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Hunting Dolphins Is OK Says Japanese Politician

Hunting Dolphins Is OK Says Japanese Politician

Defending the hunting of dolphins?  The mayor of the Japanese town of Taiji, made famous by the documentary “The Cove” has spoken out in defense of dolphin hunting.

Japan has been a lightning rod for criticism because of their hunting of dolphins and whales, animals that are considered “special” by many people.

No excuses or apologies
The Japanese Government seems unfazed by this criticism, and confrontations with the crew of the ship Sea Shepherd have failed to convince the Japanese to give up their whaling practices.

In addition to whaling, Japan has faced increased scrutiny of its dolphin hunting. The Oscar-winning 2009 documentary “The Cove” detailed the hunting of dolphins in a cove in Taiji. In addition to guerilla footage of the actual hunts, the film dealt with the risk to human health from the levels of mercury in dolphin meat.

Mayor Kazutaka Sangen cited the same tired justification of “tradition” when he defended the practice of herding dolphins into the cove and killing them one by one. And like a true politician, he seems more concerned with “standing up to pressure from foreigners” than he is to taking a moral stand.

Of course I abhor hunting dolphins, but the point in the debate that keeps catching my attention is one where I actually agree with Mayor Sangen: the idea that dolphins are “special” and therefore deserve special consideration or protection.

The star of The Cove, Ric O’Barry, believes that dolphins require protections because they “have a brain larger than the human brain. They’re self-aware, like people and like the great apes. They’re not fish, chicken, cows, pigs or other domesticated animals.” O’Barry stated this in June in Tokyo when The Cove premiered in Japan. Kazutaka Sangen however believes that dolphins are “no more special than other animals” according to the AP article.

Of course dolphins are smarter than most animals but judging a sentient being’s worth based on its intellectual capabilities is a slippery slope. Do we think of the mentally disabled as less human than the rest of us or less worthy of compassion?

A debate about the suffering of any animal should never be articulated in the context of the suffering of other animals. The way forward in the animal rights movement isn’t cherry-picking certain animals to deserve compassion and kindness while condoning the torture and murder of others. Dolphins deserve compassion because they are dolphins, not because they aren’t cows and chickens.

Any attempt to draw arbitrary lines in the animal kingdom with one side being of moral concern and the other not will only be counter productive to the movement as a whole.

“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.” -Albert Schweitzer

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Photo: Jesslee Cuizon

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115 comments

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7:10AM PDT on Mar 14, 2011

Ha Ha ha! arrogant Japan who thinks its ok to hunt dolphins and whales just got its ass kicked by mother nature! thats what you get Japen for taking these amazing creatures from the sea and slaughtering them for nothing. How does it feel now that the sea has slaughtered YOU for no real reason. Not so cocky now are you! All the tecnology and microchips in the world could not protect you from mother nature. This is called karma. I will not send a penny to relief funds to help you out after the tsunami. You got what you deserved the balance of karma is restored.

1:52PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

I'm surprised by the 48% Yes! vote,
What's up people?

1:50PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

All animals have a place in God's Plan, and they are not being allowed to fulfill their purpose. I don't think being slaughtered and eaten by humans is one of them.

1:12AM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

"Any attempt to draw arbitrary lines in the animal kingdom with one side being of moral concern and the other not will only be counter productive..." Gosh I have to agree with Albert Schweitzer. THE ARGUMENT THAT ONE ANIMAL SHOULD LIVE OR DIE OVER ANOTHER JUST BECAUSE IN OUR VIEW THEY ARE MORE VALUED BY US TO BE SMARTER OR SOME OTHER REASON DOES NOT HOLD WATER. I am serious what about the head of lettuce, or head of cabbage that is killed for our purposes. Dont they have Rights...At what point does this whole weak argument that Albert talks about fall apart?
I seriously want to know... Does a carrot or an ear of corn feel pain when it is pulled from the ground or cut down and slautered with a sharp blade. Does the orange or apple cry out when it is prematurely ripped away from its mother for our pleasure.
who are we to judge what lives and what dies? where do we draw the line?

Lets Get Real Folks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:56PM PDT on Sep 1, 2010

All animals feel fear and pain, and want to live.

GO VEGAN

4:12PM PDT on Sep 1, 2010

Hunting ANY animal is wrong, plain and simple.

9:51AM PDT on Sep 1, 2010

I don't believe that hunting one animal is worse than hunting any other one. Cows, pigs, chickens, dolphins, and ALL other animals feel the same amount of pain and suffering, and they ALL deserve to live peacefully in the habitats that God created for them to be in.

4:36AM PDT on Sep 1, 2010

I hope you get reincarnated INTO a dolphin! This is just sickening! The LOVE of money is the ROOT to all EVIL and we must rid the world of this before it gets worse!! Poor dolphins.

6:31PM PDT on Aug 31, 2010

All animals are equal. No animal 'deserves' to die more than any other animal no matter the size or species. This is just horrible and the hunting needs to be stopped. Isn't there enough facts and evidence surrounding this issue that would help put an end to the horrible suffering?

5:58AM PDT on Aug 31, 2010

Japanese people are F*cking idiotes Honestly. Ever see then Cove ? that shows what happens to dolphins that get slaughtered, & it also showed that people in japan dont eat dolphin meat so why kill it. dolphin meat has a high percentage of mercury in it, the man who owns the group or w.e that does that was tested from a hair sample & it showed he had mercury (: just to show these people do this for no reason just to make money. & that is a pretty bad reason to kill an intelligent animal even more intelligent then humans. so japan needs to stop making these retarted & pathetic excuses about " killing dolphins is okay " MOTHER FUCKER it is not okay actully !

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