first whale hunters, a tradition that began in the 1600’s yet the dolphin
hunt began long before that.

Until September each year 100’s of dolphin play in the
cove swimming amongst the young villagers as summer draws people into the warm

Come September and through to March each year that warm
water turns red with the blood of the dolphins that have clung to the coast. 

The killing has been known for centuries “oikomi”.  Traditionally fisherman row out on the sea in
their boats, bang on metal poles creating a wall of sound.  With loud noise the dolphins are directed
close into an inlet and then harpooned.

While the best of the animals are sold to aquariums, the
others are killed and sold as food.

Each year the Japanese Government allows the slaughter of
up to 20,000 animals, but in recent years animal activists have brought international
attention to the ritual.  The Cove, a documentary
depicting the hunt last year won an Academy Award for best documentary. Since then
pressure from Animal Rights Groups has mounted. 

While Tuesday’s meeting appeared to amount to nothing
except an exchange of ideas there is no doubt that over the next years more
attention will be paid to the rights of Dolphins and the villagers.
If you have any comments please email Mary Banfield:
All (reasonable) comments will be uploaded onto the site.
Many thanks to Yashi for the following comment!
Dear Mary,

In my opinion, it was good to have a conference meeting between the
Taiji town officials and protest-group representatives in Taiji on Nov.
2nd, however it is up to the local residents’ decision whether they
continue a coastal dolphin hunting (day catch) for their own purposes
since the hunting does not endanger the population of the species. 
Plus, there was no significant health risk of mercury found to the Taiji
residents as the Minamata Institute, which is one of the leading
research institutions, announced this year. 

Yashi Osaka
North Carolina, USA


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