27 September, 2012 27 September, 2012

Stop the Killing in the Cove

The other Red Sea – Taiji’s fishermen get to work during killing season, which kicked off this month.

When the Academy Award Winning documentary “The Cove” was released in 2009, very little was known by the general public about the atrocities in Taiji, Japan during their annual dolphin slaughter. The documentary highlighted the inhumane killing of these wondrous creatures we share many of our waves and sessions with, but what the documentary hasn’t achieved, yet, is to put an end to these crimes against nature. Groups and organisations like Surfers for Cetaceans and Sea Shepherd have been rallying together to keep the focus centered on these killings and to ultimately put a stop to them.

Cape Town’s Vickie Collins has just returned from Japan and had the following to report back about her experience:

Why would you kill these guys? Their flesh contains poisonous levels of mercury and they’re friendly.

Hi Zigzag,

I’ve just returned from Taiji where I volunteered with the Save The Japan Dolphins team (Ric O’Barry from the Cove and Mark Palmer from Earth Island Institute).

Basically, Save the Japan Dolphins is hoping to keep the pressure on the Taiji fisherman, opposing their slaughter of dolphins and whales from September to March each year. It’s a brutal, inhumane systematic killing of what many regard as the most beautiful creatures on this planet.

During killing season the dolphins and whales that naturally frequent the area are ‘herded’ and driven towards the killing cove, where they are later enclosed and held over night. The following morning the ‘trainers’ choose which dolphins they want to keep alive for the captive dolphin industry (swim with dolphin initiatives and marine parks etc) and the rest are left to be slaughtered.

From the 1st of September (the official start of the hunt) they killed around 103 whales and dolphins (78 x Pilot Whales; 25 x Bottlenose Dolphin), and the killing process is horrific – the fisherman force the dolphins towards shore with their motor boats (often slicing them with the outboard motors), then a net gets dropped behind them to hold them in a small enclosed area and tarps are pulled over this ‘killing zone’ so that no onlookers can view the slaughter. The fishermen then, using a spear, stab the dolphins just behind their blow holes severing their spinal chords. Since the media’s attention has been focussed on them, the Taiji fisherman have taken to quickly inserting wooden plugs into the gaping wounds to stop the flow of blood and avoid even more graphic footage being shot.

Kelly, Rasta and Andy have lent their voice in opposition to the dolphin slaughters via www.visualpetition.com

Worldwide, initiatives like Surfers for Cetaceans have been doing a drive in Australia and USA to bring this atrocity to light, Sea Shepherd have also been actively involved as well, and there’s even a visual petition which has been signed by the likes of pro surfers Kelly Slater, Dave “Rasta” Rastovich and Andy Irons (amongst thousands of others), who have all lent their weight in support to stop the killing of dolphins and whales worldwide by signing the visual petition – You can take your own visual petition photo and join over 12 0000 others in support: www.visualpetition.com

Basically it’s an ongoing battle that needs more voices and you can start by joining a Facebook group like Sea Shepherd South Africa or Save Japan Dolphins Taiji Cove Monitors page or Surfers for Cetaceans and keep updated with ways in which you can get involved.

Thanks for your time.

Now although there’s hundreds of other atrocities across the globe which require equal attention, perhaps this one is a lot closer to home and worth getting involved in, especially considering how often we enjoy the company of these creatures during our sessions and may find it hard to imagine a future sans these always-smiling surf buddies.

Get involved here:
Save the Japan Dolphins – http://savejapandolphins.org/
The Visual Petition – www.visualpetition.com
Sea Shepherd South Africa – http://www.facebook.com/SeaShepherdSA
Surfers for Cetaceans – www.s4cglobal.org/


  1. Matthew Jay
    27 September, 2012 at 11:34 am · Reply

    Listen, we eat a lot of cows. How do you think they’re killed? With a sleeping pill?

    Dolphins are lovely creatures but the Japanese eat a lot of fish. No one complains when they kill a tuna because no one in America decided tuna’s were friendly fish. This is nothing more than Western society venting their anger on slaughtering a specific category of animals because they like them while they slaughter hundreds of chickens, cows and pigs every day. Hypocrisy? 

    • Warwick H
      27 September, 2012 at 1:12 pm · Reply

      Matthew you are a prize chop, these are not domestic animals, and they should not be slaughtered or sold for tourists to swim with the dolphins either ! 

      • Matthew Jay
        27 September, 2012 at 1:41 pm · Reply

        Your argument being that a Bluefin Tuna is a domestic animal and can be slaughtered and/or sold? 

        My point still stands. I don’t agree with this practice, and certainly don’t agree with prolonging any animals suffering but you have to realize that various cultures declare certain animals types less valuable than others. In Asia, fish (or things that live in the sea) are considered their property and principle food source. Just like African cultures consider cows to be their property, and I’m pretty sure livestock has been abused for personal greed.

        Why you’d want to eat something that might poison you, I’m not sure. Maybe they’re getting desperate due to the ever decreasing tuna supply (Which no one is protesting about). 

