Call of the Cove


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AFP reports “Japan dolphin-killing town to open marine park”

Today, October 7, 2013, the AFP news agency (Agence France-Presse) reported that the town of Taiji, Japan plans to open a marine park within 5 years, “where visitors can swim with dolphins” and “eat dolphin and whale meat” while the “annual slaughter of the creatures will continue in a nearby bay.”

ACTION ITEM:
Please read the AFP’s article “Japan dolphin-killing town to open marine park”, picked up by Yahoo! News, and leave a comment — let your voices be heard. If you can, include links to photos and video of the slaughter taking place in Taiji’s killing cove. Please also share the article far and wide, and encourage others to leave a comment as well.

ACTION ITEMS:
Please sign this Care2 petition to Japanese government officials: Stop Japan Dolphin-Killing Town from Opening Marine Park to Fund Slaughter.

Please also sign this Change.org petition to the mayor of Taiji: Cancel plans to build a Dolphin Zoo in Taiji. Warning: There is a graphic image on the petition.

Please also sign this Care2 petition to the Ministry of Environment, Government of Japan: Stop the Town of Taiji From Opening a Marine Park.

OTHER MEDIA COVERAGE:
Japanese dolphin-hunting town to open marine park – Australia Network News
Japan dolphin-hunting town to open marine park – Channel News Asia
Swim with the dishes: Japan to open water park where you can swim with dolphins… while eating dolphin MEAT – Daily Mail
Visitors to Swim with and Eat Dolphins at Taiji Marine Park – Ecorazzi
Japanese Dolphin Slaughter Town Taiji To Open Marine Park – Where You Can Eat & Swim With The Mammals – Huffington Post UK
Japan dolphin-killing town to open marine park, serve dolphin meat – Raw Story
Swim with Dolphins, Then Eat Them? If Taiji’s Horrifying Marine Park Happens, Tourists Could Do Both – TakePart
Dolphin-killing town to open marine park – The Australian
Dolphin burgers for park visitors – The Australian
Dolphin killing town in The Cove to open a marine park – and continue annual slaughter – The Independent
Japanese dolphin-killing town in ‘The Cove’ to open marine park – The Telegraph

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Form Letter from the Embassy of Japan in the USA

Please read the reply that most people are getting when writing to the Embassy of Japan in the United States. It is disheartening to see they hold the same delusional perspective that the rest of the pro-hunting people do. But to make it worse, they are condescending as they attempt a cop-out and smoke screen of blaming other areas of the world for practicing the same hunt. It needs to be pointed out that this inquiry in NOT about other areas of the world doing it. There are many groups focusing on stopping this horror in those jurisdictions as well – but this is about Japan. They need to take responsibility and be held accountable without diverting the attention elsewhere.

This argument is about as weak as their suggestion that because some eat cow, chicken and other livestock, it makes our argument hypocritical. Many of those who are fighting this cause do not eat meat to begin with – but even for those who do, the killing doesn’t involve chasing and exhausting the animals for hours upon end, leaving them stranded for days without food in a condensed area, and it certainly does not involve stabbing them in a death that takes upward to seven minutes of suffering. Even game hunters balk at their notion of what “hunting” and “humane killing” is.  

Another point to make: They rely heavily on the word “culture” in the same way they rely on the word “tradition” in Taiji.  It needs to be pointed out that as we become a better and more educated people worldwide and realize the suffering and death toll coming from so called culture, tradition and belief, we are evaluating and ending them. We believe that Adolph Hitler and his followers thought he was doing all he was doing in the name of “culture”.

Please read this and feel free to write a rebuttal to them at:  jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp

Their letter:

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding dolphin fishing in Japan. We do take note of your concern but also would ask you to try to understand that there are diverse cultures in the world, many of which have traditions that are very different to those found in the United States.

Unlike the U.S., Japan is a small country with limited land. Japan has a much higher population density than the US since Japan’s land area is only 4% of the United States’ but Japan’s population is almost half of that of the U.S. Furthermore, about 70% of Japanese land is very steep forest and not suitable for agricultural development. Therefore, Japanese people traditionally have had no other choice but to rely upon various food resources from the ocean and that is why we developed a unique cuisine like sushi. Though not widespread, dolphins have been consumed as a local traditional food in some coastal areas in Japan, such as Tohoku, Izu and Wakayama. Dolphin fishing is not unique to Japan, it is even practiced in the United States in Alaska.

The Japanese people have, for centuries, consumed many types of living marine resources but their harvests have been conducted sustainably and the dolphin fishery is no exception; it is carefully managed so as not to deplete the stock. In fact, all of the dolphin species harvested in Japan are internationally recognized as abundant.

Although fishermen in Taiji have been trying to improve their killing method so as to give minimum suffering to the animals, we understand that many individuals can find it most unpleasant to watch video clips of dolphins being killed. However, in this day and age when most of us are greatly distanced from the source of our animal protein, witnessing the killing of cows, pigs and sheep in industrial slaughterhouses would be equally off-putting. Under these circumstances, we would have to commit to consuming animal products respectfully unless you are to give up consuming all animal products. In Japan, catches of whales and dolphins have been viewed as blessings from the sea and, as such, have been celebrated in our national art.

With regard to the mercury level contained in the dolphin meat, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare did issue an advisory calling for pregnant women to limit their consumption of certain seafood with a relatively high mercury content including some dolphin species. However, mercury in seafood including dolphin meat, which is from natural sources, should not be confused with high level industrial mercury which caused the tragedy of Minamata disease in the 1950’s. No medical problems have been reported in Japan due to mercury contained in dolphin meat. In addition, false labeling of food is illegal in Japan and the Japanese government will investigate any suspicious products.

We do hope that you take the opportunity to further expand your understanding of Japanese culture, which is very different from that of the United States.

Sincerely,

JICC Staff

jicc@ws.mofa.go.jp