When the Equinox lands this Thursday the 20th of March, you have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of innocent animals by protesting the capture and slaughter of dolphins that is an atrocious annual tradition in Japan’s Taiji Cove.
The little cove’s dirty great secret was uncovered in 2003, when marine conservation society Sea Shepherd released images of the now infamous ‘bloody cove’ – revealing the epicentre of the annual murder of[masked] dolphins, porpoises and small whales which occurs in Japan every year between September and March. Since 2010 Sea Shepherd has maintained an ongoing presence of volunteers standing watch on the Cove site, known as The Cove Guardians.
Australian Cove Guardian Emillie describes the scene she witnessed at Taiji Cove…
“A pod of 250 bottlenose dolphins spent days netted in the cove while their family unit was torturously torn apart. Dolphins deemed worthy for a life of captivity were stolen away. The remainder waited - disoriented, frightened and hungry until the eventual slaughter. On an almost daily basis I continued to witness intelligent, wild and free dolphin pods systematically driven into the cove only to depart as a commodity, either as a petrified prisoner or lifeless meat for human consumption. Every day, six months of the year, this is the reality of Taiji. And it is a visibly decaying town, symbolic of its archaic practices.”
The Japanese government maintain that Taiji is part of a cultural tradition, and yet the evidence is clear that this is a commercially driven endeavour, with the animals ending up in captivity, on the food market, or simply left injured in the oceans to die. Unlike whales, dolphins do not have an international organisation to offer them protection, so it really is down to us - the people of the international community to care enough to take action for these animals which scientists are increasingly discovering to be highly intelligent, emotional and social beings.
Momentum is building rapidly for the opposition of dolphin and whale slaughter and capture in the form of global protests, a viral storm of Internet activity and media coverage including high profile documentaries. In 2009 the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove was released, featuring Richard O’Barry, a former dolphin capturer and trainer for the TV Series Flipper, who later dedicated his life to preventing the very same practice. The impact of this film now looks set to be matched by the recent release of the documentary Blackfish, which chillingly reveals the immorality and tragic consequences of keeping orca whales in captivity.
Continued pressure is crucial. This Equinox Protest will act as a follow up to the extremely successful protest event of February 20th, during which over 1000 people arrived outside the Japanese embassy to show their derision at the Japanese government’s continued support of the annual slaughter.
The world is waking up to the horrific reality of Taiji cove, but nothing will change unless we turn our awareness into action. Please join us at the protest on March 20th, to show Japan and the world that we no longer accept this and bring about a change desperately overdue.
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