ARGOMENTO: EMERGENZE AMBIENTALI
parole chiave: delfini, Taiji, mattanza
The dolphin drive hunt
Before to talk about Tajji I tried to make myself clear on such ashame but I didn’t succeed … I wonder why in a civilized and modern country as Japan a so cruel practice is still tollerated. Actually, I am still confused and my thoughts dump in the bloody images seen on TV and in the web.
Tajji is cruel as much the whale killing in the Faroe islands, bullfighting in Spain and other cruel practices still performed around the World. I am confused and irritated by the situation and I am expecting people will be able to properly act with their Governments to make such practices something to sadly remember. To be as much objective as possible I went over wikipedia which describes the Taiji dolphin drive hunt in details and I found that such hunt is not only a cruel practice but also unhealthy for Humans; that is because the dolphin flesh is full of mercury and other metals that can be noxious for our health.
What about Taiji
“The dolphin drive hunt that takes place in Taiji, Wakayama in Japan every year from September to March. According to the Japanese Fisheries Research Agency, 1,623 dolphins were caught in Wakayama Prefecture in 2007 for human consumption or resale to dolphinariums, and most of these were caught at Taiji. The annual dolphin hunt provides income for local residents, but has received international criticism for both the cruelty of the dolphin killing and the high mercury levels of the dolphin meat.
Residents of Taiji have been refining whaling techniques and have had significant whaling operations since the early 17th century, and became known as a center for whaling in 1675. Hunting dolphins for commercial purposes in Taiji continues. In 2008, 1,484 dolphins and whales were caught, while fisherman planned to catch around 2,400 in 2009. Some of the dolphins are sold to aquatic parks, instead of slaughtered, and Ted Hammond is one of the main brokers for Taiji.
In Japan, the hunting is done by a select group of fishermen. When a pod of dolphins has been spotted, fishing boats move into position. One end of a steel pipe is lowered into the water, and the fisherman aboard the boats strike the pipe with mallets. This is done at strategic points around the pod, in an effort to herd them toward land. The clamor disrupts the dolphin’s sonar throwing off their navigation and herds them towards the bay which leads to a sheltered cove. There, the fishermen quickly close off the area with nets to prevent the dolphin’s escape. As the dolphins are initially quite agitated, they are left to calm down over night. The following day, fishermen enter the bay in small boats, and the dolphins are caught one at a time and killed. The primary method of dispatch was for a long time to cut the dolphin’s throat, severing blood vessels, and death was due to exanguination.
However, the government banned this method and now the officially sanctioned method requires that a metal pin be driven into the cervical region (“neck”) of the dolphin, severing its brainstem, which causes it to die within seconds, according to a memo from Senzo Uchida, the executive secretary of the Japan Cetacean Conference on Zoological Gardens and Aquariums. But, according to an academic paper published in 2013 in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science titled A Veterinary and Behavioral Analysis of Dolphin Killing Methods Currently Used in the ‘Drive Hunt’ in Taiji, Japan, those killing methods involving driving a rod into the spine and using a pin to stop bleeding that is used by the Taiji Japanese creates such terror and pain that it would be illegal to kill cows in Japan in this manner. Several veterinarians and behavioral scientists evaluated the current Taiji Japanese killing method and concluded that “This killing method….would not be tolerated or permitted in any regulated slaughterhouse process in the developed world.”
Since 2000, researchers such as Tetsuya Endo, a professor at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, have found high concentrations of mercury in the whale and dolphin meat sold around Japan. In their studies, Taiji residents who eat dolphin meat had high level of mercury in their hair. The Japanese Ministry of Health issued warnings on the consumption of some species of fish, whale, and dolphin since 2003. It recommended that children and pregnant women avoid eating them on a regular basis. In June 2008, AERA, a Japanese weekly journal, reported that the whale and dolphin meat sold in Taiji contained 160 times higher level of mercury and hairs of eight men and women had 40 times higher, based on a research conducted by the National Institute for Minamata Disease (NIMD). The NIMD published the full data of the research online a few days later. It has pointed out that the amount of methyl-mercury, which causes neurological damage, was not exceedingly high, and the mercury in hair showed rapid decrease since tests carried out by other institutions a few months ago to the same people. The NIMD agreed to help monitor the health of Taiji residents.
In the summer and winter of 2009, hair samples from 1,137 Taiji residents were tested for mercury by the National Institute for Minimata Disease (NIMD). None of the Taiji residents, however, displayed any symptoms of mercury poisoning, according to the Institute. Despite the claim made by Boyd Harnell, the special correspondent to the Japan Times, that the mortality rate for Taiji and nearby Koazagawa, where dolphin meat is also consumed, is “over 50% higher than the rate for similarly-sized villages throughout Japan” using data from Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, it was revealed that the comparison was not suitable due to the huge gap in the villages’ age profile. While Taiji and Kozagawa showed 34.9 percent and 44 percent of the population were over 65 years old, the compared villages showed 21 percent to 27.9 percent. In May 2012, NIMD announced the results of further tests. In 2010 and 2011, 700 Taiji residents were tested for mercury in their hair, and 117 males and 77 females who exhibited 10 ppm underwent further neurological tests. Again, no participant displayed any signs of mercury poisoning. In August 2012, the research project to investigate the health effects of mercury on children was launched by NIMD.
