Tag Archives: Japan

Thankful that the 2013/2014 Taiji Drive Hunt Season has ended

2013/2014 has been a horrid, but “point-tipping”, Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt season.

Much gratitude to the heroes that are the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians, led by campaign leader Melissa Sehgal, who on a daily basis documented for all the world to see the truth of the hunt, the facts of the hunt, the CHOICES of those who support the hunt: not only the fishermen who conduct the hunt, but also the legal system that provides a “color of law” to shield the hunt, and the captivity industry in any country that provides the financial incentive for the hunt.

Much gratitude to the press with special thanks to Jane Velez-Mitchell and CNN, Reuters and other media outlets who covered the horrific nature of the hunt and made the connection between the hunt and the captivity industry.

Many thanks to the celebrities who took a clear stand against dolphin hunting and captivity, focusing on both Taiji and SeaWorld, including the very special Sam Simon, Russell Simmons, Susan Sarandon, David Crosby, Shannen Doherty, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett and Heart.

So proud of the individual activists who daily write letters and emails, make phone calls, stand on the front lines to protest, and use social media to spread the message: the Voice of the Orcas, the Blackfish Brigade, Sandy McElhaney, Paige Nelson, and so many others – thousands – that I could not mention them all without leaving too many out.

Finally, much pride and gratitude for the statement of U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, whose tweet heard ’round the world gives significant hope that the world conversation has been forever changed by this season.

U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy

The Tweet Heard ‘Round the World

Be part of the solution to end dolphin hunting and captivity.  Join the communities on Facebook and Twitter to find opportunities to join the movement, to put your voice and your feet to work to free these creatures from exploitation by humans and to restore them their birthright.

Do not go to a dolphin park, aquarium or swim-with program anywhere in the world.


Taiji dolphin hunters reach new low – as they “have enough” pilot whales

Yesterday, the Taiji “fishermen” decided that they didn’t want to kill most of the 100-120 pilot whales they had trapped two days before, after having driven it via a cacophony of frightening noise and forced it to swim for untold distances into a death cove.

Pilot whales huddle as Taiji hunters select whales for slaughter

Pilot whales huddle as Taiji hunters select whales for slaughter. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conversation Society

For two days the pod saw its family members selectively ripped from among them.  For two days, the whales huddled, not knowing who would be next for the slaughter.  For two days, they swam in the stench of their family’s death.  A baby whale became trapped in the fishing nets, as its mother stayed close by,

Baby pilot whale trapped in fishing net Taiji, Japan

Baby pilot whale trapped in fishing net Taiji, Japan, as mother spy-hops nearby, helpless to intervene. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

repeatedly “spy-hopping”, helpless to do anything but stay as close as she could, while her baby drowned.

So there was something especially callous yesterday, as the “fishermen” decided that they would release the lion-share of the pod that they had driven by fear into that dead-end of life as the whales had known it.  If there were remorse on the part of the “fishermen”, if this signaled an end to the drive hunts, that would be another matter.  But all this signaled was that the “fishermen” had gotten enough use from this traumatized group of victims.  Much as rapists who have “had enough” and let their victims go, the “fishermen” decided that they had had enough use of the ones whom they had not killed but who had been forced to watch the murder of their family.

They decided to release those “survivors”.

Pilots whales terrified and traumatized are further traumatized during their release by Taiji hunters

Pilots whales terrified and traumatized are further traumatized during their release by Taiji “fishermen”. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

The scene that unfolded yesterday as the “fishermen” conducted a “release” that was probably more brutal than the capture showed these men running into the whales, roping them, using the same cacophony of terror to drive them back out to sea – because the traumatized whales were too tired, confused, and frightened to know which direction to swim.  The scene that all witnessed should raise an international outcry.  The livestreaming video, narrated by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardian, Melissa Sehgal, is not a graphic one due to scale.  There is little visual clue, but Ms. Sehgal’s narrated film, now archived, described a day that few who watched will ever forget.

Taiji fishermen lasso a pilot whale to drag it

Taiji fishermen lasso a pilot whale to drag it to “freedom”. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

This is a new low by the fishermen.  Whether the trauma survivors will beach themselves, having been through an ordeal that few in this life have, we may never learn.

