Today marks the beginning of an annual massacre of one of the most intelligent creatures on our planet.
From September to March, dolphins, small whales and porpoises are captured or killed in the savage drive hunt in Taiji, Japan. A group of fisherman drive the pod into the bay by startling them with noise underwater. The original method of killing the dolphins was changed after being criticized and then banned by the government. However, the new method has been analyzed and is thought to be just as painful, with some dolphins taking up to 30 minutes to die. In one article veterinarians stated that it would be illegal to use this method in slaughter houses.
The cetaceans are killed for their meat, or are captured alive to be sold onto marine parks and aquariums all over the world, although many die from stress before even getting to their destination and those that do make it often die prematurely whilst in captivity (as most captive animals do). The bottlenose dolphin is the main target, due to their high value - they can be sold for upwards of £35,000 (approx. $53,600). The drive-hunt issue goes hand in hand with the anti-captivity movement. Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians have documented that it is the dolphin entertainment industry that drives the hunt and dolphin trainers have been seen to help in the capture. Captivity is increasingly being seen by experts as a "failed experiment" that should be abolished.