national

Activists file suit to stop dolphin hunting in Japan

63 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


63 Comments
Login to comment

arrestpaulToday 07:54 am JST

Animal rights zealots, backed by foreigners and their money, are now filing made up lawsuits in order to force the Japanese into doing their bidding.

I always find the accusation that foreigners are influencing the Japanese to be quite absurd. If you live in Japan and know anything about the Japanese, then you know that they have a strong sense of culture and do not bow to international pressure that easily. It seems more than a little bit insulting for you to imply that Japanese don't have a mind of their own and simply follow what "foreigners and their money" want them to do.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

The lawsuit is the first-ever legal challenge to the hunt in Taiji, according to a lawyer involved in the filing. It argues that the hunting method violates Japan's animal welfare act, which stipulates animals shall not be abused or killed unnecessarily and that -- when they must be killed -- their pain must be minimized.

Setting aside the arguments around the hunting / killing of dolphins, it will be very interesting to see how the Japanese legal system handles this.

The key, legally, is two fold: necessity, and the minimization of pain.

Clearly the animal welfare act does not prevent cows, pigs, chickens, etc. from being killed. One has to imagine that is predicated on the idea that their killing is necessary --- a source of food being the primary reason, but I imagine providing a living to those engaged in it may also be argued.

Which then means that the next argument would then be whether pain is being minimized. And, again, with ordinary livestock, I am sure the industries would argue that whatever method is used does minimize the pain as much as possible.

Which brings us to the basis for Taiji arguing that this does not violate the act. They will argue, somehow, that this is a necessity and, being a necessity, there is no easier / better way to undertake this killing. Or something like that.

My point is that I can't see a court wanting to get caught up in the middle of this, particularly given the conservative forces that support this. And if they are given a way to excuse it, they will probably seek a way to do so.

I don't like it, but am just calling it like I see it. Maybe I will be proven wrong.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

cla68 - If the dolphins aren’t endangered then nothing wrong with hunting them if people are willing to eat them.

Blind! It is not the fact they are hunted. It is how they are hunted. These dolphins are rounded up and slaughtered in the most barbaric and cruel fashion, many of which are just injured and left to bleed out and die of their injuries. Dolphins are not fish. They a mammals.

8 ( +30 / -22 )

If the method of harvesting is not in compliance with Japanese laws then that aspect should indeed be rectified and brought into compliance. However, if the species is not endangered and a demand exists to support it then there is no reason to object. That is of course unless emotion is the driving factor.

8 ( +24 / -16 )

Has anybody here in Japan ever seen dolphin meat on the menu at a sushi shop?

For that matter, dolphin meat offered for sale in a Japanese supermarket?

8 ( +16 / -8 )

"Fishing for dolphins is their livelihood"

Boo hoo. Tough tomatoes. They will have to change to live in the modern world. We don't have slave owners anymore, and we don't sacrifice our livestock to the sky god. We don't need dolphin fishermen either. The 'culture' argument is ridiculous. Should we be allowed to have sex with children too, because that was the common thing a few hundred years ago... ? NO. Get with the times. If you can't adapt to another job, that's just too bad.

8 ( +21 / -13 )

"Many Japanese see dolphins as fish and mistakenly believe the animal welfare act does not apply to them,"

Never seen a fish that can be trained to jump through hoops, attach devices to underwater objects, or has the brain ability to comprehend like a human (so I understand).

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Stop dolphin hunting. The world is taking Japan thankfully as an advanced country. It damages our image. Primitive traditions must be given up.

5 ( +32 / -27 )

Dolphins are not fish. There are mammals and should fall under the same animal cruelty laws as cats and dogs. They should also be under the same slaughter laws as cattle, pork and sheep. They should not be tortured and left to bleed out in an ocean pen.

5 ( +18 / -13 )

what jobs do you propose the dozens of fishermen should then be given?

What jobs are given to you? You make your job

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Fishing for dolphins is their livelihood. It is all they have done for generations.

Instead of "fishing for dolphins" try replacing that phrase with any other job to see how meaningless it is. Example: Typesetting, making horseshoes, strip mining....

Jobs disappear all the time to make way for new jobs. People adapt. Always have. I had generations of fishermen in my family as well. I am glad they stopped!

4 ( +25 / -21 )

 no one I know has ever seen or eaten dolphin meat.

It is not relevant whether some foreigners have seen it or not, but go to Wakayama, you can see it. .

