maandag, 20 september 2010 00:00

Report from Taiji:  September 20

Pilot Whales in the cove

About a dozen pilot whales are now imprisoned in the killing cove at Taiji, Japan.  The hammer boats drove them into the cove in two groups this morning. We watched the boats perform their macabre dance out in the ocean.  Quickly and efficiently they moved across the water. It would have been poetic had it not been for the terrified whales dashing before them.

It was a surreal scene at the cove today. This is Monday of a holiday weekend and there were many travelers passing through. There were even families here with children playing in the water and seemingly unaware that just 100 meters away whales were held behind nets in the killing cove. Other travelers were aware that the whales were there and lots of photographs were taken today by a couple dozen cameras. Groups of fishermen were also there to keep watch over their “catch.” The police warned us that we would be arrested if we broke any Japanese law. I said we were not here to break laws, but to witness laws being broken.

While we were keeping our vigil, I started showing the movie The Cove on my laptop.  Several Japanese travelers stopped and watched the scene of the dolphin slaughter. One woman turned away in tears. Other Japanese told us that few people in Japan know what is happening here and that everyone is told that Sea Shepherds are criminals. Dwight asked a woman if she thought that of us after meeting us. She admitted that she did not.  We also pointed out that if Sea Shepherd were illegal, we would be arrested. She noted that the police were there and no one was under arrest.

Dolphins scarred white
The normally dark grey/black Pilot Whales are
scarred white by the sharp rocks in this shallow
and very small space in the killing cove

Some of the Japanese who have spoken with us over the past week have offered, “It is their (or our) culture,” referring to the killing of whales and dolphins here in Taiji, and it is something that must be respected and certainly not criticized by outsiders. What I see though, does not support this assertion. If something is of cultural significance, it is something in which the participants take pride. There is no pride here or their killing would be in plain view for their families and the world to see. At least the Faeroese are honest about their slaughter. Instead though, the butchers in Taiji hide in a cove and have blocked paths in a national public park. The police back up this policy of seclusion by threatening to arrest any who venture past the barricades. No, this is not cultural. It is just something that they have been doing for a long time and they do it for economic gain.  For the participants to call this cultural is a lie.  For the members of the Japanese public to call this cultural is a handy excuse to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the crime. It is a sham as are the claims of research by the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) regarding commercial whaling enterprises in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.  I dare the killers to bring their deeds out into the public domain and I challenge the Japanese public to take a real hard look at what is happening here. Do not take my word for it or dismiss my evidence. Come see for yourself. Look deeply into what is happening here and the motives that drive it.

The whales are now trapped, awaiting their fate. We do not know what will happen next.  We suspect these whales will be slaughtered at dawn and we will be here no matter what happens.

Our fellow Cove Guardians the Millers have to leave us in two days.  Who can come now to help?

We need your help. Spread the word, send donations, and if you can, come join us. To join us (voluntarily, and completely at your own cost and risk) in Taiji, write to me at  I will get back to you, but please be patient. I cannot keep an eye on the Cove and answer email at the same time.

For the Oceans,

Scott West
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Follow my daughter’s blog of these events.

Tarah Millen will be joining us here in November.  She has started a blog about her endeavor.

Driving the Pilot Whales in from the ocean

Driving the Pilot Whales in from the ocean

Driving the Pilot Whales in from the ocean
Driving the Pilot Whales in from the ocean (3 images)

Forcing the Pilot Whales into the cove
Forcing the Pilot Whales into the cove


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