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Japanese Town Refuses to Halt Dolphin Hunts

PBS

Dolphin hunts are a continuous problem in Japan. 

Even though Japan’s aquariums have finally bowed to worldwide pressure and stopped purchasing caught dolphins, the people of Taiji, a small Japanese fishing town, are standing their ground.

“We are hunting under the permission of the Japanese government and prefecture, and so we will continue to protect our fishermen and the methods. We will not quit,” said Kazutaka Sangen, mayor of Taiji, which happens to hold an annual dolphin slaughter.

Each year, the town’s fisherman gather to kill a high rate of dolphins at once. As filmed in the Oscar-winning documentary, “The Cove,” Taiji fisherman start scaring the dolphins by banging long metal poles into the water, confusing the aquatic mammal’s sonar navigation.

Then they herd them into a cove and spear them, killing hundreds at a time. While most are eaten, the best-looking dolphins are sometimes kept alive and sold to aquariums for thousands of dollars apiece.

But eating dolphin is losing popularity, and the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums recently announced it would stop buying Taiji dolphins in order to avoid suspension by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The change would not deter Sangen and other Taiji fishermen, who can rather easily find other buyers for their prey.

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Japanese Town Refuses to Halt Dolphin Hunts