Dolphins not purchased by dolphinariums are brutally slaughtered by stabbing them with spikes, usually just behind the blowhole, causing the animals a slow, spasmodic death. The maimed and dyeing dolphins thrash about and writhe as they try to escape, but there is no exit from the bloodbath. This is the price they pay so the fisheries can squeeze some extra profits from the victims of their prey by the sale of dolphin meat.
The carnage off the coast of Japan had been a dark secret until 2009, when the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove exposed the horrifying truths behind the hunting of dolphins. According to The Japan Times, the Japanese government allows about 19,000 dolphins to be killed each year off the coast of Japan. Despite the magnitude of the killing, and its gruesome nature, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has failed to take any action because dolphins are not a protected cetacean.
Given inaction by the IWC, the time is long past due for our government to take forceful action to bring the dreadful practice of dolphin hunting to a halt. Currently, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, under the auspices of President Obama, is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with 11 other nations, including Japan. TPP presents a golden opportunity to apply strong pressure on Japan to ban the capture and slaughter of dolphins.