Report from Taiji: January 21
A skiff and two banger boats head back to harborThe sun is shining in Taiji today. The wind is calm and the sea is smooth. The joy of seeing the banger boats return to harbor today empty-handed after just a few hours of hunting was something indescribable. We nearly held our breath out of fear all morning long that the dolphin hunters would be successful in finding their prey. When they were not, relief washed over us and we were able to relax. We returned to the hotel in high spirits and made breakfast together in my room.
It is very clear that the captive trade drives profit for this entire industry, otherwise the expense of fueling twelve banger boats every day, plus wages for about 30 men would be an astronomical cost. When you consider the statistics and realize that all of the pods they have killed in the past several weeks, aside from the pod of 40 on January 18, have been very small, it raises the question as to if they would continue to slaughter at all if the captive industry was shut down. The fishermen simply cannot be making enough money from the slaughter alone to sustain this operation.
Locals watch the banger boats from the Mountain Pass as they return to harborWhile each country in this world makes both good and bad decisions, we can learn from one another via the good decisions they make and the positive examples they set. For example, China is a country that still skins dogs and cats alive for their fur, and just within the past few years, they have become the world’s largest exporter of fur garments. But China has also recently banned performance animals in circuses and has established strict laws for the humane treatment of animals in zoos. This was a country that would once slaughter tigers while simultaneously serving their meat in the zoo restaurant, much like the Whale Museum does in Taiji, Japan by serving dolphin meat in their café, but they have now banned this unethical act of cruelty. If each country that still allows enslaved animals to perform in circuses followed in China’s footsteps in regards to banning circus animals, we could take a giant leap together in the right direction. If we are to become a species that protects animals and the environment instead of destroying them, then we need to make these changes. As the famous quote goes, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Spread the word. Raise awareness. Speak out.
Here is your opportunity to become a Cove Guardian. To join us in Taiji (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk), write to us at email@example.com. We will get back to you, but please be patient. We cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer e-mails at the same time. Contributions to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to keep our official presence here are needed and welcome. These contributions cover the costs for transport, telephone, equipment, supplies, food, and lodging for the official Sea Shepherd representative. We will remain here through the end of March and will return for the next season in September 2011.
Thank you to the citizens of Japan who are weighing these issues and beginning to take a stand to solve them. Thank you to everyone who is on the frontlines of this war. This is a war to save ourselves from ourselves. Without your calling and writing Japanese embassies and your own governments, there will be no change. Keep it up! Every time dolphins are pushed into the Cove, let them have it. Every time there is blood in the water, let them have it. Make good consumer choices. Inform everyone you know about the tragedy here and how it is linked to the captive dolphin trade. All who patronize a dolphin show have blood on their hands.
For the dolphins,
A dolphin hunter stands on a banger boat
Nicole, who will be assisting me during the next three months, will share her experiences while in Taiji on her blog.