End Dolphin Hunting in Taiji

Prime Minister of Japan; Taku Etoh, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Yoshinobu Nisaka, Governor of Wakayama Prefecture; Kazutaka Sangen, Mayor of Taiji

Stolen-freedom
Dolphin Project

Each year from 1 September through the end of February, a group of fishermen in the town of Taiji, Japan, take part in a dolphin hunting season. The process is known as a drive hunt-- a fleet of boats will locate and then pursue a pod of wild dolphins to shore, and then net them into a cove. Once captured, the dolphins will either be separated from their pod and chosen for a life of captivity, or slaughtered on-site. Hundreds of dolphins are captured and killed each year during this process.

We are asking the government officials in Japan to use their authority and call for the end of the hunts, which are both inhumane and environmentally damaging to wild populations. Please join us in asking the government to end this practice.

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To: Prime Minister of Japan; Taku Etoh, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Yoshinobu Nisaka, Governor of Wakayama Prefecture; Kazutaka Sangen, Mayor of Taiji
From: [Your Name]

Dear Sirs,

I request that you take immediate action to end the hunting of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. Please utilize the authority of your office to end the annual hunt set to commence on 1 September of this year.

Each year hundreds of wild dolphins are targeted as they pass through Japan’s coastal waters, destined for death or for a lifetime in captivity to perform for visitors. These wild dolphins are extremely intelligent, emotionally complex animals with very real familial bonds, much like humans. Separating them from those families severs those social bonds permanently. A life in captivity is one of suffering, leading to health issues and higher mortality rates.

The process by which they are slaughtered is considered inhumane as it causes unnecessary pain and suffering. Not only have dolphins been documented drowning in nets and injured by boats or rocks during the hunt, but the pithing process used in slaughter has been well-documented and does not meet the requirements for an efficient or humane killing method. Dolphins regularly experience internal bleeding and asphyxiation as a result, and continue to feel pain when the spinal cord is not cleanly severed. There is also documented evidence that larger species are dragged to the port while still alive, leading to a prolonged death by drowning.

Additionally, as apex predators, these species play an important role in maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem. Removing large numbers of these species may further upset the population for other forms of marine life. Dolphins reproduce slowly, and it takes years to restore those numbers. The exhausted nursing juvenile dolphins taken out to sea after a hunt lack the skills to hunt or defend themselves, and therefore are unlikely to survive independently.

As a global community, we must all take responsibility for protecting our planet and its inhabitants. As we continue to learn about the importance of biodiversity and protection of wild species, it is necessary to reconsider our past practices based on new scientific understanding. With that in mind, I call on you to show true leadership and finally end the inhumane dolphin hunts, protect dolphins, and help restore Japan’s international integrity and support from the world’s public.

Sincerely,