As Japanese officials continue to defend the ongoing slaughter of dolphins trapped in the infamous Taiji cove, deflecting international criticism of the practice under guise of "tradition," one pesky detail has apparently been overlooked -- the dolphin hunt is likely in violation of Japanese law.
Although there are no international regulations in place which protect dolphins from being killed, decades-old legislation in Japan prohibits inhumane treatment to animals.
According to Japan's Act on Welfare and Management of Animals (Act No. 105 of October 1, 1973), the stated purpose of which is to prevent cruelty to animals and to "engender a feeling of love for animals among the people," Taiji's dolphin drive is by all interpretations illegal:
"All people must not only refrain from killing, injuring, and inflicting cruelty upon animals, but they must also treat animals properly taking their natural habits into account."
While "cruelty" is a subjective term -- and one that may not even apply to fishing and hunting -- Japan's dolphin hunt isn't merely pushing the envelope in light of international standards, it's shockingly out of step with established norms.