Animal rights activists’ are fighting to end the cruel and unnecessary hunting of dolphins that is set to begin in Japan this month.
The controversial event is held in the town of Taiji and is run annually for approximately six months.
CEO of Australia for Dolphins (AFD) Sarah Lucas said the violence dolphins receive is reflected in the method of cruelty used to hunt them.
“Dolphins are brutally stabbed with a metal rod, and then it can take up to 30 minutes for the larger species to bleed out and drown in their own blood,” she said.
“This painful killing method would not be accepted in any modern slaughterhouse in the world.”
Lucas also revealed the company has already handed over a petition to stop the killings occurring this year.
“Australia for Dolphins has delivered a petition to the Governor of Wakayama with 100,000 signatures, pleading with him to have mercy and not issue a permit giving these cruel hunts the go-ahead this year.”
Australian Green’s spokesperson for animal welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon said although the petition had been delivered it does not guarantee the safety of the dolphins due to the economic gain the city receives.
“With Taiji’s mayor reported as saying they will not stop the slaughter given it is worth so much economically to the town, we need to redouble our collective international efforts to pressure the Japanese government and the market and buyers of the dolphins.”
Lucas agreed and said the AFD will continue to target the industries and people who contribute to the issue.
“We also plan to target aquariums which provide economic incentive industry, airlines that ship the captured dolphins all around the world, and the dolphin trainers who take part in the selection process,” she said.
Lucas said the decision of zoos and aquariums to boycott buying dolphins captured during the hunt should decrease the cruelty inflicted.
“A number of Japanese zoos and aquariums voted to stop purchasing dolphins captured in the annual hunts, cutting out 50% of the current market for Taiji dolphin sales,” she said.
“Without demand, the hunts won’t continue.”
Rhiannon said the ongoing harm that is inflicted during the Taiji dolphin slaughter is inexcusable and unnecessary.
“The extreme cruelty involved in the herding and then killing of these intelligent mammals is inexcusable,” she said.
“Inflicting terror, agony and intense suffering on animals is never acceptable and can never be described as necessary.”
Lucas described the agony experienced by dolphins is why people need to be increasingly concerned about the welfare of these animals.
“Dolphins have been recorded carrying out heartbreaking displays of grief during the massacre; such as a mother dolphin deliberately drowning herself after her calf has been taken away,” she said.
Lucas also argued dolphins are being affected not only physically and emotionally but also ecologically.
“There are studies which show dolphin populations in Japan are declining significantly, to the point where it may be difficult for the numbers to recover,” she said.