Taiji Cruelty: Activists Target Japanese Slaughter of Dolphins; Defensive Officials Say You Can Pet Them Before You Eat Them

Abby Zimet

Japan has restarted its annual, brutal killing of dolphins in Taiji, but thanks in part to the film The Cove - which sparked international opposition and reportedly helped reduce demand for the once-popular, now-mercury-infused dolphin meat by two-thirds - activists are waging an increasingly visible battle against the slaughter. In addition to protests, petitions, observers, flash mobs, Tweetstorms, Facebook pages and home-grown groups like Flippers Japan, Anonymous says it has hacked 22 Japanese government sites and will launch #OpKillingBay next week to protest the "shameful" hunt. And in what has been dubbed "the most barbarous bit of mixed messaging" in response to the "unfavorable circumstances," defensive Taiji officials say they will create a petting zoo and theme park where people can swim with the dolphins before then eating them at the cafe - once, that is, they have been driven in helpless pods into traps, where they are killed by driving a spike through the spine at the base of their neck. Ah, capitalism.

"In the summer, swimmers can enjoy watching the mammals that are released from a partitioned-off space…This is part of Taiji's long-term plan of making the whole town a park, where you can enjoy watching marine mammals while tasting various marine products, including whale and dolphin meat." - town official Masaki Wada.

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