International criticism continues over whaling and dolphin hunting

sea

Controversy over the killing of whales and dolphins made international headlines this month, as marine wildlife conservationists continue to send ships to disrupt the Japanese whale hunting fleet while also revealing a live-stream of the annual dolphin hunt location.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), an international non-profit marine conservation organization, has been on the move in Australia during Japan’s annual whale hunt. Earlier this month, the SSCS located all five of Japan’s whaling vessels and captured footage of four dead whales on the deck of the Japanese ship, Nisshin Maru. “That’s just a gruesome, bloody, medieval scene which has no place in this modern world,” Sea Shepherd Australia chairman Bob Brown told ABC News.

Japan is set to hunt 1,000 whales this year, arguing that the purpose is for scientific research. Every year for the past several decades, the SSCS attempts to disrupt the hunt, and although this year has yet to see violence, it is not uncommon for more aggressive behavior to occur—from water cannons and stink bombs to crashing boats.

The SSCS is also broadcasting the killing of marine wildlife via the live-stream of Taiji Cove. Taiji Cove, located in Wakayama Prefecture, is the location where Japanese fisherman annually trap, capture, and slaughter bottlenose dolphins.

Dolphins are rounded up in the cove, and fisherman choose dolphins to be sold into captivity. The process is brutal and stressful, according to the SSCS, with bloody waters and injured dolphins trapped in the cove for days without food. As of Monday afternoon, 51 dolphins have been taken into a “life of imprisonment” in the past 3 days. The rest, around 250 of them, have reportedly been set to be slaughtered.

The 2009 Oscar-nominated documentary, The Cove, sparked public controversy and rage over the mass killing practices of dolphins. And social media has now increased the reach of these protests.

Followers of the SSCS and other wildlife conservation organizations continue to express their outrage, tweeting their disapproval with the hashtag #tweet4taiji. Along with the live-stream, the SSCS official Twitter account is live-tweeting updates and images at the cove.

Cove Guardians Cove Guardians

Ambassador Kennedy also voiced her disapproval of the inhumane actions via Twitter last night:

Caroline Kennedy

Australia has filed a case with the International Court of Justice last June that calls for an end to Japanese whaling. However, the case is still pending and a decision is not likely to be made before marine hunting season is over.

The Wakayama Prefecture officials released a statement saying the Taiji fishermen “are just conducting a legal fishing activity in their traditional way in full accordance with regulations and rules under the supervision of both the national and prefectural governments,” according to United Press International.

–Sami Kawahara