4 ( +13 / -9 )

People should not aware that the dolphin and whale are species multiple completely out of control and they are destroying the balance of the nature. Dolphin and whale hunts are Japanese tradition and must be greatly expanded due to shortage of delicious meat. By hunting as many dolphins as possible and consuming their meat, we are at the same time protect our environment. I love to eat dolphin meat. I am sure anyone who eats it also loves it.

Out of control? Are you serious? Think with your heart, not your bloody stomach!!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Killing these dolphins in such a cruel manner isn't very Buddhist-like.

3 ( +27 / -24 )

I was one of those kids who grew up watching the TV show "Flipper", and fell in love with the idea of having a dolphin friend. Looking back, we now know this was all just a fantasy. It almost seems like the fishermen of Taiji have the opposite, but equally delusional, fantasy: a love for killing a creature that wild and free. And, I concur, no one I know has ever seen or eaten dolphin meat. It's got to be the love for the kill that's making these guy do what they do.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

It will be amusing to see what "logic" the courts use when dismissing this suit (and it's 100% guaranteed that they will dismiss it). Will they argue that dolphins are not mammals? Will they perhaps state that a long, slow, agonising death is consistent with the duty to "minimize pain"? Whatever incoherent drivel they come out with will be yet another fine example of the inadequacy of the Japanese "justice" system.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

It is just like carrying guns in the U.S., an outdated, barbaric custom that is quite unnecessary but will never be changed.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Tuna and all fishes are now becoming scarce due to dolphins preying on them

I think you will find that tuna are becoming scarce because the Japanese have eaten most of them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Blind! It is not the fact they are hunted. It is how they are hunted

Oh sure, do you think people will be perfectly fine with hunting dolphins if they are hunted the proper way? The way they are hunted is only a part of the problem.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Lost in the rhetoric against whale/dolphin hunting by the anti-Japan crowd

Tbf, there's only a few here who will use this opportunity to attack Japan. The rest of us here love this country and its people. Most Japanese (most I know, at any rate) are against whaling and slaughtering dolphins.

Amazing, not all Japanese support such hunts. Imagine that!

Needs to be said, aye.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Dolphins are NOT endangered. Fact. They are abundant. Furthermore, they are ravenous eaters and deplete the oceans of fish. Tuna and all fishes are now becoming scarce due to dolphins preying on them. Secondly, dolphin meat is delicious, especially when grilled. I bet most people who are complaining have never had the chance to sample it.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Alex - what makes you think the large factory animal industry here has "better" practices than "western countries"?

Have you been to a piggery here in Japan? I have - only 15ks away. Have you been to a battery hen factory here in Japan? Have you been to a demoralizing dairy cow farm here? All are within a 40 mins drive from my house and I don't see anything remotely "positive" about those poor animals existence.

On what basis do you believe Japan treats animals better? On what science? On what reports? Classic urban myth if ever. Spend a volunteer weekend in a chicken factory and then write your appraisal.

Fact - the mindless greed of factory farming knows few bounds and Japan has more than enough of it's share to join the ranks of horror of other countries.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Lets criticize Japan a country already treating animals better than most Western countries out there.

I'm afraid Japan treats animals very badly, and has a deservedly awful worldwide reputation; Japan is renowned for animal cruelty. Japan scores a 'D' on the World Animal Protection rankings. I have heard it said that Japanese people treat all animals equally. Equally poorly perhaps. They have yet to sign the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW). Japanese people rate animals & nature in terms of their utility to man. This is true of a dolphin, whale, tree or slug. All are ripe for exploitation.

https://api.worldanimalprotection.org/country/japan

Furthermore, they are ravenous eaters and deplete the oceans of fish.

I wonder if this kind of ignorance is deliberate trolling or is taught. JARPA tried this approach at the IWC some time back and were laughed out of the room by all.

Tuna and all fishes are now becoming scarce due to dolphins

Where to begin? Perhaps the 100yen kaiten-sushi, or the supermarket shelves? If you believe that ridding the oceans of 'things that eat fish' will lead to more fish on your plate then you should think about what @browny1 said below

coz here's me thinking it was the voracious appetite and greed of humans via factory fishing that was decimating fish populations. Silly me!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If consuming dolphins were such a part of Japanese culture then why is dolphin meat labeled whale meat?

Why are there ‘hidden’ menus that are not seen by all in restaurants?

Why is the cove in Wakayama an inaccessible part of coast?