Hardy Jones, who founded BlueVoice.org with film star Ted Danson in 2000, has gone to Taiji numerous times to try to stop the capture of dolphins and small whales. His film The Dolphin Defender, produced by the PBS series Nature documents these events. A film titled The Cove (formerly The Rising) was secretly recorded over five years with high-tech video and sound equipment in Taiji. This full-length documentary was funded by billionaire James H. Clark and shows controversial dolphin killing techniques and discusses high mercury levels in Taiji dolphin meat.
When the film won an Oscar, the mayor of Taiji and the chief of the Taiji Fishery Union said, “Dolphin and whale hunting in Taiji is not an illegal act, [it is] in compliance with the Fisheries Act and under Wakayama Prefecture’s approval.“ Taiji town officials have also contested some of the scientific evidence presented by the film, and have claimed that the filmmakers deceived them on several points. Since the release of the film, a larger number of activists, mainly non-Japanese, have visited Taiji to protest or film the dolphin hunts.
The activists observe and monitor the hunting throughout the hunting season from September until it ends in April. The Taiji fishermen responded by constructing an elaborate structure of tarps to better conceal the drive-hunting activities in and around the cove. Activists report that they have been harassed when trying to document the hunts by local supporters of the dolphin fishermen. Although the culling cove is adjacent to Yoshino Kumano Kokuritsu Koen (Yoshino-Kumano National Park), the park is often sealed to visitors by the police during the hunts. In 2011, a police box staffed with 10 policemen was placed near the cove to prevent conflict between the protesters and the fishermen.
- “Taiji told to stop dolphin carnage or sister ties end”. The Japan Times. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
- Matsutani, Minoru, “Details on how Japan’s dolphin catches work“, Japan Times, September 23, 2009, p. 3.
- http://www.town.taiji.wakayama.jp/kankou/sub_01.html その後、延宝3年（1675年）和田頼治（のちの太地角右エ門）が網取り法を考案したことによって太地の捕鯨は飛躍的に発展しました。 紀州藩の保護もあって、「捕鯨の本場太地」は天下にその名をとどろかせ、熊野灘の捕鯨は最盛期を迎えました。
- “Taiji dolphin hunt begins: about 100 dolphins and 50 pilot whales driven into cove”. Japan Probe. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- “Who killed Flipper?“, Salon.com.
- Paul Kenyon (2004), reporter for the BBC. BBC’s dining with the dolphin hunters, retrieved on June 21, 2008.
- Kjeld Duits (2005), Japan correspondent for Environmental News Service (ENS). Activists Worldwide Protest Japan’s Dolphin Slaughter, ENS article retrieved on June 21, 2008.
- Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, Volume 16, Issue 2, 2013, DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2013.768925, Andrew Butterworth, Philippa Brakes, Courtney S. Vail & Diana Reiss pages 184-204, published online: April 1, 2013.
- Johnston, Eric, “Mercury danger in dolphin meat“, Japan Times, September 23, 2009, p. 3.
- 平成１５年６月３日に公表した「水銀を含有する魚介類等の 摂食に関する注意事項」について
- 2008/6/13 熊本日日新聞記事「鯨から高濃度水銀」 2008/6/16 AERA「『鯨の町』住民から水銀40倍」について
- Matsutani, Minoru, “Taiji locals test high for mercury: In surprise, experts fail to discover any signs of illness“, Japan Times, May 10, 2010, p. 1.
- Matsutani, Minoru, “Most Taiji residents rest easy, refuse to change diet“, Japan Times, May 10, 2010, p. 2.
- Harnell, Boyd, “Experts fear Taiji mercury tests are fatally flawed“, Japan Times, May 23, 2010, p. 12.
- “Taiji residents relieved to hear “it’s safe” again“, Asahi Shinbun, May 31, 2012.
- “Investigation of mercury health effect on elementary school children in Taiji“, Yomiuri Shinbun, Aug 7, 2012.
- Gilhooly, Rob, “Taiji drops anchor on dolphin hunts despite increasing pressure“, Japan Times, 20 September 2015
- Boyd Harnell. “Secret film will show slaughter to the world”. Japan Times Online. The Japan Times. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- アカデミー賞：「ザ・コーヴ」受賞に和歌山反発; Matsutani, Minoru, “‘Cove’ Oscar is Taiji’s chagrin“, Japan Times, March 9, 2010, p. 1.
- Harnell, Boyd, “Eyewitness to slaughter in Taiji’s killing coves“, The Japan Times, 14 February 2007.
- Alabaster, Jay, (Associated Press), and Kyodo News, “Activists may shift tactics in Taiji; Sigh of relief” and The Japan Times, 3 March 2011, p. 3.
- Kyodo News, “Typhoon delays Taiji dolphin hunt“, Japan Times, 2 September 2011, p. 2.