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Today was a good day for Japan's dolphins

Discussion in 'Marine Life & Ecosystems' started by cdreamer, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. cdreamer

    cdreamer Solo Diver


    Editor’s Note: This piece was written by guest contributor Richard O’Barry of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition.

    As TakePart reported earlier this week, O’Barry is currently in Taiji, Japan with European and Japanese journalists in anticipation of the annual dolphin slaughter that usually takes place the first week of September.

    Today is September 1st, the first day of the dolphin slaughter season in Japan. But when I arrived today by bus from Kansai Airport with media representatives from all over the world, the notorious Cove from the movie was empty. There were no dolphin killers in sight.

    So today is a very good day for dolphins!

    I vowed to be back in Taiji when the dolphin killing began. I’ve often been here alone, or accompanied by a few environmentalists. Sometimes, I was able to talk a major media organization into sending someone.

    But the people of Japan never learned about the dolphin slaughter, because none of the media in Japan (with the exception of the excellent Japan Times) have ever sent reporters to the killing Cove. Until today!

    When I got off the bus at the Cove this afternoon, I was accompanied by my son Lincoln O’Barry’s film crew, a crew from Associated Press, Der Spiegel (the largest magazine in Germany), and the London Independent.

    No dolphins and no dolphin killers. We would not have had a story at all, except for the police who were there, waiting all day for us to appear. Nine policemen came to talk to us.

    Now, I have said this repeatedly: Unlike the Cove fishermen, the police from this Prefecture have always acted professionally, courteously, and fairly. I have never been mistreated or threatened by the police here. I think they are a microcosm of the people of Japan–the very people I am trying to reach about the dolphins!

    And as I was talking with the police, as the international journalists stood around listening, suddenly a camera crew arrived from Japan! And then another! And then still another!

    You have to understand that this is SO IMPORTANT. These TV stations have REFUSED to cover the story in Taiji for years and years. NOW, for the first time, they have shown up, with cameras rolling. The head policeman talking with me even said, for the cameras, that the police are not there to support the dolphin killing fishermen. We shook hands, and they left.

    As I said, it is a good day for the dolphins. And for me personally, as the police only wanted to talk with me, not arrest me!

    The Cove movie led to the strong action by the city of Broome, Australia, in suspending the sister-city relationship with Taiji. So now, the Japanese media are sitting up and listening, for the first time.
    And I’m telling them: “This tour is to show journalists the GOOD things about Taiji.” You see, with The Cove movie out now, we don’t have to show the BAD things about Taiji. Soon, the whole world will know about the Taiji dolphin slaughter. And all Japanese will soon know about the cover-up that has occurred by the government in refusing to stop mercury-contaminated dolphin meat from being sold to unsuspecting Japanese consumers and children.

    But Taiji can change this image of shame, if they want to. I will be telling them that the town of Nantucket used to be the capitol of the whale killing industry in the US. Now, it uses its history of whaling combined with whale-watching to market tourism very successfully. Whales and dolphins are worth more alive than dead. Taiji can do this, too. But the killing has to stop.

    Yes, today was a good day for dolphins. Tomorrow, I will take journalists with me around town to show them Taiji. Tomorrow, too, I predict will be a good day for dolphins. Every day that we are here and the fishermen KNOW we are here, will likely mean no boats going out to round up dolphins for the killing Cove.

    And because of The Cove movie, the dolphin killers must now fear hidden cameras and microphones, even when they THINK we are not here.

    And soon the world spotlight from The Cove will shine a very bright light on Taiji.

    Please help us by donating.

    Your donations and efforts are a key part of our success so far on this tour of Taiji. For the first time, thanks to your support, the secrets of Taiji are being told to the Japanese people by television. And thanks to your help and interest, I can go to Taiji with journalists around me and not fear arrest. This is an historic moment for the dolphins and whales of Japan. I sincerely thank you and ask you to join us in spirit for this return to Taiji.

    The Save Japan Dolphins Coalition consists of Earth Island Institute, Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan, OceanCare, In Defense of Animals, Campaign Whale, and the Animal Welfare Institute.
  2. Mr.X

    Mr.X ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    Thanks for sharing CD Dreamer. The shift in perspective by the Japanese media bodes well for the future. The whale killers have probably (recently) brought a lot of shame to the prefecture.

    That being said - O'Barry's perspective on Nantucket tourism and it's closure of whaling and subsequent role in whaling is history is off. America's New England whaling industry went south due to competition from petroleum lubricants + diminishing stock. In short, the economics of whaling drove the Americans out of the game. For the dolphin killers of Futo and Taijii - it has to be something else.

    Additionally, Nantucket is a wealthy community which is primarily a tourist destination. There aren't a whole lot of cultural institutions there to visit. The Nantucket whaling museum charges $15 bucks a head admission fee from the swarm of tourists visiting in the summmer. New Bedford also has a significant whaling museum. They only charge $10. No tourist flensing there as New Bedford isn't exactly everyone's favorite tourist destination. Begs the question - What does Taijii have to offer with respect to tourism?

  3. drdiver1952

    drdiver1952 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Round Rock, TX
    Got this early this morning. Good news!
  4. Mr.X

    Mr.X ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    I've been doing a little more research regarding alternatives for Taijii and O' Barry's comments regarding whale-friendly alternatives. Here's a line from the NZ Herald regarding viable alternatives:
    Award-winning dolphin doc angers locals - Crime - NZ Herald News

    " Taiji's local government, which has cashed in on whales and dolphins, with dolphin entertainment shows, a whaling museum, whale-watching, whale-meat restaurants and whale-sausages on sale, refused to comment about The Cove".

    The line above says "hypocrites a-plenty" to me. There's nothing quite as disgusting as weak-knee'd, two-faced politicians who can't make up their own mind. You display the cetaceans as sentient beings, then exploit them for carnie shows and food. Duplicitous.

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  5. docbonezz

    docbonezz Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    This is great news. I just hope it lasts!
  6. cdreamer

    cdreamer Solo Diver

    It's day 3 and no dolphins have been killed. Japan's media has shown up in full force
    however they are not sharing information with the public with regards to the mercury
    content of dolphin meat.

    Here is the link to Ric O'Barrys' blog-
  7. Mr.X

    Mr.X ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that the window for hunting passes by quickly and that this year becomes a precedent for zero killing. However, given the nature of the press and the blood-lust of the fishermen... :(

  8. cdreamer

    cdreamer Solo Diver

    I am remaining cautiously optimistic. Ric O'Barry would like to remain there
    for as long as he can but it is very expensive and his organization has little funds.
    If anyone would like to make a donation to help keep Ric there -
  9. cdreamer

    cdreamer Solo Diver

    Update - The dolphin killings have been suspended, hopefully for good.
    They have still rounded up about 100 to sell the prime dolphins to the
    Aquariums but the rest will be RELEASED. It's a start.
    Unfortunately, 50 pilot whales were slaughtered for meat.

    Save Japan Dolphins: Taiji Dolphin Slaughter Suspended
  10. lock_washer

    lock_washer Contributor

    Hey guys...wouldn't it be effective to organize a massive media campaign in Japan on the mercury levels in whale and dolphin meat. Get some "Japanese Celebrities" to get behind this. If you can kill the demand at the market, that will put a stop to these killings.

    Lock Washer

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