There must be a massive mental imbalance in those dealing dolphins here....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

THey'd never win the suit in Japan to begin with, and if it won in an international body like the IOJ Japan would just ignore it like they Always do when it doesn't suit their interests, and demand others abide by it when it does. These old men who engage in the shameful dolphin hunt will keep doing it out of stubborness, regardless of the fact that no one wants the meat and they have to force it on children in school lunches to reduce rotting stock, and then claim they do it proudly and for all to see, and hide Nothing behind the blue tarps they put up to hide it all. Even the Taiji town mayor was forced to admit that eating the meat gives people 10 times the acceptable levels of mercury.... and finally halted it in school lunches there.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

a rare piece of provocative diplomacy for the country, which has generally pursued an uncontroversial foreign policy since its World War II defeat.

Come on, regarding a given type of animal as food is not a serious foreign policy issue. Out in Africa the locals eat elephants. Is that a "foreign policy" issue? Of course not.

This issue is always blown out of proportion, it's ridiculous.

It sparked outrage in December when it decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission

No it was a welcome move. Japan had been far too patient at the IWC, as time proved. They should have quit back in the 1990's and got on with "commercial" whaling back then. "Commercial", as in "everything" from "ice creams" to "forestry" and virtually whatever human activity one cares to shake a harpoon at.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Countries which consume huge amounts of meat and cause suffering to billions of animals by not allowing them to move, cut off the beak, packed in facilities by the millions, fed with antibiotics, many can't see the sunlight ever.

But...

Lets criticize Japan a country already treating animals better than most Western countries out there.

You kill animals just for fun, for sport, to take pictures and than stuff the animals head on your wall. On a high horse we are full of bs.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Gotta love the posters who state that whales and dolphins are destroying the balance of world fish stocks by overeating.

Any stats to support such would be welcomed, coz here's me thinking it was the voracious appetite and greed of humans via factory fishing that was decimating fish populations. Silly me!

And re tradition. Anyone in the know, knows that the essential component of the Taiji dolphin drive is to secure suitable specimens to sell live to the highest bidder for display in Water-Worlds, aquariums etc.

Money from the flesh is miniscule. Money from the Live Trade is Huge. If traditon is the Biggie, then should be no probs in giving up the live trade business and concentrate on what you've done for centuries - killing & eating dolphins. Be proud and tell the world - we're indigenous hunters - we're not in it for the money on the side.

In the 21st C, the practice of taking animals from the wild for the purpose of sale & display has been abandoned by most developed countries. Breeding programs have replaced such hunts. No tiger safaris, Zebra catches, or Brown Bear traps. Wild animals are best in the wild.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How can any human being want to slaughter dolphin?? They are the friendliest animals. And the way they are slaughtered,....really disturbing. Says a lot about their psych.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Interesting argument and one that will hopefully force the courts into getting the permit revoked!

Sadly however it will not stop the hunting of the dolphins!

0 ( +23 / -23 )

I’ve yet to meet any Japanese person express a liking for dolphin meat.

And I have never seen dolphin meat here,in the hundreds of times that I have been to supermarkets in Japan

Hunting dolphins is not part of Japanese culture and those that say it is are misleading us.....

0 ( +22 / -22 )

but what jobs do you propose the dozens of fishermen should then be given?

There's a fishing village called Lamakera in Indonesia. It used to hunt Manta Rays.

They stopped hunting, modified their boats and now take tourists to watch the Rays.

Whale watching is a growing business in Japan too. If a village in Indonesia can do it, sure the folks in Taiji can do it too.

0 ( +18 / -18 )

10 years after the cove? Took a long time to file a suit. Better late than never I guess. Hope it will have an effect.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

Lost in the rhetoric against whale/dolphin hunting by the anti-Japan crowd is this little blurb:

"Many Japanese see dolphins as fish and mistakenly believe the animal welfare act does not apply to them," said Ren Yabuki, head of an environmental NGO, who brought the action along with a Taiji resident who asked for anonymity.

"I've seen many times that half-killed dolphins are taken away on small boats, thrashing about in pain," Yabuki said, adding it can take dozens of minutes for the animals to die."

Amazing, not all Japanese support such hunts. Imagine that!

0 ( +7 / -7 )

As a westerner I find this practice horrible,unfortunately in our point of view Asians have different values in animal and human rights than us,we can try to explain as much as we want but I think the more we do the more they become defensive.

Sadly there is nothing we can do in their domestic waters and territory,it's their call.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Has footage of the dolphin slaughter ever been aired on Japanese TV? If not, you can't expect the majority of people to know anything about it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Easy to say, but what jobs do you propose the dozens of fishermen should then be given? Perhaps as Wakayama-Ken government officers? They are not desk workers. Fishing for dolphins is their livelihood. It is all they have done for generations.

