Ric O’Barry and his group to return to Taiji to oppose dolphin hunt

BERKELEY, Calif —

Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project will return to Taiji, the town made infamous by the Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove,” for the beginning of the six month-long dolphin slaughter season on Sept 1.

“Our Dolphin Project Team and I are returning to Taiji once again to oppose the killing of dolphins and to warn the people of Japan about the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated dolphin meat,” O’Barry, director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, said in a statement to media. “The hunts must end, and the people of Japan will be the ones to end the hunts.”

“We have made some progress; the number of dolphins being killed in Taiji has gone down for the past four years of our Save Japan Dolphins Campaign,” noted O’Barry. “The Japanese people, being warned about mercury and other contaminants in dolphin and whale meat, are buying less and less of it.”

Beginning at 11 a.m. on Sept 1, representatives from five continents will arrive at the Cove in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, to conduct a series of events to mark the new dolphin slaughter season. Participants will form a circle for a moment of silence for the souls of the dolphins that have been killed in the past and will be killed in the coming season.

The prayer will also honor the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as well as those who lost their lives in Wakayama Prefecture during typhoons. 

Participants will line the street in front of the Cove with signs in Japanese warning the Japanese people that dolphin meat is poisoned by mercury.

  • 6

    Cricky

    Educating, can take time, eating mercury tends to degrade the brain making educating even harder.

  • -12

    Daijoboots

    for the preservation of a mammal

    Oh please. Preservation. Endangered. Just how many dolphins do you think they process in Taiji?

    "The hunts must end..."

    "because we need all people of the earth to have the same customs."

  • -9

    CrazyJoe

    Send him to a retirement home where he belongs.

  • -10

    Daijoboots

    "...returning to Taiji once again to oppose the killing of dolphins and to warn the people of Japan about the dangers of eating mercury-contaminated dolphin meat"

    Neither of which are any of your business. People should be free to choose what they eat. The bit about mercury is an excuse. The Japanese know about it already. If these dolphins were being hunted far from Japan then we'd hear about how they should be doing it in their own waters. But they are doing it in their own waters. If they were an endangered species we'd hear about that. But they're not.

    Call a spade a spade. Dolphins are cute. That's about it. Attempting to force your own set of values only strengthens resolve. It makes me want to eat them just to exercise my right to choose what I can and can't eat.

  • -9

    nigelboy

    Daijoboots

    Agreed. I mean "warning of mercury levels" in a fishing community??? Pleeeez

  • -8

    basroil

    Disrupting the activities of the town is stupid, no matter how much the cause is good. Simply use that money to advertise against consuming dolphins, and the trade will naturally die down once the profits dry up. No need to resort to harassment and piracy, just make people aware of the consequences of their demand and people will slowly change. It's not like that town is depleting the dolphin population enough that it needs to be stopped now.

  • -8

    Novenachama

    The dolphin hunt is here to stay and has never changed since the last twenty plus years. They will never be able to regulate the killing of dolphins not because of politics in Japan but because dolphins are considered as "small cetaceans" As a result the International Whaling Commission have agreed not to protect them to this day. The Japanese should never be confronted directly in an aggressive manner. This type of matter should be address from within the country with a carefully balanced approach in a lawful, peaceful, and non-violent way using well-known polish speakers however educating the Japanese public is not easy. The dolphin drive is carried out for economic reasons and permitted by the Japanese Fishing Association and government. Hence this is about the source of profits which is the sales of dolphin meat to consumers and the live dolphin to the captive Industry.

  • -11

    Daijoboots

    Participants will form a circle for a moment of silence for the souls of the dolphins

    Are they serious? I mean do they actually believe in an afterlife for these people? Sorry, I meant animals. Sometimes I forget that they aren't humans nor on an equal footing with humans.

  • -7

    Probie

    Participants will form a circle for a moment of silence for the souls of the dolphins that have been killed in the past and will be killed in the coming season.

    Dolphin-hugging idiots.

    Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project will return to Taiji, the town made infamous by the Academy Award-winning documentary “The Cove,” for the beginning of the six month-long dolphin slaughter season on Sept 1.

    Easy way to stop these moonbeams= Don't let them in the country.

    If these dolphins were being hunted far from Japan then we'd hear about how they should be doing it in their own waters. But they are doing it in their own waters. If they were an endangered species we'd hear about that. But they're not.

    Exactly! The people who say "they can hunt whales if they do it in their own waters, maaaaaan" suddenly forget they said that and say "don't kill these beautiful, intelligent dolphins in your own waters, maaaaaan".

  • 10

    paulinusa

    . Why can't he and his supporters protest? Japan is a free and democratic country, isn't it? Always interesting that some on this site(and the majority non-Japanese I suspect) take a nationalistic tone in their comments.

