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  1. #1
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    Dolphin hunt: 'We must open our eyes'

    Dolphin hunt: 'We must open our eyes'



    The Japanese town of Taiji received unwelcome attention when The Cove, a film following its annual dolphin hunt, won an Oscar. Sayuri (not her real name), who worked as a dolphin trainer in Taiji in the 1990s, gives her reaction to the film.

    When I saw the film I was deeply shocked. What the movie shows is very similar to my own experience of working as a dolphin trainer in Taiji. Only it went further and showed things that even I hadn't seen. Sayuri: I wanted to free them but did not have the courage

    Before I ever became a dolphin trainer, I had read many books that made me think that keeping dolphins in captivity was bad.

    I wondered whether or not I should choose this profession and I decided to temporarily leave the aquarium that I was working at. I set out for Japan's Ogasawara Islands to meet some wild dolphins.

    I was literally blown away when I first saw wild dolphins. Those dolphins were smiling, they were happy. They had an agility that the dolphins in aquariums just didn't have.

    I became worried about the dolphins that I had left behind in the aquarium. I wanted to protect them, to make their lives just a little happier. And so I became a trainer of captive dolphins.

    I did my best as a dolphin trainer to devise ways to let the dolphins enjoy their time in the pools by teaching them tricks and trying to give them incentives to have fun.

    I used to go to that same cove - the one in the film - every time fishermen would capture a group of bottlenose dolphins. My job was to see if there were any dolphins suitable for captivity in an aquarium.

    Once we'd selected a few, we used to separate them into a selection pool and get them onto tanker boats. It was a tremendous sight. It was always a fight for time so we had to move as quickly as possible.

    I knew that the dolphins that were not selected for the aquarium would be killed and their meat sold for food. I was constantly at a loss for words about how that made me feel.

    I often had the impulse to cut the rope that secured the nets, but I didn't have the courage


    All I could see was that a rope was tied around the fin and they were taken away.

    What I didn't know was that they get trapped in a small cove and killed in such a violent way, that the ocean would turn red from their blood.

    There was one time when I went to the cove every day. It was when a family of killer whales was chosen for the aquarium.

    They were anxiously swimming around and with each passing day, the big dorsal fin of the leader of the group would turn over on its side and it would look up with such a sad expression.

    I often had the impulse to cut the rope that secured the nets, but I didn't have the courage.

    'Profitable business'

    After I finally left the profession, I travelled around the world to see wild dolphins.

    When I was in New Zealand, I was on a bus with people who were organising a petition against dolphin and whale hunting in Japan. I was the only Japanese person on the bus and I felt extremely embarrassed at the time.

    Fishermen in Taiji hunt both dolphins and small whales

    I think it is about time that we Japanese people open our eyes to what we are doing and what the rest of the world is asking of us.

    I know that whale meat was a common staple a long time ago. It was common in school lunches until the 1970s, for example.

    I have heard that there are many places outside Taiji where you can eat whale meat, but I believe it is a seasonal product and I have not often seen it.

    Additionally, restaurants that serve whale meat tend to be extremely expensive, so only a very small number of people who have a particular desire for the "best" whale meat go there.

    The selling and eating of dolphin meat in Japan is limited to a small number of people. Most people in Japan have no idea that dolphins are being killed for meat. People don't come across such information in their everyday lives, so they simply do not know about it.

    There are people who talk about the hunting being part of our culture. But our culture doesn't have to be such a terrible culture. There is no longer a necessity for dolphin hunting and the people who are doing it now are simply doing it for profit.

    I have seen myself fisherman rejoicing over news that a group of killer whales was caught and that a lot of money would be coming in.

    It is just a small group of hard-headed men who continue the practice of dolphin hunting with the excuse of protecting our culture.

    Foreigners would often come to Taiji to buy dolphins and I remember them saying that Taiji was the only place in the world where they were able to buy dolphins so easily.
    I'm sure that if the dolphin hunting at Taiji were to stop, the captivity of dolphins in aquariums around the world would go down.

    I wish that The Cove could be seen by as many Japanese people as possible so that they would understand what is really going on.

    I hope dolphin hunting can finally be stopped and peace brought back to the lives of the dolphins.


  2. #2
    Newbie Ken1954's Avatar
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    we aussie have beening asking you for years now.....TO NO AVAIL....

    SO STOP IT NOW.................or i will not like you

  3. #3
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    Cool article, but I'm left wondering how people could be unaware of this issue. Have they been living under a rock?

  4. #4
    Newbie Ken1954's Avatar
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    humpback whales and many more of gods creatures.....stop firing them harpones....and what about the harp seals.....oohhh god now i know why there so many problems in salom road......HUMANS

  5. #5
    Member Scandinavian's Avatar
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    That movie made me truly sad. I hope a lot of people will watch The Cove.

  6. #6
    I am in Jail
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    so where can I buy my dolphin tin ? does it come with yellow and green curry too ?

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    My wife is the one who gave the info to the BBC. It is a very sensitive issue to many people in the world (the whale hunt more so I think since it gets wider attention) but I assure you that the average Japanese person does not pay any attention to the practice. I truly is a very small percentage and as far as my wife and I know, only occurs in Taiji with any regularity.

    It is truly sad. After she saw "The Cove" and explained to me how she was involved (as per the article) I also became disgusted. The real hope is that as the older generation grows older and hopefully fewer of their offspring are indoctrinated into the practice, that it will cease.

    If you have any questions for my wife that are reasonable, I will be happy to translate and pass them on to her.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wefearourdespot
    so where can I buy my dolphin tin ?
    I believe they do mail order


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevehelium
    If you have any questions for my wife that are reasonable, I will be happy to translate and pass them on to her.
    sure, here's my question: is dolphin meat more tasty put under olive oil like tuna or smoked like salmon ?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wefearourdespot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stevehelium
    If you have any questions for my wife that are reasonable, I will be happy to translate and pass them on to her.
    sure, here's my question: is dolphin meat more tasty put under olive oil like tuna or smoked like salmon ?

    Couple of minutes each side to seal in that flavour - mmmm...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by graym View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by wefearourdespot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by stevehelium
    If you have any questions for my wife that are reasonable, I will be happy to translate and pass them on to her.
    sure, here's my question: is dolphin meat more tasty put under olive oil like tuna or smoked like salmon ?

    Couple of minutes each side to seal in that flavour - mmmm...
    Depends on how you like your heavy metals. By all means, eat as much as you can get your hands on, and remember the catchphrase, itai-itai.
    “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.” Dorothy Parker

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