So basically just let them keep slaughtering dolphins because it keeps them in a job? Nice

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Will Goode, I hate to say this but, Japanese have to start to feel correctly. Creating problems by themselves ??? & others ???.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Living on the Pacific coast of Chiba prefecture: there is plenty of historical and archaeological evidence of Japanese people's close relationship with both Dolphin and Whales from the Jomon period and have had both Dolphin and Whale cuisine celebrated by many that have lived out here for generations. http://www.gepr.org/en/contents/20140217-01/ Having also heavy Native American heritage (BlackFeet) and influence as well on my American side of heritage, the traditional Japanese were much more similar to Native Americans in terms of respect and spirituality with the animals they hunted. As many Native Americans now who have been devastated culturally by the loss of the West by the Europeans sitting on reservations collecting welfare and eating processed foods getting overweight, etc. Unfortunately, too few Native Americans now can even practice hunting in their traditional areas and prey. (Buffalo herds devastated by building of the railroads, Macah Indians on WA coast being harassed for their annual whale hunts, etc..) I pray Japan resists the cultural imperialism and bullying of the western nations to lose their traditions of sustainable and respectful whaling practices. Japan's culture is unique and loved by many from around the world because they modernized on their own without being colonized and retained a unique Japanese aspect to their culture and traditions. In the grand scheme of things there are so much larger world and Japan issues to tackle besides a few small whaling dolphin hunting traditions being kept alive in isolated villages in Japan.

-2 ( +13 / -15 )

Is the only thing that slows Japanese down is "if it is endangered" ?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

These dolphins are rounded up and slaughtered in the most barbaric and cruel fashion, many of which are just injured and left to bleed out and die of their injuries. Dolphins are not fish. They a mammals.

So, it is be OK to round up and slaughter fish in the most barbaric and cruel fashion? And do you truly want us to believe if they killed the dolphins in a way that was quick and sure that you would be OK with it?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

So if you lift a fish out of the water by its lips or tongue or cheek by the hook does that hurt or are we only talking mamamls like Dolphins or should we ban line fishing, entirely.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Many in Japan felt it unfairly targeted the town's fishing community

> The lawsuit is the first-ever legal challenge to the hunt in Taiji, according to a lawyer involved in the filing.

Animal rights zealots, backed by foreigners and their money, are now filing made up lawsuits in order to force the Japanese into doing their bidding.

-3 ( +21 / -24 )

They are not desk workers. Fishing for dolphins is their livelihood It is all they have done for generations.

Move with the times. If they want to stay on the water, they could organise dolphin-watching tours or dolphin swims. Run diving tours, show people how pretty the sea is when it isn't soaked in blood and guts.

-3 ( +19 / -22 )

@NihonRyu

their traditions of sustainable and respectful whaling practices.

How "traditional" is drive hunting, with its use of GPS and radar? How "traditional" are other forms of Japanese whaling, with exploding harpoons? Maybe the Jomon were a lot more advanced than we give them credit for?

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Hoping this is the dolphinish line for those hunters!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Dolphins eat a lot of fish. The more there are, the more fish they eat.

I was told the reason they were hunted was not for food but to limit their kill on fish on which fishermen depend their livelihood. Think of it as the North American wolf and livestock.

But that’s part of the food chain. And humans unfortunately are on top of it

To those who lament fish being eaten by dolphins so there’s a smaller and harder catch for you, it’s a part of nature.

To those who lament the way dolphins are slaughtered by humans, it’s a part of nature. No one protests the way wilderbeests are lying in pain as lions eat them alive.

Humans are animals who feel obligated to appear civilized.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

"Many Japanese see dolphins as fish and mistakenly believe the animal welfare act does not apply to them," they are not a fish but they are mammals, so the welfare act DOES apply.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Does Japanese eat dolphins too ???.Whale meat was bad enough , now dolphins ???.Maybe, Japanese people have to learn to deal with , their actions in a responsible way.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If they want to stay on the water, they could organise dolphin-watching tours or dolphin swims. Run diving tours, show people how pretty the sea is when it isn't soaked in blood and guts.

This! ^^

-4 ( +14 / -18 )

If the dolphins aren’t endangered then nothing wrong with hunting them if people are willing to eat them.

-5 ( +26 / -31 )

There's a fishing village called Lamakera in Indonesia. It used to hunt Manta Rays.

They stopped hunting, modified their boats and now take tourists to watch the Rays.

Whale watching is a growing business in Japan too. If a village in Indonesia can do it, sure the folks in Taiji can do it too.

