A couple of weeks ago, February 22nd to be precise, I took a long lunch break and drove to the Consulate of Japan in Seattle’s downtown core, and stood in the wind and rain with a sign and a stack of pamphlets.
Seems like an odd way to spend lunch, but I was there with a dedicated group of people to stand up to injustice. If you’ve seen the documentary The Cove, you know all about the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it.
In Taiji, a village in Japan, a group of fishermen round up thousands of dolphins every year. Dolphin families are separated for the main goal of finding a few suitable candidates for marine parks. Selling a dolphin to a SeaWorld-type place is lucrative business. A life of slavery is no life at all. But the ones who don’t make the cut are slaughtered. The normally blue water turns red with the blood of dolphins as families of cetaceans watch each other die.
The rest of the animals are sold for meat (dolphin meat is intentionally mislabeled and sold in supermarkets) despite the high mercury content.
The Taiji Day of Action was a global event, and even though we were only a dozen strong, other groups all over the world were also protesting the slaughter of dolphins in Japan. We were targeting the Japanese Consulate and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because the IOC is considering Tokyo as an Olympic host city in 2020. We say stop the slaughter or lose the bid!
No country is innocent. Canada slaughters seals, Spain conducts gruesome bullfights, animals are killed for food in every place on earth. But since the Olympics (and the money the games bring in) are part of the equation, there’s more leverage. It’s not an anti-Japanese cause. It’s a pro-animal one. In fact, Japan has a growing animal rights movement and I believe change will happen “from the inside.” Japanese people were once unaware of the slaughter, but now most disagree with it and some are even protesting it!
Want to help? Here’s a petition that you can sign.