Japan has been hunting dolphins for centuries. Several documentaries have exposed these hunts and shown how cruel and violent they can be. Japan has been heavily criticized for their hunts and many petitions have been created to stop them.
In spite of the criticism, Japan is defending the hunts and even calling them a tradition. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga insists that the hunts are done within the accordance of law and claims that the Japanese hunters are not doing anything wrong.
"Dolphin fishing is a form of traditional fishing in our country," he said.
Many people are not concerned with the fact that the Japanese continue to hunt dolphins, but more so with their hunting methods. Most dolphin hunts are drive hunts, which means a large number of boats will herd a group of dolphins into a cove and block them so they cannot escape.
Not only are the dolphins terrified, but they are also killed in large numbers. The hunters will spear the dolphins and bring them onto their ships. Academy Award-winning 2009 film "The Cove" demonstrates the process.
Dolphins that are not killed during the hunts are captured and sold into captivity. Paul Watson, founder of the conservation group Sea Shepherd, explained the hunts further saying,
"The dolphins face a violent and stressful captive selection process. Babies and mothers will be torn from each other’s sides as some are taken for captivity, some are killed and others are driven out to sea to fend for themselves,"
U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy is one of the many people who have expressed disgust for the hunts. She recently tweeted about her concern.
Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG opposes drive hunt fisheries.
— キャロライン・ケネディ駐日米国大使 (@CarolineKennedy) January 18, 2014
Japan does not seem to show any signs of stopping the hunts or regulating them better anytime in the near future.
Do you think Japan has a right to hunt dolphins or are they being inhumane?
Image via Wikimedia Commons.