Activists make waves in Taiji

Town says slaughter is tradition

Animal activists, dolphin hunters and whalers met for the first time recently in Japan in an attempt to prepare for this year’s slaughter season and to foster understanding, but the meeting wasn’t as productive as many had hoped, according to media reports.

In early November, Taiji town council members and conservationists met in an effort to appease some of the tension that has built up since the anti-slaughter documentary The Cove won an Academy Award earlier this year.

However, the conversation quickly went sour when the film’s star, Ric O’Barry, and Sea Shepherd member Scott West insisted the activists would not rest until the cruel practice ended. Taiji’s town council members maintained that whaling and dolphin hunting are a deep-rooted tradition, and that outsiders are wrong to enforce their beliefs on the small town.

Taiji, a town of about 3,500, was the birthplace of Japanese whaling several centuries ago. Standard practice involves crowding entire pods of dolphins and whales into coves before they are slaughtered or sold to aquariums.