Writing for a cause – the dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan

freelance writing

It’s the 26th day of the 2014-15 annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan.

Common Dolphins swimming in oceanEach year from the 1st of September until early March, Taiji fishermen hunt for dolphins and small whales off the coast of Taiji. This is a “tradition” that has been taking place for many years but it is a cruel, unnecessary tradition that causes immense pain and suffering to those that are slaughtered and confines a life of enslavement to those that are captured.

The hunting process can take several hours and starts as dawn breaks when several boats leave the Taiji harbour in search for dolphins. Once a pod (a family of dolphins) is spotted, and the boats are in formation they are mercilessly driven towards the killing cove, fighting to be free of the deafening banging of metal poles against the fishermen’s boat that are designed to disorientate the dolphins and prevent them from escaping.

A successful drive will ultimately leave the pod exhausted and highly stressed as they struggle to stay together as a unit, protecting all family members including juveniles and babies. By the time the pod is corralled into the killing cove, their fate is sealed and they face a barbaric, painful slaughter during which each dolphin could take up to 30 minutes to die. Unlike traditional slaughter methods, there’s no stunning – the dolphins are fully conscious during the entire process.

Only the pretty dolphins will survive.bottlenose dolphin

Ripped from their families, these captive dolphins are destined for a life of enslavement and face months of loneliness and isolation as they are trained to perform tricks to entertain the public at marine parks across the world, including Seaworld.

These gentle, sensitive, highly intelligent social creatures that co-exist in family units are not ours to snatch from the sea. And they don’t belong to Japan.

They don’t deserve to be imprisoned as sources of amusement at marine parks and they don’t deserve to end up as slabs of meat on someone’s dinner plate. It’s ironic that the very meat being hunted for “tradition” could actually be making people sick. Dolphin meat contains mercury and is highly toxic: no doubt if Japanese people knew this they would not eat it… I know I wouldn’t.

Six years ago my family and I visited Seaworld on the Gold Coast, Australia. As we laughed and clapped at the dolphin’s tricks and jumps, their smiling faces exuding a false happiness, I had no idea of the tortuous journey they had endured that ended at Seaworld and that their family members had been brutally sacrificed as part of the process of getting them there.

Needless to say I won’t be visiting Seaworld again.

If you are horrified by what is going on in Taiji right now, voice your opinion because the more people who protest and spread the word via social media, the further your message will travel. It is public pressure that will ultimately bring an end to this tragedy. Hit them where it hurts – boycott Seaworld and other marine parks because if they’re not making any money, they’ll be forced to shut down.Dolphins in Pacific Ocean

I may only be one voice but I will make it heard. If my skills as a writer can be used to help spread the message far and wide to end this barbaric “tradition” in Japan, then I will not hesitate to use them. For the dolphins.