Saturday, October 16, 2010

Filipinos Protest Dolphin Slaughter In Japan

Photos show Filipino protesters during a rally in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila.
MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 16, 2010) – Filipino activists held a rally in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila and protested Tokyo’s continued slaughter of dolphins.

The protest was led by the Earth Island Institute together with the Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the Friend of the Sea.
The rally coincided with the International Japan Dolphin Day where activists from at least 65 organizations in 56 cities all over the world trooped to Japanese embassies to protest the killing of dolphins.

Activists said Tokyo is again planning a massive slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Wakayama in Japan.

Japan grants permits to kill as much as 23,000 dolphins every year. Those who have witnessed the hunts relate how dolphins, which are highly intelligent and social animals, are brutally killed with spears and knives. The hunts go on every year from October through April.

“The Cove,” a film on the brutal hunts which won Best Documentary in this year’s Oscar Awards, has intensified the campaign launched by Earth Island Institute years back regarding the dolphin slaughter.

According to The Cove, marine parks and aquariums buy animals from Japan for their dolphin shows. A single untrained dolphin can cost as much as $150,000. The money paid by the dolphin show industry is one major reason why the hunts persist despite the fact that majority of the Japanese people do not eat dolphin, and it is clearly uneconomical to kill dolphins for food.

Trixie Concepcion, regional director of Earth Island in the Philippines, said dolphins from the Japanese drive hunts have also been shipped to the Philippines. “In 2001, the country imported 5 false killer whales, four of which already died performing at the Ocean Adventure Park in Subic. Another 4 bottlenose dolphins arrived in the country in 2004, one of which is now dead, and just last year, another 4 bottlenose dolphins were imported from Japan,” she said.

“The Philippine Government must stop supporting the dolphin slaughter in Japan by allowing continued importation of dolphins into the country,” Concepcion added.

Jay Padlan, of the Friend of the Sea, urged Filipinos to stop patronizing dolphin shows in the Philippines. “If we Filipinos want to end the hunts, there is something very concrete we can do and that is to stop watching and patronizing dolphin shows. When aquariums stop buying dolphins in Japan, the killings can, too,” Padlan said.

Protesters said dolphin meat is largely sold in Japan, but warned that the flesh contains high levels of mercury.

“The demonstration is not only about animal welfare, it is also very much about human welfare. We support the Japanese people’s right to know that this is happening in their country. We also support their right to know that the dolphin meat being offered to them as food contains high levels of toxic mercury. We urge the Japanese government to stop the senseless killings in Japan and to protect its people from mercury poisoning,” Concepcion said.

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