The annual slaughter of various species of dolphin has begun in the waters around Taiji in Japan.
These awful hunts, which are expected to run until March next year, involved the corralling of dolphins at sea by small boats and driving them into the confines of a cove, where they are slaughtered for meat or kept alive for lucrative sale to marine parks and aquaria across the globe.
Every aspect of the hunt is extremely cruel, from the exhausting drive from the open ocean that can separate mothers and calves and other family groups, to confinement in a netted cove where the dolphins are crudely killed.
The local fishers are issued with quotas, an allowable number of different species of dolphin that can be slaughtered. They often include pilot, false killer and melon-headed whales as they are technically dolphins too, as well as striped dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, rough-toothed dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins.
Your help enables us to commission undercover investigations and surveillance in Taiji. You enable work with local organisations and to educate the public – many Japanese people have no idea these hunts take place. You join our campaigns to stop businesses contributing to the slaughter, such as airlines which carry live dolphins captured during the hunt for zoos and aquariums. You help us influence legislators and decision makers to tighten laws to protect dolphins and save them from suffering.