Star of the 2009 Award-Winning Documentary, “The Cove”, Ric O’ Barry and his team of passionate volunteers are planning return to Taiji, on September 1st. Taiji, a small coastal fishing village in Japan, is the location for a yearly dolphin-drive hunt slaughter operation that takes place between September and March. This hunt has a normal set quota of around 2,000 dolphins, though the numbers have been decreasing over the years. While most of these dolphins are stabbed to death and their meat sold on the market (despite it being highly contaminated with the toxin mercury), some of these dolphins are corralled into the cove, where trainers from marine parks all around the world go into the water and determine their prime specimen of choice for dolphin shows and swim with the dolphin programs.
Due to increasing international awareness of this hunt and slaughter by documentation of the hunt, and global protest, the numbers have dropped drastically over the past 4 years. Ric O’ Barry in an interview for “The Examiner” is quoted saying:
“I really see progress in Taiji. I know the numbers, I know that the dolphin meat sales have dropped dramatically in the last four years.” He attributes this largely to the toxic mercury in the dolphin meat. “We are able to get to the Japanese people with the mercury contamination issue, and I see measurable results.” O’Barry adds, “That’s what keeps me going.”
Ric O’ Barrys words are true. Progress in stopping this barbaric slaughter in Taiji is noticeable. With a set normal quota of around 2,000 dolphins. From September 2011 to April 2012, 848 dolphins were herded into The Cove. According to reports published by Ceta-Base, 719 of these animals were killed. This number represents a slight decline compared to the previous year’s hunt in which 1,297 were captured and 849 were killed.
For those activists and dolphin lovers around the world who cannot make it out to Taiji with Ric O’ Barry and the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians, Ric O’ Barry is the head of a campaign for you, called Japan Dolphins Day 2012. Peaceful protests are currently scheduled on August 31 and September 1 in 82 cities across the globe. Many of the events will take place in front of Japanese Embassies. Activists seek to draw international attention to the plight of the Taiji dolphins and to urge the government of Japan to let the dolphins live and be free. To see if there is an event near you visit, Japan Dolphins Day 2012. If there is not an event near you, Ric O’ Barry and Save Japan Dolphins STRONGLY encourage you to create and host one of your own! For help starting an event contact the Save Misty the Dolphin team on Facebook.