Every single year in Japan, 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales are slaughtered. Starting in September and continuing through to March, fishermen drive entire families of small cetaceans into shallow coves where they brutally stab and drown them.
The hunts are notoriously savage. First the fishermen surround pods of migrating dolphins, then they lower metal poles into the water and bang them to frighten the animals and disrupt their delicate sonar abilities. The dolphins are then herded into narrow bays before being viciously murdered. The best looking dolphins are separated and sold to aquariums.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an organization dedicated to putting an end to this senseless slaughter, were among the first to bring the issue to light in 2003, when they globally released undercover footage and images of the now infamous bloody “Cove” in the village of Taiji, Japan. Before this, these annual killings were virtually unheard of, but in recent years more and more people from around the world have been made aware of this bloody and inhumane practice and are actively choosing to stand against it. Our own amazing Care2 members came together, and more than 470,000 of you signed the petition against this practice.
Together we can make even more of a difference. If you want to stop this massacre, then here are five ways you can help:
1. Become a Cove Guardian - Support the dolphins on the frontlines in Japan by applying to become a Cove Guardian and joining existing teams in Taiji to help monitor the Cove. The ongoing presence of activists standing watch in solidarity with the victims demonstrates the determination and commitment of individual change makers from all over the world, increasing global pressure on Japan to end these cruel and destructive practices.
2. Boycott Industries That Exploit Sea Life – Purchasing tickets to visit dolphinariums, aquariums and participating in other captive dolphin programs such as “swimming with the dolphins” is buying blood in Taiji. Recent documentaries such as Blackfish and The Cove clearly show that orcas and dolphins do not belong in captivity. Ripping apart families and depriving them of their freedom to the open ocean is unethical. Training of dolphins is often deliberately misrepresented to make it appear as though dolphins perform because they like it, when in reality they perform because they are deprived of food. Captive dolphin industries are directly linked to the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji.
3. Spread The Word – Let your friends and family know about the problems of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity and ask them to help join you in ending this atrocity. To share the message with a wider audience, write a blog on your personal website to educate your fans or send a letter to your local newspaper asking them to run a story to help raise awareness.
4. Contact The Authorities – Call, write and email the Japanese consulates in your own country and also the appropriate agencies within Japan to express your outrage and ask them to please stop killing these innocent creatures. By voicing your concerns to the authorities they will soon begin to take notice of the growing international concern surrounding this issue, causing them to consider vital and necessary changes. For a full list of current contact details visit the official Sea Shepherd Conservation Society website.
5. Sign Petitions – Signing petitions really does make a big difference. Not only do our collective voices speak volumes, the effect of a petition goes far beyond the list of actual signatures. Journalists write stories about petitions, signers get inspired to take additional action and other potential targets conform their behavior to avoid being targeted.
Make sure you sign the petition below urging The World Association for Zoos and Aquariums who are closely connected to the Japanese dolphin slaughter to expel Japan and other facilities that have purchased dolphins from the drive hunts from their organization.
Photo Credit: Save Japan Dolphins