On Rye? Japanese Dolphin Hunt Starts
sounds barbaric to western countries, is a casual day of fishing
in Japan. The Japanese governement allows 20,000
dolphins to be killed a year in the fishing industry. It is widely
known that dolphins are extremely intelligent mammals, that are
self-aware, show humor, love and even respond to human emotion,
as if emotion travels in water on waves (dating back to the ancient
humans in peril.
Fishermen hunt dolphins about every day in Taiji,
a town of about 3,000 in southwestern Japan that juts into the
Pacific Ocean. The sounds of waves crashing onto a rocky shore
mingle in Taiji with the screeching wails of dolphins being chopped
and hacked to death by fishermen.
That disgusts Ric O'Barry, a 68-year-old retired dolphin trainer
from Miami, Florida, who makes a second home in Taiji, where he goes
to unusual lengths to fight against the tide of local tradition.
O'Barry sometimes dresses as a woman or wears a large surgical
mask to disguise his Western identity on trips to spots overlooking
the ocean. He prowls the cliffs with a video camera, hoping to
catch fishermen in the act with footage that could stir emotions
and raise awareness in the West.
" It takes a very long time to die. They bleed to death. And
some of them are dragged in the boats with hooks while they're still
alive," he says. "Many of them are gutted while they're
Looming beyond questions of whether the slaughter is humane, however,
are larger and more complex questions of culture and perspective.
Japanese ships crisscross southern oceans each winter to capture
and kill up to 1,000 whales. Whaling is allowed under international
law when done for scientific reasons, which Japan cites as the legal
basis for its hunts.
Legal justifications aside, however, the whale hunts offend many
people in Australia, where new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has turned
up the political pressure on Japan.
His government has dispatched a customs ship to monitor and videotape
the whalers. And Rudd says Australia could even file charges against
Japan in an international court to try to stop the whaling.
Back in Taiji, the fishermen are well aware of the Western sentiment
that motivates whaling opponents. They realize the danger to their
way of life that can come with prying cameras from other countries.
Excerp from CNN
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