Dolphin Slaughter: Horrible Injustice? Or Just Another Meal?


This is a disturbing video featuring an angry fisherman in Taiji, Japan, where thousands of dolphins are killed each year for food. The Earth Island Institute and its partners have teamed up to form a pretty vocal campaign against the killings, capturing video footage of the dolphins and sending dozens of surfers, actors, and activists to the now infamous shore to protest the trade and honor the dead dolphins.

The fishermen claim that dolphins are part of the cuisine in this part of Japan, and that this is no different than fishing or hunting other animals for food. But people love dolphins, and that simple argument isn’t enough to shut protesters — who include celebrities like Hayden Panettiere from Heroes — up.

Panettiere was in Japan just last week, swimming in the ocean, crying. Here’s another video focusing more on her role in the protest.

I have to admit that I saw this video and was horrified. I LOVE dolphins! But the fishermen do raise a good point: What is it about the slaughter of dolphins that crosses the line? Why does the death of a baby dolphin bother us so much more than lamb or veal?

(Thanks, Brian!)

7 thoughts on “Dolphin Slaughter: Horrible Injustice? Or Just Another Meal?

  1. I LOVE dolphins too, but I respect people’s choice for food. It’s the issue as dogs – many people are disgusted by using dogs as cuisine, but what makes dogs superior from pigs? I LOVE pigs!
    Just imagine how ridiculous it will be if Hindus were to make Youtube videos about us eating cows? That’s how I feel about Panettiere right now.
    The bottom line is: eating animals too close to your DNA can raise medical problems like mad cow disease. So as long as it’s not hurting the ecosystem, I respect other people’s choice for food.
    Monkeys, Elephants are obviously too close to our DNA. Dolphins, I’m not too sure…

  2. I think animal rights activists DO protest things like veal very often.
    For me, the difference is that cows are a domesticated animal that humans have created through artificial selection. I believe the suffering of cows being slaughtered is kept to a minimum. Dolphins are highly intelligent wild animals and their slaughter is carried out in a cruel way.
    I don’t know what the previous commenter is talking about with DNA proximity. That has nothing to do with mad cow disease, and cows and elephants are not close to us on the animal family tree. Maybe you are thinking of the Kuru disease cannibals get from eating human brains. (And monkey brains too I think.)

  3. Dolphins do not procreate as rapidly as sheep or deer or cows, and they are not raised either. If we raised dolphins on huge oceanic farms, then okay, go ahead, eat as many as you want until you get sick. But as long as we’re plaguing an already dwindling population, all we’re doing is hurting them and ourselves, especially when there aren’t enough of them left to exist anymore. Isn’t that what happened to the Chinese Yangtze River Dolphin?

  4. I lived in Taiji for one year as part of the JET program. I’m not for or against the hunting of dolphins. But what I did learn about is the long history of whaling in Taiji and how the whale was the most important resource to this small town for hundreds of years, especially for food. American whalers came in the 1800’s and decimated the whale population, only taking oil. Perry opened Japanese trading ports so that American whaling ships could re-supply. I would say that Taiji’s cultural history is as close to the whale as Native Americans are to bison. It’s just that today, they make a lot of money doing it. The town government is very aware of the environmental concern of hunting too many dolphins, so they are limited by staying within Japan’s coastal territory and a self-imposed limit on the number of the catch. But they hate protesters. Some people are trying to convert the industry from hunting to whale tourism. The town is shrinking — by now the population must be less than 1,000. And all the young people leave for jobs in the city. In another generation or so, they won’t be hunting so many dolphins.

  5. adorita, you must have a phd in biochemistry to make such a bold or idiotic statement. WHAT? MAD COW-like DECEASES BECAUSE OF ANIMALS OF “CLOSE” DNA? For your information, all mammals have “close” DNA configurations. And this is a 3rd grade biology knowledge, please stop cheating in class.
    Either you are getting too old, you are too young or you are too bimbo.

  6. Following Adorita’s bright advices of eating animals “as much different as possible” in DNA we should adopt a diet of roots, reptiles and insects.
    Thanks for the insight. Damn, what are these kids learning at school these days?