  • 8

    SamuraiBlue

    As long as they protest peacefully, let them. The fishermens will choose to ignore as long it is done in a peaceful manner.

    Once it becomes violent it is another story.

  • -9

    Daijoboots

    Why can't he and his supporters protest? Japan is a free and democratic country, isn't it?

    They can and it is. Interesting that you should mention the latter. That would include their right to choose what they eat.

  • 7

    smithinjapan

    There's no reason to berate these people for going and doing what they are doing. They are free to come and protest, so let them, same as the people of Taiji are free to try and ignore them. I of course personally agree that the dolphin slaughter is an antiquated and ridiculous act, especially given the levels of mercury force-fed to children in schools (well, until the mayor of Taiji was forced to conduct research on the matter thanks to people like Ric O'Barry and stopped making children eat it), pregnant women, and what not. It's amusing to watch the old men eat dolphin and give a thumbs up to snub protesters while said old men test positive for TEN TIMES the amount of mercury considered safe (hair and nail samples). The government should cease all subsidies for this practice and then if the people want to continue hunting dolphins when it is unsustainable, let them, but of course they won't.

    It's just a few old men and yakuza left doing it. It'll take time to phase it out, but it'll happen.

  • -11

    Daijoboots

    There's no reason to berate these people for going and doing what they are doing.

    Disagreeing does not equal no reason. See mine and others' posts above for why they should be berated.

    It's just a few old men and yakuza left doing it

    Is that so.

    It'll take time to phase it out, but it'll happen.

    Good luck.

  • 9

    smithinjapan

    Daijoboots: "Disagreeing does not equal no reason. See mine and others' posts above for why they should be berated."

    And then see the number of people who quite easily step aside your lack of reasoning and point out that it is just vehement and misdirected anger. Ric and his buddies, whether you like them or not, are free to do as they choose, like it or not.

  • 8

    Ronald F Stark

    As long as they protest peacefully, let them. The fishermens will choose to ignore as long it is done in a peaceful manner.

    Once it becomes violent it is another story.

    I'm sure the Japanese side (nationalists, fishermen, police etc) will be the ones elevating it to "violent" and fabricating some charges as they've done in the past.

  • -2

    Iowan

    Taiji: Beautiful town. Don't mar the citizens the documentary.

  • -13

    Daijoboots

    And then see the number of people who quite easily step aside your lack of reasoning and point out that it is just vehement and misdirected anger

    How many people smith? I don't think it is so much stepping aside as it is a lack of an argument. A lack of reasoning can be seen in the nothing more than emotional response of dolphins are cute and I used to watch Flipper. Anger? Please.

    Ric and his buddies, whether you like them or not

    I don't like them. Just to clear that up.

    are free to do as they choose, like it or not.

    As the Japanese should be.

  • -11

    Daijoboots

    Why do you feel the need to post on this thread 10 times to FORCE your values on others?

    I'm not aware of any limit. You can take or leave what I say. People have written about freedom and so forth. Don't try to infringe upon that, as those heading to Taiji are attempting to do.

    How about allowing others to have opposing views... sound good?

    Let's hear one then.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Daijoboots: "As the Japanese should be."

    And they are. They can ignore the protesters.

    " I don't think it is so much stepping aside as it is a lack of an argument."

    I didn't say "stepping aside" I said "step aside", as in "side-step", or easily "get around". It's you who is utterly lacking in argument, telling people you don't agree with to "God go home" and trying to force your arguments on said people who disagree.

  • 2

    A+b/a=a/b≡?

    You can take or leave what I say.

    Please feel free to take or leave what I say as well.

    those heading to Taiji are attempting to do

    I invite you to not infringe on the rights of those heading to Taiji to express their freedom of speech as well. And, challenge you to listen to your own advice.

  • -9

    Daijoboots

    I didn't say "stepping aside" I said "step aside", as in "side-step", or easily "get around".

    Sorry for using the incorrect tense and thanks for the English lesson.

    It's you who is utterly lacking in argument

    Yes I'm a bit of a parrot aren't I.

    telling people you don't agree with to "God go home"

    Nothing wrong with that. They can go home. Or stay there. Or go somewhere else. Anywhere else.

    trying to force your arguments on said people who disagree.

    "Force."

  • -9

    Daijoboots

    I invite you to not infringe on the rights of those heading to Taiji to express their freedom of speech as well.

    I'm not. They can say what they like. And so will I. Not everyone has to share the same set of values. And you can thank the dolphin lovers for creating ill will.

  • 4

    El Pachuco

    The dolphins are not endangered.

    Another blanket statement. While you have no scientific proof, I will make one things crystal clear (and as A+b/a=a/b≡? posted) SOME species of dolphins ARE endangered. That is the issue.

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    Daijoboots: "Nothing wrong with that. They can go home. Or stay there. Or go somewhere else. Anywhere else."

