Slaughtering dolphins in a drive hunt was news in 1980. Why not now?

When fishermen in the Japanese island of Iki began the practice of slaughtering dolphins in a drive hunt shortly before 1980, it was news.  The news spread, an outcry arose, and the outcry stopped the drive hunt slaughter.

When fishermen in the Japanese town of Taiji slaughter dolphins in the same kind of drive hunt in 2012, the silence from the media is deafening.  The outcry from the public is loud, the outcry is consistent.  And yet the Isana Fishermen’s Union kill more dolphins and whales at every opportunity, at market price.  With no media reporting this news.

Why the difference?

Dolphin Slaughter on in Japan

In 1980 it was news when fishermen in the town of Iki, Japan, drove dolphins to their deaths. The outcry stopped the slaughter. Why isn’t it “news” in 2012? Or 2011? Or . . .

While only the media knows why they make their decisions, a few facts highlight the differences between then and now.

  • The fishermen at Iki considered hunting dolphins as a means of exterminating a competitor for their fisheries.  Truth.  Read the news article.
  • The fishermen at Iki, recognizing that dolphin was not considered a food source, ground up the dolphins to use as fertilizer.  Truth.  Read the news article.
  • The Iki fishermen after “dismantling” the dolphins, also fed the ground up dolphins to pigs. Truth.  Read the other news article, from the Montreal Gazette.

But, more importantly,

  • The Iki fishermen were not paid hundreds of thousands of dollars on a “per dolphin” basis by the aquarium industry.
  • The Iki fishermen were not paid a per poundage basis that “human food” would fetch.


  • The aquarium industry in 1980 did not shop for dolphins in Iki, Japan.
  • Japanese dolphins were not even sold, collaterally, as human food  in 1980.
Evening Independent 022980 Protestors barred from dolphin slaughter site in Iki Japan

Even though protestors were barred from the site, the world was watching, even in the limited a way we could in 1980, because the mainstream media was covering the news.

So, even though protestors were barred from the site of the Iki dolphin slaughter, the slaughter was halted.  Certainly, the activists at Greenpeace did not stop working merely because they were barred from witnessing the slaughter.  Much the same as the Sea Shepherd Conversation Society Cove Guardians and the Save Japan Dolphins Cove Monitors are not stopping, merely because of a few strategically-placed blue tarps.

Meanwhile, as the “CGs” and the “CMs” continue their work of documentation and deterrence, social media groups continue their campaigns to support the efforts of those on the ground by raising awareness not only of the horror on the ground, but where to find the real-time information, actions that people can take on their own by providing phone and fax numbers, email addresses, hashtags on Twitter, demonstration events, and focused “CALLs TO ACTION,” some to gain media attention.  The leadership also continues their good work to raise awareness, through the publication of books, such as Ric O’Barry’s re-release of Behind the Dolphin Smile.

I don’t know why media won’t show up.  But I do know that the main difference between 1980 and 2012 is in the following picture.

Sea Shepherd CS Cove Guardian pic 0912 dolphin headed to aquarium Dolphin Base Taiji Japan

A dolphin ripped from the ocean in September 2012 in Taiji, Japan, is destined for a life as a “trick pony” for the aquarium industry. Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians on Facebook

For more information and an engaging discussion where you’ll learn why a boycott against Japan as a whole is a misplaced idea, and where racism and hate speech will not be tolerated, please visit the Facebook community page of Save Misty the Dolphin.

2 responses to “Slaughtering dolphins in a drive hunt was news in 1980. Why not now?

  1. Tell Taiji, Japan to LEAVE our mammals alone!! They don’t deserve to die, they have every right to be free, and don’t they realise that they could be taking mercury into their bodies due to eating these mammals???!!


    • I believe we all need to tell the aquarium and marine park industry that THEY are the problem, not a small fishing village in Japan. Taiji is where the horror happens, and as long as the aquarium industry makes its millions from people who continue to slide the green their way AND as long as people believe that there is no connection between the slaughter in Taiji and the dolphin tricks in their local aquarium, the little fishing village will continue.

      Don’t let your friends drive drunk, and don’t let your friends contribuute to whale and dolphin slaughter: don’t let your friends go to the dolphin show.

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