Pilot Whale. Photographer: Adam Li, NOAA/NMFS/SWFSC.
A crew of marine mammal advocates from the Sea Shepherd organization plan to live-stream video from the shores of the so-called "killing Cove" in Taiji today. A pod of pilot whales were captured there yesterday and netted off in the Cove. This location was the focal point of the 2009 film "The Cove." The Sea Shepherd press release is below; the livestream is here.
Pilot whales are not often selected for captivity and it is likely all but the tiniest babies will be brutally slaughtered. The matriarch (leader of the pod) is the largest and most financially valuable and therefore usually the first to be killed. As they are so small, the babies are not of value to the killers, so they will likely be dumped at sea without their mothers, left to fend for themselves, only to become prey for other animals if they survive capture and release.
The slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises, and small whales occurs in Japan each year. In Taiji, starting on September 1st and usually continuing through March of the following year, fishermen herd whole families of small cetaceans into shallow bays and mercilessly stab and drown them to death with a metal spike inserted into their blowhole to sever their spine. They slowly bleed to death and drown in their own blood. These inhumane, brutal killings would not be allowed in any slaughterhouse in the world.
Taiji’s annual slaughter of dolphins was virtually unknown until 2003 when Sea Shepherd — an international non-profit marine conservation organization — globally released covertly obtained footage and photographs of the now infamous bloody Cove.
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