Taiji Update Feb 4, 2014 10 Risso's dolphins slaughtered in the killing cove. https://t.co/Y81YJU4NpG #tweet4taiji
- Cove Guardians (@CoveGuardians) February 4, 2014
While many fishermen and Japanese officials, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, argue that Japan's dolphin hunt is steeped in tradition, activists have countered that claim with historical records. In a letter to Dr. Gerald Dick, Executive Director of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), Sakae Hemmi of the Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan writes:
In fact, the history of dolphin hunting in Taiji is short. According to The History of Taiji, edited and published by Taiji town in 1979, the first recorded dolphin drive was in 1933, with subsequent hunts occurring in 1936 and 1944. It was not until 1969 that dolphin drives have been conducted on a large scale. The history of the dolphin drives spans not so-called 400 years, but a mere 45. Furthermore, in 1969, the main goal of the dolphin drive was to capture pilot whales as prized showpieces for the Taiji Whale Museum. In other words, the dolphin drive was purely for profit, having nothing to do with cultural history.
Meanwhile, a local fishing official in Taiji, where activists have been documenting this season's disturbing dolphin hunt, invited the U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy to come and witness the "humane" hunt herself. Says Japan Daily News:
The local official, who refused to give his name, explained the importance of the hunt to their town. He said that being a small town, there is no other "major industry" for Taiji except dolphin hunting. He also invited Kennedy to visit "so she can understand how we make a living from it." Further saying that, "many fishermen make a living from the hunting, and many others also earn their living by working at food processing factories."
The message came after Kennedy, pressured by international criticism of the slaughter, Tweeted her position against in -- a stance that is supported by the U.S. government.