    What was that you were saying about other posters "lacking argument"?

    "I'm not. They can say what they like. And so will I."

    Just not in Taiji, right? And so you defeat your own 'argument'.

    • Moderator

      Readers, please do not bicker. If you are not willing to be tolerant of opposing views, then please do not post here.

  • -12

    Daijoboots

    SOME species of dolphins ARE endangered

    That's GREAT. ARE the ones THE Japanese hunting IN their own wateRs?

  • -5

    House Atreides

    Privatize the beach and the surrounding areas and the people of Taiji could keep out whomever they want when they want. With the kind of money they make from selling dolphins to dolphinariums, you'd think they would have done it already. Sort it out Taiji. If O'Barry wants to save dolphins he should buy them. The people of Taiji have a right to take dolphins. That right has a monetary value. If O'Barry wants to curtail that right he needs to compensate the people of Taiji.

  • 2

    CrazyJoe

    @smithinjapan

    " Ric and his buddies, whether you like them or not, are free to do as they choose, like it or not."

    Does that apply to the Taiji fisherman?

    "The government should cease all subsidies for this practice and then if the people want to continue hunting dolphins when it is unsustainable, let them, but of course they won't. "

    What kind of subsidies do they get? Can you be more specific?

  • 2

    Scrote

    These protesters will not be allowed anywhere near Taiji by the police and the police will use force to prevent them travelling freely to "public" areas near the town. This is only a free country on paper.

  • 0

    Lowly

    I was unsympathetic to the protestors until I saw that movie, and the bit about the older guy who was the trainer for flipper and talking about how close he was with the animal, how hard it was for the animal to be confined, how it committed suicide in the end, and how the show, and therefore, he felt, he himself, was responsible for the popularizing of dolphin shows around the world, resulting in lots of animals pent up like flipper was. Many of which come from the Taiji hunt.

    However the fishers are free to fish. Dophins hunt in the ocean and kill all sorts of fish. They get separated from their pack and die when they die. There is nothing moral or immoral about hunting. Sure, I just can('t buy the cultural excuse, from either side of the debate. We were all whale/dolphin hunters til about 100 yrs ago. Before electricity, candles made from whale fat was a big source of energy/light. etc etc., as everyone knows, so don't make fun of these fishers just for doing what we all did. Do we need to hunt them now? no. Do we need their meat? no. But, that's like, my choice to make at the supermarket. The fishers are free to fish. It's what they know, what their community is based on. If and when they want to change, they will as they like.

    Protesters, sure, free to protest.

    But anyone who hasn't seen the movie, should see it, no matter which sid of the debate you're on. I avoided watching it at first, sure it would be shrill. but it wasn't...

  • -7

    nikku510

    Daijoboots

    Are they serious? I mean do they actually believe in an afterlife for these people? Sorry, I meant animals. Sometimes I forget that they aren't humans nor on an equal footing with humans.

    Daijoboots, What makes you think humans are not animals? Of course there is no afterlife for dolphins. But it is just as silly to believe in an afterlife for humans.

    If people want to eat dolphin meat then let them do it. But comparing one species of animal to another is besides the point.

  • -6

    basroil

    smithinjapanAug. 26, 2012 - 11:24AM JST

    There's no reason to berate these people for going and doing what they are doing. They are free to come and protest, so let them, same as the people of Taiji are free to try and ignore them.

    Actually, that's not technically true all the time. They could be in violation of Section 5 Article 12 and 13 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. Of course, that would depend on the actions of the protestors, and so much as being too close to the event could be considered violation of Article 12. If article 12 is ever violated, they more or less instantly violate article 13 as well. Again, there are some circumstances in which they are justified, but more likely than not they would be violating immigration control, and that's without authorities invoking the special denials section.

  • 1

    Suchifumazu

    Forget holding hands. They need to get some boats and use sonar and or other tactics to scare these dolphins away from the cove if they want to really help them. However, I'm sure those lucky few that are spared and taken to perform in the aquatic shows aren't complaining. They are living the Flipper dream being hand fed by humans.

  • -1

    Lowly

    suchif

    Dolphins in aquariums are extremely anxious and unhealthy. They get ulcers and other nervous disorders.

    Whether it is better or worse than death, I guess different dolphins might have a different idea...

    But why do I have thumbs down for saying live and let live? Hunters hunt, fishers fish, protesters protest. That's the way of the world.

  • -5

    WilliB

    " Participants will form a circle for a moment of silence for the souls of the dolphins that have been killed in the past "

    Oh please spare me. I am also against the dolphin hunt there, and I am all for presenting reasonable arguments against it. But prayer circles for the souls of animals past? Who do they want to win over with this new-age nonsense?

  • -2

    Kaori Kurita

    I think these protesters should switch to more endangered species like sharks. In the US, we even eat shark meat and fin soup without realizing they are serving an endangered specie!