        • Vickiec
          27 September, 2012 at 10:41 pm · Reply

          Hi Mathew, look you are seriuosly misinformed do research and then come forward with a good argument MITSUBUSHI CORPORATION have declared warehouses packed with BLUE FIN TUNA a species that should not be fished, to be worth almost 40% of the worlds tuna stock! Come on these guys arent worried about depleting tuna sotcks they are causing depleting tuna stocks and why????? GREED they get more money when the fish are hard to find…..this is not a principal food source, as mentioned less than 1% of the nation eat dolphin and whale meat please share something we can actually debate.

  2. Mark
    27 September, 2012 at 12:15 pm · Reply

    Matthew, you obviously don’t get it! 

  3. Vickiec
    27 September, 2012 at 1:02 pm · Reply

    Hi Mathew, thank you for raising that issue, firstly there are many Western Organisations against killing cows, sheep in fact any animal for human consumption go to PTEA or The Vegan Society web pages for more info on that. To the point with dolphins and whales, they are mammals, and the reason why Taiji has been higlighted is for FOUR reasons:
    1) Less than 1% of Japanese eat whale and dolphin meat so this has nothing to do with feeding a fish eating nation (as mentioned dolphins and whales arent fish).
    2) Its also a human rights issue the mercury found in dolphin and whale meat, conducted by Japanese scientists, independant scientists and Western scientists (I have the web pages if you want) show that the meat is not fit for human consumption, which begs the question how can a government let its people (albeit 1%) eat toxic meat. Its toxic due to oil splills, chemicals pumped in the sea and basic pollution. Read the book SEA SICK writte by various scientists from around the world on the toxicity of the water. Dolphins and whales are more susceptible to the mercury for some reason.
    3) The Taiji slaughter is fuelled by greed for dolphins and whales in the captive dolphin industry, the fisherman are incentivised to catch the pods of whales and dolphins bring them to the killing cove and dolphin trainers pick which ones can live or die. These dolphins are sold around the world for $150,000,00 so its lucrative. The rest of the dolphins are killed for extra cash.
    4) The killing is inhumane, as whales are very social mammals and they also need to feed frequently the last batch of whales they caught they starved for 5 days while holding them in the Cove and systematically slaughtered the pod over the 5 day period! The survivors were left to swim and try survivie in the bloody water, until they too were masacred. Worse than a horror movie.
    I get what you are saying hypocricy is rife, but this is not about tradition or feeding nations this is about greed, its a whole different story down there. In the perfect world no animals would be killed, but we can all only find a cause we believe in and try make the world a better place. Thanks Vickie

  4. Bambu
    27 September, 2012 at 1:29 pm · Reply

    Fabulous Vixie…I hope this article gets loads more awareness out there…and I don’t know that Matthew is a complete chop who just doesn’t get it, like lots of other people he is ill informed and just needs to learn a little more!

  5. Sassy_shezz
    28 September, 2012 at 11:51 am · Reply

    @Vickiec Well said!!! 🙂
    @ Matthew Jay – you are a chop, why don’t you do some research on the Taiji slaughter and perhaps even watch The Cove and then you too shall be a little more informed….

  6. Natalie Martyn
    28 September, 2012 at 1:03 pm · Reply

    Hi Vicki
    The trailer to the Cove gave me the chills, as did your story, I will gladly get behind this.  I see the Cove was made in 2009.  Can you tell us the progress that’s been made since the movie was made; in lessening the killing?  What impact did the film have on the overall situation?  I am genuinely interested.  Thanks for the work that you do, it’s very brave. 

    • Vickiec
      28 September, 2012 at 5:51 pm · Reply

      Hi Natalie, The Cove has had an impact for sure mainly because now for the full 6 month period there are Cove monitors from various organizations such as Save Japan Dolphins and Sea Shepherd ensuring accountability for the killings. The fisherman are being watched and they don’t like it. There has been a reduction in the killings each year since the Cove came out but having said that the number captured for a life of captivity is high already almost 30 dolphins have been sold to a life of confinement eating dead fish and forced to perform for tourists. Away from their pod is stressful as they are social mammals, so they get ulcers and some dolphins refuse to be trained, if this happens they are slaughtered. Right now a pod of whales are in the Covevwaiting to be slaughtered the conditions are bad as the sea is rough so they are very stressed and they are hungry but the Fisherman have decided to wait til Sunday to begin killing….it’s sheer torture!!! The Japanese people are not open to Westerners telling them what to do, it’s hard trying to convince them this is wrong. This year however there are Japanese people fighting against this happening so this is also progress and ultimately this is how the fight will be won. Get involved however you can, the dolphins and whales have no voice!

      • Natalie Martyn
        29 September, 2012 at 5:25 am · Reply

        Thanks Vickie, oh my god, it’s too shocking for words.  I feel guilty about ever going to an Aquarium to watch those shows 🙁  Ignorance is definitely not bliss.  I will pass around these links on all my social network sites and send emails and sign all the petitions.  My husband is a surfer, we live in Durban, we will do what we can.

        • Vickiec
          29 September, 2012 at 8:00 am · Reply

          Thank you Natalie, dont give up keep sharing and keep writing to the embassies etc until the hunts end.

  7. Noeleen
    1 October, 2012 at 3:08 am · Reply

    hello vickie…. AWARENESS is the key here …. keep this up !!! 

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