But I trust that you will find a new voice to match this new low, and that you will use it to secure a ban on this dysfunction of our society that allows and even supports the torment, trauma and death of creatures, a torment that the survivors carry with them.  Say that you, too, have had enough; you have had enough of the “fishermen’s” having enough.

Use your voice to stop this now.  Sign a petition to get media on the ground. Call the buyers of the mercury-tainted flesh and tell them that you know the history of the lives that they are now selling.  Stop this atrocity.  Now.

Gentle and timid pilot whales huddled as they await their fate in the Taiji Cove

Don’t turn away from these gentle and timid pilot whales, huddled as they await their fate and the blood of their family streams in from the Taiji Cove. Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Why is it hard to stop the dolphin capture? Half a $million $reasons.

On October 9, 2012, the weather kept the boats in port in Taiji, Japan.  Many folks watching the news coming from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) Cove Guardians had gone on about their business, as the real business of Taiji transpired.  This morning, as life went on for many, over half a $million $reasons why the dolphin trade won’t stop were loaded into cargo crates, bound for destinations as yet unknown, on transport as yet unidentified.

Six dolphins, each worth, on average, over $100,000 to the Fisherman’s Union, were sold and bought, having been snatched from the ocean, where only weeks ago, they lived the life that nature gave them.  The life that mankind has now taken away.  For money.

The story unfolds for the six via a series of “tweets” from SSCS, the first, a foretelling of what was to come.

Taiji: Rain and wind have kept all killing boats in port today. However, large transfer truck at FU to transfer dolphins.

And the next with accompanying photo revealed that today was a fateful one for the six unfortunate dolphins:

Taiji: at least six dolphin transport crates are lined up at Fishermans Union. Police stand guard

SSCS Photo 1

Three of the six dolphin transfer crates are visible beyond the police standing guard at the Taiji Fisherman’s Union. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

The next messages that were sent by the Cove Guardians told of first, one, then another, dolphin being loaded into crates heading for parts unknown, but certain of a life in captivity if they survived the transport.

Taiji:! First dolphin is in truck now. Second being lifted by crane 4 more waiting to be transferred

One dolphin already loaded, the second is hoisted in its sling in preparation to be placed in a transport crate before being loaded for parts unknown. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Taiji: First captive dolphin taken from harbor pens via sling

Taiji:! First dolphin is in truck now. Second being lifted by crane 4 more waiting to be transferred

What was also disturbing as the events progressed was how unremarkable it seemed.  Minutes ticked by and more dolphins lost their lives to a future controlled by a money machine.

Taiji: Third captive dolphin being place in air cargo crate.

Taiji: Dolphin killers on skiffs and using forklifts for transfer.

Taiji: transfer 6 on skiff now. Crane is in place lifting 5th Bottlenose dolphin.

Taiji: transfer 6 on skiff now. Crane is in place lifting 5th Bottlenose dolphin.

As the fifth dolphin is hoisted toward its stowage in a cargo box, the workers transport the sixth dolphin in a skiff just off camera. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The way these events transpired with a mechanical and well-rehearsed precision masked the deep and palpable grief that they forevermore created.  For the many of you who did not witness this, it may seem like a minor “incident”.   But rest assured, that to the degree we do not stop the captivity industry, with its mindset that dolphins are “cargo”  not to be appreciated, with their own rights and intrinsic value, then we are all, my friends, buying half a $million $reasons for grief.  A grief that will last for us all until they are all free.

Taiji: A total of six Bottlenose dolphins are loaded into airplane cargo containers in transport trucks.

Six bottlenose dolphins no longer belong to themselves or to the world in which they were born. They now belong to an artifice – an artificial world with artificial people and artificial water – that regards them as a thing, not a being. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

My heartfelt appreciation to Sammarye Lewis for the theme of this piece, to Sandy Young for its heart, and to the Cove Guardians for bearing witness with their lives.

Ric O’Barry Live from Taiji, Japan

Ric O'Barry, photo from www.thecovemovie.com

For the last several days, Ric O’Barry has been live streaming via ustream from Taiji, Japan.  Mr. O’Barry, the world’s most known dolphin activist,  is discussing dolphin captivity, capture and slaughter.

