Dolphin Hunting: Wrong By Which Culture?

Taiji striped dolphin boatload 03Of all the creatures in the vast ocean, dolphins seem like the last creatures we would ever consider hunting and killing, let alone eating. But in other places, such as Japan, dolphins unfortunately don’t get such special treatment. Dolphin hunting has been a long-standing practice among Japanese fishermen — 99 percent of captured dolphins are killed for food. The recently released documentary, “The Cove,” which sheds light on dolphin hunting in Taiji, Japan, has increased attention on this practice and enraged animal rights activists in Japan. They have begun keeping a close watch on the shores, counting each day that goes by without a hunt.

Fishermen in the Wakayama Prefecture typically lure dolphins by clashing together iron pipes in the waters, which scares and confuses dolphins — once they’re driven into the cove, they are trapped in a net and harpooned.

The morality of killing dolphins is widely debated: on one hand, hunting is a tradition that has persisted for centuries, and many argue that it is no different than killing and eating pigs or cows; on the other hand, activists argue that the practice of dolphin slaughter is inhumane and unnecessary, additionally since the high levels of mercury in dolphin meat make it unsafe to consume.

With films such as “The Cove,” organizations such as Save Japan Dolphins, and celebrities like Hayden Panettiere publicly speaking up for the safety of dolphins, it doesn’t seem like dolphin hunting will endure. But unfortunately for all you other sea creatures, the same can't be said for you.