Japanese man testifies against his own town in effort to end barbaric dolphin hunts

Controversial annual dolphin hunts in Japan by the fishermen of Taiji may come to an end if one resident of the town has his way.

Footage of the annual hunt and the barbaric practice of killing dolphins has shocked the world in recent years, especially since dolphins are increasingly at risk of extinction due to humans.

Pollution and habitat loss is doing great damage to dolphin populations around the globe, and it’s a real shame because dolphins are highly intelligence mammals that interact with humans very well.

For instance, some militaries, including the United States military, train dolphins to rescue people and detect mines.

Dolphins are also studied to find new treatments for diabetes and they also heal quick and efficiently, something else scientists are interested in because it could result in treatments to help humans heal faster from significant wounds. Dolphins also provide therapy for people with depression.

As an apex predator, dolphins play a large role in ocean ecosystems and even help several other species feed on schools of fish that pods systematically round up.

So, we need dolphins, which is why an anonymous 53-year-old Taiji resident is stepping up to testify in court in favor of ending the annual hunt as part of a lawsuit brought by London-based Action for Dolphins and Japan-based Life Investigation Agency.

According to The Guardian:

The plaintiff, whose father worked on local whaling vessels for four decades, will argue the dolphin drive hunts have damaged the global reputation of Taiji – a town of 3,300 – and that by speaking out he has been “deprived of my right to live normally”.

He said fishermen had wrongly accused him of cutting nets used to confine captured dolphins, and his young sister has been verbally confronted by residents. “The owner of a Japanese restaurant talked to me about my opposition to whaling and suggested that I was no longer welcome there.”

If a court rules for Action for Dolphins, permits for the hunt will no longer be issued.

“We have high hopes for the legal action, and given the compelling evidence, we think it has every chance of success,” Action for Dolphins spokesperson Angie Plummer said. “Japanese people are front and center of the lawsuit, proving there is a strong movement to end dolphin hunting in this country. The hunts are becoming increasingly unpopular in Japan, and at the same time consumption of dolphin meat is steadily decreasing.”

Indeed, and among the reasons it should decrease is the fact that dolphin meat is high in mercury, which is harmful to humans, especially during prenatal development.

Dolphin hunting is barbaric and puts increasing pressure on a species that is already facing challenges as the world deals with worsening climate change.

Taiji may want to continue what it sees as a tradition going back hundreds of years, but that tradition is doing harm to an innocent species that means us no harm and has much to teach us.

Perhaps a new tradition of saving dolphins can be started to replace the old one, this way the town and dolphins both win.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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