More Than A Decade After ‘The Cove,’ The Dolphin Slaughter Continues

More than a decade after the release of “The Cove,” the Oscar-winning documentary that exposed the brutal killing of dolphins and whales in Taiji, Japan, the killing has sadly not stopped.

Fishermen herd dolphin pods into the shallow bay using poles stuck into the water, the Dolphin Project reports. They bang on the poles with hammers, producing a wall of sound that frightens the dolphins further into the Cove where they are surrounded by nets. Waiting agents of captive dolphin facilities and international dolphin brokers choose a few to grab for their own gain, but many others will be systematically and brutally bludgeoned to death.

Bottlenose dolphins are the prime target, their meat sold as a culinary delicacy and their bodies sold as amusement park entertainment.

Bottlenose dolphins are herded into the Taiji cove where they are slaughtered.
Bottlenose dolphins are herded into the Taiji cove where they are slaughtered.

According to the BBC, the 6-month hunting season lasts from September to April. During this time, about 1,700 dolphins are killed for slaughter and dozens more are sold into captivity.

Those that don’t die from the brutal attack generally drown on the way to the slaughterhouse, and it can take up to 30 minutes for a dolphin to die by suffocation or drowning, Vice reports. According to Richard O’Barry, an animal rights activist featured in “The Cove,” in extreme distress, dolphins are even capable of killing themselves.

Millions have been outraged by the dolphin hunting season in Taiji.
Millions have been outraged by the dolphin hunting season in Taiji.

The brutality affects any and all marine mammals that make their way into the Cove. Nursing mothers and their babies aren’t spared. Yet the fisherman from Taiji say the community’s livelihood is dependent on the trade, the BBC reports.

According to Vice, dolphin hunters have turned to trading live dolphins in recent years as they can potentially make up to $48,000 per animal, where a slaughtered dolphin only brings in $480. The pandemic has seen that trade drop off, but the yearly slaughter continues to turn the waters of Taiji red with blood.

Nursing mothers and their babies are killed when lured into the Cove in Taiji, Japan.
Nursing mothers and their babies are killed when lured into the Cove in Taiji, Japan.

These hunts are no longer driven by the need for sustenance, or tradition, but rather the desire to profit from the exploitation of natural resources, the Dolphin Project reports. Even though the Japanese government has the ability to condemn this barbaric event and punish those who participate, nothing has been done.

Meanwhile, countless dolphins are being slaughtered.

Help us end the dolphin slaughter in Taiji!
Help us end the dolphin slaughter in Taiji!

Help us bring an end to this brutality. Click below and demand the Japanese government prohibit the dolphin slaughter in Taiji once and for all!

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