They can if they want to. But it seems that being stubborn is part of Japanese culture

I’ve yet to meet any Japanese person express a liking for dolphin meat.

And I have never seen dolphin meat here,in the hundreds of times that I have been to supermarkets in Japan

Hunting dolphins is not part of Japanese culture and those that say it is are misleading us.....

Actually brother, if you've watched the cove, they tell us that alot of "whale meat being sold is actually dolphin.."

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

As many Native Americans now who have been devastated culturally by the loss of the West by the Europeans sitting on reservations collecting welfare and eating processed foods getting overweight, etc

I think you forgot about the casinos.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

@RealCDN There is plenty of dolphin to eat if you know where. Sotobo Chiba is the easiest from Tokyo. However, I would stipulate that dolphin is a bit gamey/smelly to be served sashimi style like whale IMO and better in stew and personally prefer whale over dolphin. I've had dolphin maybe a dozen times in various places in Chiba in (hidden menus) at various eateries concentrated along the coast in the last 15yrs on the way back from surf trips. They actually used to sell them in the back of trucks like sweet potatoes in some fishing village locales hawking them over speaker announcing イルカ, イルカ! FYI: If the whale meat is rather inexpensive and tastes a bit more pungent than you remember, it might likely be dolphin. (Dolphin is edible but wouldn't quite say its good while whale is generally delicious!) I would compare dolphin to dog meat I ate in Seoul, and as is typical there they don't generally advertise it widely and need to go with local person to find dog meat specialty restaurants and generally cooked in stews masked by spices/garlic, etc.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Ironical is that Europeans had decimated most of now exterminated or endangered species of whales and dolphins around the world. Now they suddenly became the most advocate of animal right including dolphins. The same is for carbon dioxide emission and green house effects. Europeans may look hypocritical, but the global trend is to protect dolphins, which Japan will have to follow soon.

Agreed. Japan will eventually bow down and follow. Japan must submit

It is completely fine to be a part of the cause of the problem, turn around and then attempt to be a part of the solution. So a whaler or dolphiner in the past now spreading the message to to stop the killing is in fact a great story.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

And I have never seen dolphin meat here,in the hundreds of times that I have been to supermarkets in Japan

I've seen it on sale locally quite a few times, it's often promoted with a little old lady handing out small chunks to shoppers. They probably don't know it's loaded with lots of nutritious mercury.

-7 ( +12 / -19 )

Ironical is that Europeans had decimated most of now exterminated or endangered species of whales and dolphins around the world. Now they suddenly became the most advocate of animal right including dolphins. The same is for carbon dioxide emission and green house effects. Europeans may look hypocritical, but the global trend is to protect dolphins, which Japan will have to follow soon.

-8 ( +16 / -24 )

Easy to say, but what jobs do you propose the dozens of fishermen should then be given? Perhaps as Wakayama-Ken government officers? They are not desk workers. Fishing for dolphins is their livelihood. It is all they have done for generations.

Pray tell what do these "fishermen" do the rest of the year? If it as you so claim, this hunting of dolphins is going on year round, but it's not, it is a once a year slaughter, that is unnecessary!

If they are truly fishermen they can go out and fish like all the others!

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

Dolphins are traditionally caught for meat in Japan

What meat? I have never seen dolphin meat for sale anywhere - not even in pet-food. If it is being wrongfully packaged and sold as something else then it is clearly a part of a larger problem. As if it could be any uglier than it is...

I don't want to buy or eat eat dolphin meat! Period.

If it is being sold in Japan, it needs to be labelled correctly (and lawfully). Better yet - stop this barbaric dolphin hunt!

-9 ( +13 / -22 )

Stop dolphin hunting. 

Easy to say, but what jobs do you propose the dozens of fishermen should then be given? Perhaps as Wakayama-Ken government officers? They are not desk workers. Fishing for dolphins is their livelihood. It is all they have done for generations.

-10 ( +27 / -37 )

Abusive system, no doubt about that.

-10 ( +11 / -21 )

Ah, the Great Plains dolphins... Reading through the posts and wondering: Where DOES one find dolphin meat to eat? I've never seen it. Will be nibbling on some whale in Tokyo next month - it better not be dolphin. I will ask when there.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

People should not aware that the dolphin and whale are species multiple completely out of control and they are destroying the balance of the nature. Dolphin and whale hunts are Japanese tradition and must be greatly expanded due to shortage of delicious meat. By hunting as many dolphins as possible and consuming their meat, we are at the same time protect our environment. I love to eat dolphin meat. I am sure anyone who eats it also loves it.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites