Caroline Kennedy | Dolphins | Japan

Japanese Government Defends Mass Dolphin Kill: VIDEO


The Japanese government Monday defended its practice of dolphin killing on Monday after U.S. ambassador Caroline Kennedy tweeted objections to it, the NYT reports:

DolphinMs. Kennedy objected to a form of fishing called “drive hunt” killing, in which dolphins are herded together by boats into an area they cannot escape, resulting in the capture of scores, if not hundreds, of dolphins. Critics have called the practice inhumane for the sheer number of dolphins killed and the threat it poses to the animal’s populations.

“Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG opposes drive hunt fisheries,” Ms. Kennedy said in her post on Saturday, referring to the United States government’s position on the issue.

On Tuesday, responding to the criticism, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, defended the practice.

“Dolphin fishing is a form of traditional fishing in our country,” he said, responding to a question about Ms. Kennedy’s criticism. “We will explain Japan’s position to the American side.”

Watch a Euronews report on the cull, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Sea Shepherd conservation society has been monitoring the slaughter with a livestream and on Facebook.

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  1. This is sickening. Tradition or not, can't the Japanese evolve enough to figure out that dolphins are intelligent beings? Kill a tuna, fine, but why dolphins?


    Posted by: johnny | Jan 21, 2014 8:48:20 AM

  2. There are lots of traditions that humanity has left behind as we've grown more mature. Perhaps Japan should consider leaving this one behind as well.

    Posted by: Eric | Jan 21, 2014 9:12:17 AM

  3. No matter how civilized the country is, this type of behaviour towards animals is human standard

    Posted by: jjose712 | Jan 21, 2014 9:27:53 AM

  4. I don't want to hear anyone using "tradition or culture" to justify what is clearly WRONG! This activity is absolutely unacceptable! There are no excuses whatsoever that can support this as acceptable. The people of Japan and it's governing officials need to realize that animal cruelty is NEVER okay. NEVER.

    Posted by: Dr. Christopher Blackwell | Jan 21, 2014 9:52:37 AM

  5. I wonder what Indians think about us eating cows. We are such savages.

    Posted by: Perry | Jan 21, 2014 10:06:05 AM

  6. I lived in Japan for a year, and in some ways it's bizarrely not unlike Texas--you just have to understand that they believe they are the superior people, everyone secretly wishes they could be them, they're not used to people calling them on the carpet for things, and if they do get called out, they resort to "You just don't understand our culture/way of life." The Japanese have gotten in trouble before regarding dolphins, whaling, etc., and their general attitude seems to be "We're Japan--we do what we want, because we're better than everyone else." This may have to be kicked up to the UN to get results.

    Posted by: Dback | Jan 21, 2014 10:06:09 AM

  7. The Japanese should adopt a more humane American model. Herding millions of animals to cages slightly smaller than their bodies for their entire lives, pumping their bodies full of antibiotics, and feeding them the waste products of other animals. Pot, kettle, black.

    Posted by: Justsaying | Jan 21, 2014 10:23:15 AM

  8. While I have zero issues turning the mirror on our own behavior, I think someone hinted at one aspect of this that is, in fact, probably worse than how we treat most of our food supply animals in this country. Dolphins are incredibly intelligent creatures and while I do not think intelligence is necessarily the litmus test for how we should treat animals, it certainly should make it even more heinous to do this to them. It's one of the reason why I think the way pigs are treated on factory farms is even more disgusting than how we might treat a chicken. Pigs are more intelligent than dogs and I can't imagine Americans being okay treating a dog the way we do a pig.

    Just because it's pot kettle doesn't mean people are wrong to condemn this practice. We all have work to do, but this seems especially horrifying considering how intelligent dolphins are.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 21, 2014 10:50:03 AM

  9. "Tweeting objections" is the best Ambassador Kennedy can do? How 'bout talking face to face with the Ministry of Fisheries (or whatever government ministry has jurisdiction)? I doubt the Japanese are going to care about tweets. I certainly don't.

    Posted by: Scott | Jan 21, 2014 11:46:49 AM

  10. Their is a BIG difference between extracting an animal out of its natural environment and killing it, and farming animals. American industry is not going into the wild and extracting thousands of cows and chickens from forest land and savannas. What the Japanese are doing harms ecology, desegregate the dolphin population, and disrupts migration patterns.

    There is also a BIG difference between farm animals (excluding pigs) and dolphins. Dolphins have an advance language, a sense of fairness, can form strong lasting emotional connections, and can suffer from depression. This heightened intelligence makes dolphins far more capable of suffering.