  • 0

    Suchifumazu

    Lowly

    That's right. I've also read that dolphins in aquariums don't live as long, but i think I'd have to go with being hand fed by humans over being stabbed to death. I guess they are not really living the Flipper dream as I wrote since Flipper could come and go as he/she pleased (sic)...

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    CrazyJoe: "Does that apply to the Taiji fisherman?"

    Absolutely. It would just be nice if they did it in a more humane fashion and not the archaic slaughter they call tradition. And they're doing it anyway despite protestation, right?

  • -2

    darknuts

    They're visas should be denied.

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    darknuts: "They're visas should be denied."

    Why? because they want to protest? That would send a pretty dangerous precedent, don't you think?

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    darknuts: And try not to forget, part of the reason for their trip, or at least their justification of it (I'll admit), is to pay respects to those who lost their lives in last years disasters. Would you deny that? If so, please give any money back they may have donated or would donate if they could come.

  • 0

    hotbertaa

    After reading to the bottom of that tit for tat, I feel somewhat ill.

  • 0

    CrazyJoe

    @smithinjapan

    Okay. Do you have any data on the subsidies?

  • 0

    mojoe74

    Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and can also be released into the air through industrial pollution. Mercury falls from the air and can accumulate in streams and oceans and is turned into methylmercury in the water. It is this type of mercury that can be harmful Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of methylmercury. However, larger fish that have lived longer have the highest levels of methylmercury because they've had more time to accumulate it. These large fish (swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish) pose the greatest risk. Other types of fish and shellfish may be eaten in the amounts recommended. here is the link http://thegoodhuman.com/2010/07/04/which-fish-are-safe-to-eat-to-avoid-mercury/

  • -3

    whiskeysour

    THIS IS JAPAN- They can do what they want !!!! If they want to eat mercury let them eat mercury.

    Can impose your beliefs on another country.

  • -5

    ReformedBasher

    @Iowan

    Taiji really is beautiful, isn't it? It's a pity that they have to put up with these people. They're like a broken record and get way too much publicity.

    Want to help save the planet? Don't fly there.

  • -8

    mike46

    Hurry up and get me my Dolphin meat fix.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    CrazyJoe: "Okay. Do you have any data on the subsidies?"

    Google government subsidies on the Taiji dolphin hunt and you get HEAPS of hits instantly, all pointing out the government subsidies. They are a fact, and even mentioned in the story on this thread. As to how much, I don't know, but obviously it's enough to keep the 8.5% of Taiji people who are actually involved in the fishing industry to keep on killing as much as possible despite a drop in consumption of the meat. As with most whale meat, the dolphin meat probably sits in freezers and rots a little more slowly (until they can push it off on school lunches somewhere else!).

  • 1

    Disillusioned

    Wow! A lot of naive posts in this thread. Dolphin meat is tainted with mercury and pesticides and is not fit for human consumption. As for letting the Japanese eat what they like: Unfortunately, this is not the case. The Japanese make no distinction between whale and dolphin meat. They are very often labelled the same in supermarkets and most of the izakaya chains use dolphin meat, which is sold as whale. Therefor, people are not eating what the want. Also, there is a strong possibility the surplace meat will end up on the lunch plates of elementary and junior high school kids, as was done in the 70's and 80's. This is (and should be) a major concern for any parent living in Japan. Rick O'Barry and his team may well be interfering in something that is none of their business, but as a parent in Japan you should make it your business to support the ban on dolphin meat.

  • -2

    MasterBape

    Kaoru Kurita: "In the US, we even eat shark meat and fin soup without realizing they are serving an endangered specie!"

    Then don't eat it. You do have a choice, you know.

  • -1

    Thunderbird2

    Ah, the annual slaughter of dolphins... how can anyone support this?

  • 1

    Amidalism

    I really want to try dolphin meat just because of protesters like these. Also, a moment of silence for the lost souls of dolphins? You have to be kidding me. How do these people expect to be taken seriously when they say stuff like that?

  • 0

    arrestpaul

    Ric O’Barry is desperately trying to appear relevant again. It's been a long time since "Flipper".

  • 0

    arrestpaul

    Thunderbird2 - Ah, the annual slaughter of dolphins... how can anyone support this?

    Ah, the annual parade of an over-the-hill entertainer who desperately needs to "force" his opinion on people in another country. This seems to be the only attention that Ric O'Barry can muster up anymore. Hey! Everyone! Look at O'Barry! He's almost a "somebody" again. hehehe.

  • 0

    GIGOHOME

    Thank you OBarry for trying to do the the right thing.

  • -1

    Kaori Kurita

    MasterBape: I wish you would read it carefully before you post. I said "without realizing they are serving an endangered specie". = "They serve them without telling you what it really is".

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