At what point does an ancient custom of herding a dolphin for slaughter become wrong? The custom of dolphin hunting has been a part of Taiji’s history for hundreds of years. To the Japanese people of this coastal town, it is a way of life. It is what they have come to know and expect every year. It is their cultural tradition.
They defend their right to this massive killing by citing cultural differences. Influences from foreign countries are not considered valid. The Mayor of Taiji has claimed that this is a tradition that has been passed down for centuries and will continue to be passed down for centuries to come.
This coastal town does indeed have an ancient history of dolphin hunting. The fishermen would hunt the dolphin out of a necessity for food. Is the food the dolphin meat provides necessary in this day and age? Is the money from the dolphin meat necessary for the community to survive? Can the people of Taiji truly not hear and feel the cries of the 200 dolphins currently trapped in Taiji Cove? The ancient custom of dolphin hunting is underway and the slaughter of these mammals is about to happen once again.
The Taiji community in Wakayama Perfecture has been granted permission from the government to hunt, roundup and kill 2,026 small porpoises or dolphins. 557 bottle nose dolphins are included in the permission.
Dolphins are rounded up by a loud banging on metal boats the fishermen are in. The dolphins are then herded into the cove. They go without food for days. Dolphins trapped in the Taiji Cove frantically leap about. The sound of the dolphins cries carry far out across the vast ocean. These mammals are then violently harpooned to death.
Mammals are warm-blooded animals. Unlike fish, the dolphins are mammals. They are also highly intelligent. Dolphins have tried in various studies to communicate with humans. Several instances have been cited over the years where a dolphin has actually saved someone’s life.
Granted, the dolphins are not close to extinction, but that does not give anyone the right to treat these animals in this brutal and barbaric way. What it might take in order to convince this coastal town in Japan is shame from their own country and people. Shame from outsiders will not faze the town.
Japan is a country where cultural pride and heritage and tradition are strongly revered. To bring shame onto one’s own self or family is to this day a disgraceful thing to do. The shame that could come from other Japanese communities may eventually be enough to create second thoughts of brutalizing these animals.
It would be a slow process, however. And hundreds of dolphins awaiting their slaughter do not have that kind of time. There is a petition site to help stop the slaughter. Social media attention and the voice of millions will draw attention to this ongoing attack.
The ancient custom of dolphin hunting has turned into a brutal slaughter allowed by the small coastal town of Taiji, Japan. It is about to turn Taiji Cove deep red with the blood of captured dolphins. To bring or wish harm and hatred to the city of Taiji and its people is wrong. To peacefully help solve the problem by education, understanding and cultural knowledge would create a global community of respect and gratitude.
Editorial by Saki Kahala