The fishermen tell the media that they give reverence and respect to the dolphins that they take from the sea. Meanwhile they herd the dolphins into a cove filled with sharp rocks where they bloody themselves in attempts to escape. They starve them for 2 or 3 days while they themselves eat dinner and breakfast in the comfort of their home. They then kill them, enslave them, tear apart their families, dump their innards into the ocean and use their severed heads as bait in lobster traps. Dolphins are little more than edible play-things to the hunters of Taiji. Mere things who never fight back, never bite, and have no concept of captivity and murder. Easy targets for the bullies who slaughter them by the thousands every year. I just don’t see the respect and reverence anywhere in this place.
On November 6th, the hunters destroyed the lives of over 100 bottlenose dolphins. About half were captured for a life of slavery in cement aquariums, the rest were slaughtered so their toxic bodily tissues can be fed to Japanese school children who don’t want to eat them.
We film these events not because we enjoy watching them… We don’t. We are here to capture this piece of history to have a record of this dark time in Japan. Also, we feel we are nearing the edge of this dark time and hopefully our images and stories will serve to remind future generations of Japanese of the ugliness done by their forefathers. And maybe by doing so we can protect the oceans of our world long after our own passing. Only a selfish person thinks solely of their own generation. We should instead think farther ahead to how the world with be seven generations from now. We are shaping the world, there is not doubt. But how we are shaping it is up to us.
I have in my hotel room a book, Sea of Slaughter, written by the Canadian author and conservationist, Farley Mowat. Within it’s pages are details of the European plight brought upon the Eastern Canadian seaboard by fishermen and hunters within the last few hundred years. And although these events are safely behind us as “history” (well… as recent as the 1970′s), we are here in Taiji seeing the same careless and selfish activities that drove countless species to extinction in the past. They’re still doing it today. Reading this book, I say to myself “If only I could go back in time and stop them”. Today, I feel as if I have been given that opportunity, but a strange reality is setting in. These ghastly evils being thrust upon our planet are difficult to prevent and the people living in this time and space are too apathetic and stubborn to do anything to stop the evil doers. When diplomatic attempts and logical reasoning fail, what are we left with?
We’re not asking the fishermen to give up their livelihood. We’re telling them that, until they find another line of work (I don’t know… like FISHING?), that we will continue to come to their little town in increasing numbers, year after year, to make them more and more miserable. We will continue to bring light to the shame which they have created for themselves and their families. We’re using direct action at the location where this crime against nature is happening while other groups use diplomacy in Tokyo where the laws are made. It’s only through our combined action that change will ever occur. If we wait to figure out a non-confrontational tactic, then we’ll die of old age before anything changed. Anyone who criticizes the Cove Guardians for what we do here doesn’t understand the situation and/or doesn’t care. Fortunately, those people are easily ignored by us, and will be ignored by history as well. Their legacy will be a pathetic story of apathy and ignorance.
The Japanese government is currently spending far more on satiating the fishermen and containing the activists than the fishermen are making off of dolphin sales. They could use a fraction of that money to help them modify their skill-sets to hunt for something other than marine mammals. They just aren’t thinking outside of their little box and they don’t want to look like we won. Those are petty reasons to continue murdering. Meanwhile, the oceans are dying at the hands of man. Anyone who doesn’t work to save the oceans is culpable for their ultimate death.
We will never stop trying. We will never back down.