Dolphin hunting season kicks off in Japan

September 1, 2014
A placard reading 'Stop! Dolphin hunt' is seen during a protest in central Tokyo against the annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, on August 31, 2014

The controversial six-month dolphin hunting season began on Monday in the infamous town of Taiji, but bad weather would delay any killing, a local official told AFP.

The annual catch, in which people from the southwestern town corral hundreds of into a secluded bay and butcher them, was thrust into the global spotlight in 2010 when it became the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove".

"The dolphin started today and will last until the end of February," said an official of the Taiji fisheries association, adding the season for pilot whales, which also begins today, will last until April.

But on Monday meant there would be no hunting on the day, he said.

Environmental campaigners are already in situ to watch the hunt, the official said.

Last , activists from international environmental group Sea Shepherd, who call themselves "Cove Guardians", streamed live footage of the dolphin capture.

Earlier this year, the slaughter sparked renewed global criticism after US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy tweeted her concern at the "inhumaneness" of the hunt.

Defenders say it is a tradition and point out that the animals it targets are not endangered, a position echoed by the Japanese government.

Two dolphins are herded by fishing boats near the village of Taiji, central Japan, on November 23, 2003

They say Western objections are hypocritical and ignore the vastly larger number of cows, pigs and sheep butchered to satisfy demand elsewhere.

But critics of the practice say there is insufficient demand for the animals' meat, which in any case contains dangerous levels of mercury.

They say the hunt is only profitable because of the high prices live dolphins can fetch when sold to aquariums and dolphin shows.

On Sunday around 30 people marched in Tokyo to protest the hunt, which they say sullies Japan's reputation abroad.

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ocean lover
5 / 5 (1) Sep 01, 2014
They plan on killing 20,000 dolphins species and whale species during this time frame with some being on the endangered list. They round up a pod and kill the entire pod that is entirely made up of grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, in other words an entire family that has always lived and hunted together teaching each other how to survive. They live in these pods their entire lives. They kill every member of the pod including females and their babies are also killed that are by their sides. There can be something like 30 in the pod or 150 in the pod. All members are killed and this goes on daily for 8 months. The meat is not eaten because of mercury. They kill them because they eat their fish and they think there are millions swimming around. Japan is killing the oceans!!!!!!

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