AMS 370 Animal Incident Paper

Submitted By rohrbach11
Words: 1458
Pages: 6

Animal Incident Paper: Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt Each year over 20,000 dolphins and porpoises are captured and brutally slaughtered in Japan. This annual dolphin hunt, taking place from September to March, is referred to as the dolphin drive hunt and is most notably taking place in Taiji, Japan. Fishermen round up the dolphins by the hundreds and herd them into hidden lagoons outside of the public eye. The cove is heavily guarded, surrounded by wire fences and “keep out” signs that forbid any sight or entry into the isolated area. These dolphins are held in captivity, some being sold to marine parks for profit while the rest are mercilessly slaughtered to death. The dolphins are butchered and their meat is sold in fish markets, even though it is tainted with high levels of mercury, making it dangerous to for consumption. In recent years, the Taiji dolphin hunt has been brought to light thanks to marine activists and the Academy Award-winning documentary film, “The Cove,” which informs and educates the public of the mass dolphin killings and mercury poisoning from their meat. The local officials and Japanese government defend the hunting practices as tradition, and argue that they are deeply rooted in Japanese culture. They also claim it is vital to the town’s economic survival, however their defen se does not excuse the fact that these killing techniques are utterly inhumane. The Taiji dolphin drive hunts are an outdated and a brutal form of animal slaughter and the meat is poisoning people unknowingly because the Japanese government is intentionally hiding it and essentially preventing the hunts from being stopped. The technique used in this method of “drive hunting” can only be characterized by the terms barbaric and completely inhumane. To explain, a group of fishermen in Taiji venture out on boats in search of pods of dolphins. Once one has been spotted, they place long, steel poles in the water and bang against the side of the boats to create a wall of sound, which alarms and frightens the dolphins. It’s important to note that dolphins’ sense of hearing is substantially more developed than humans, according to Thomas White in his book, “In Defense of Dolphins.” Research shows that dolphins make and hear sounds about eight times higher than the upper limit of our hearing ranges.1 Because of their sensitivity to sound, the dolphins become stressed and are driven into the lagoon in a state of panic. Then the fishermen seal the lagoon with nets to prevent them from escaping. Before being killed, the dolphins are held in captive while dozens of dolphin trainers hand select the most desirable dolphins for aquariums and parks. According to the journal, “Dive Fishery in Taiji” Yoshimune explains, “The selection procedure lasted for about three hours. Many of the dolphins sustained injures such as dislocated pectoral fins as they experienced gravity and rough handling by human hands for the first time. Eventually all of the dolphins were pulled to the shore and held there by ropes attached to their tails.”2 After the selection process is over, the dolphins remain in the lagoon awaiting their demise. Originally, the dolphins were killed by means of spears and knives over the sides of small fishing boats. As shown in “The Cove,” the lagoon waters would turn red from all the blood shed in these massacres. As of recently, the government banned this method and now large metal rods are used to penetrate the spinal cord, causing them to bleed out. This new method apparently causes them to die a quicker death, however they usually just bleed out or drown. According to “The Cove” documentary, the fishermen think this is a more humane method of killing the dolphins.3 However, according to Carl Safina in talking about dolphin slaughter, he states that this killing method would not be allowed in any regulated slaughterhouse process in the developed world, including Japan. He continues in explaining that the guidelines used in…