I just learned about it – woops – and thought I would pass it along right away.

Click now and sign up for a reminder for a live broadcast tonight, Saturday, January 7, 2012, at 8:00 pm E.S.T.

For more information about what you can do to be part of a worldwide movement to save the world’s dolphins, go to Save Japan Dolphins.

Japanese Police Raid in Taiji Will Not Stop Dolphin Activism

Lest anyone read the accounts of the latest attacks on the Cove Guardians in Taiji (where the Japanese law enforcement manufactured a search warrant authorizing them to seize cameras and laptops of U.S. and other nations’ citizens), and be concerned that this may curtail the firm stand of dolphin activists worldwide, let me assure you that you need not worry.

There exist photographs to document the slaughter.  I repeat, one needn’t worry that activists will ever forget or will ever stop short of meeting the goal of dolphin freedom.

Photo by Brooke McDonald, prior to efforts to quash publicity about the slaughter

Neither need fear the dolphins and whales that activists will forget

  • the arrest and detainment of Dutch citizen and Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen;
  • the relentless capture and slaughter of dolphins by 26 fishermen;
  • the direct or indirect participation in the slaughter of dolphins by trainers, brokers, and aquariums by selecting from the slaughter the pretty few whom they will take into a life of captive performing and breeding; or
  • Jiyu, who did not survive the transition from freedom to captivity, from catching her own food to being force-fed by trainers;

or will be dissuaded from seeking an ethical and free life for all dolphins and whales.  No worry necessary that this will stop our efforts.  As is the case with steel, which is strengthened by fire and the hammer, the Cove Guardians and other activists worldwide are watching and learning.

But I must confess that I am worried.  It is not, however, for activists or dolphins.  It is for the casual photographer.  If having laptops and cameras justifies a search warrant . . .

When countries make photographing illegal, we're all in trouble

My camera and I will out and about today, in honor of animals and their champions everywhere, and in particular, The Cove Guardians.

For Jiyu: Japanese Embassy dolphin drive hunt call tracking

This is an open request to all believers in dolphin freedom to join me in creating a worldwide tracking of all telephone calls or letters to the Japanese Embassies about the Taiji dolphin drive hunt.

Jiyu, in her last hours. Photo by Heather Hill, Save Japan Dolphins

If you will do this with me, it will involve your taking an additional action beyond making the call or writing the letter/email, but it will give us all an idea of our united advocacy efforts on something that I do not think we have yet tracked.  That additional action is your sending me an email about your communication with the Embassy.  I know we are all busy, but I am committed to leaving no stone unturned on behalf of Jiyu and the other Japanese dolphins.

Background: When I called the Washington, D.C. Embassy this morning, I asked if I might speak to someone about obtaining a copy of the catalogue of drive hunt calls they were receiving.  I was directed to a live person who told me, very politely, that the catalogue was not for pubic dissemination.  I was assured, however, that if I wrote a letter, I would receive a response, even if it did not contain the content I was seeking.

I am, therefore, requesting that we believers in dolphin freedom continue (or begin) to make our calls or send our letters to the embassies and/or consulates requesting such information, but also begin tracking them.

The contact information for the Embassy in Washington D.C. is:

Fisheries Section
Embassy of Japan
2520 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20008
Phone: (202) 238-6700
email: jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp

and for the rest of the embassies and consulates worldwide.

I will post a tally and summary of responses on a monthly basis until the drive hunt is ended.

Summary:  your part is to

  • call an embassy and email or write me that you did it, with the date of your call; AND/OR
  • write to an embassy and email or write me that you did it with the date of your letter/email; AND/OR
  • email or mail to me a copy of the response from the embassy.

Hint: if you email an embassy/consulate, you can just copy me at forjiyu@gmail.com, so it really isn’t an extra step.   For hard-copy communication with me:

For Jiyu
Taiji Drive Hunt Catalogue
P.O. Box 365
Clarkston, GA 30021

Thank you, from the heart.  And if you don’t know what the Taiji dolphin drive hunt is, please watch the Academy Award-winning documentary, The Cove.  Once you have seen it, you will look for ways to stop the hunt.

– Mo Brock

For Jiyu, who will never be forgotten.