Dolphin Slaughter Resumes in Japan

Each year in early September, Japan opens season on dolphins, and today marks the start of the season in Taiji, a now notorious place for slaughtering cetaceans thanks to the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove. And of course, activist Ric O'Barry is on the move. He delivered a petition to the US Embassy in Tokyo signed by 1.7 million people from 155 countries demanding an end to the hunt. The embassy wasn't his first destination -- the Japanese fisheries agency was. But death threats from a group known for violence kinda put a damper on that.

As reported by the AP, "The Japanese government allows a hunt of about 20,000 dolphins a year, and argues that killing them -- and also whales -- is no different from raising cows or pigs for slaughter. Most Japanese have never eaten dolphin meat and, even in Taiji, it is not consumed regularly."

Last year, buzz from The Cove halted the hunt for a few days, as the area was flooded with media. But Japan refused to bend to the pressure, and resumed the hunt as usual. Since then, the documentary has spread like wildfire and has even managed to be screened in some Japanese theaters -- after much protest, of course.

Though the hunt began again this year, O'Barry says, "I'm not losing hope. Our voice is being heard in Taiji." He provides a phone number for calling leaders at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., as well as donate to the cause on Take Part.

Pressure from the global community is not about to lessen for Japan. The Cove has even been turned into a miniseries on Animal Planet, titled Blood Dolphins, the first of which aired Friday, August 27th.

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