    It is absolutely RIDICULOUS for anyone to try to equate Japanese dolphin hunting with American farming. This is not to say that an animals capability to suffer should determine how we treat it. Our animal farming practices need a major overhaul here in the U.S. But what the Japanese are doing is murderous. Lets not enable dolphin hunting by proposing a false equivalency to American farming.

    Posted by: anonny6 | Jan 21, 2014 11:58:52 AM

  11. This from a country where rape manga is also a tradition ... Cultural traditions excuse too much cruelty & stupidity - think of ritual female genital mutilation.

    “We will explain Japan’s position to the American side.” While you're at it, why not explain it to the rest of he world. Americans are not the only ones keeping an eye on Taiji.

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Jan 21, 2014 12:27:37 PM

  12. Yep. Humans are murderous people when they eat meat, but when other animals do the killing, it is perfectly fine. I am going to enjoy my porkchop dinner tonight just that much more. Yum!!!

    Posted by: Perry | Jan 21, 2014 12:47:13 PM

  13. anonny6, you can't be serious. The Japanese slaughter a few hundred/thousand dolphins a year... and that's more murderous than the GENOCIDE taking place in this country against tens of millions of animals? Animal slaughter is an even playing field, I don't care about an animal's IQ. So you think it's less repulsive to kill a dumb animal than a smart one? Where do we draw the line?

    It's all wrong and it all needs to be stopped, period. What they're doing is no worse than what is occuring in our own country and we need to handle our own business before we go criticizing others.

    Posted by: | Jan 21, 2014 12:48:45 PM

  14. Sure, let's take a annual activity performed by a relatively small number of individuals in a remote fishing town miles removed from major metropolises and frame it as a country-wide phenomenon that is unilaterally agreed upon and cherished by all Japanese people. Great Journalism you got going on there, Towleroad...

    Posted by: Jesus | Jan 21, 2014 1:06:36 PM

  15. @

    I am serious, and I DO think it is more repulsive to kill an intelligent animal than a "dumb" one. How can you say IQ does not matter? IQ is largely the reason why killing a human is incredibly reprehensible. A person's memories, emotions, potential, their relationships, the pain of their loved ones, are all functions of IQ and reasons why it is so wrong to kill people.

    The same analogy can be extended to the rest of the animal world. Killing a person is far worse than killing a dolphin, killing a dolphin is far worse than killing a cow or chicken, killing a chicken is far worse than killing a worm, killing a worm is far worse than killing bacteria, etc, etc. Where should the line be drawn? IMO it should be drawn at sentient beings. Of course though, problems can arise when judging which beings are sentient or not.

    Also, lets not ignore the other argument against dolphin hunting, which is the disruption caused when animals are extracted from their natural environments.

    Lastly, I am not saying it means nothing to kill cows and chickens. We here in the U.S. need to massively change our farming practices to make the living conditions of our livestock humane. The current conditions are disgusting, and unnecessarily cruel. But it seems like such a disregard for life to draw no distinctions between species. I don't agree that whether killing a bug, elephant, snail,dolphin,chimpanzee or spider makes no difference better or worse.

    Posted by: anony6 | Jan 21, 2014 2:06:45 PM

  16. @anony6. You're not really serious are you? You're saying it's okay to kill intelligent pigs but intelligent dolphins are untouchable?. I'm against this dolphin slaughter but it's no worse than the slaughter of pigs to make your breakfast sausage or bacon. This kind of slaughter is happening all over the world all the time, I don't see how you can say the slaughter of dolphins is worse than any other kind of slaughter.

    Posted by: Howard B | Jan 21, 2014 3:31:15 PM

  17. So if intelligence is the factor as to when it is okay to kill and not kill, did Hitler have it right when he killed mentally handicapped/disabled people? Interesting food for thought. FYI, it has been shown cows mourn the death of their calves and other members of their herd. Maybe they are too intelligent to kill eat.

    Posted by: Perry | Jan 21, 2014 3:48:55 PM

  18. No Americans merely herd dolphins and whales into small cages to perform tricks for our amusement for the rest of their natural lives, which are usually significantly shortened by captivity

    Posted by: Justsaying | Jan 21, 2014 3:53:50 PM

  19. No Americans merely herd dolphins and whales into small cages to perform tricks for our amusement for the rest of their natural lives, which are usually significantly shortened by captivity

    Posted by: Justsaying | Jan 21, 2014 3:54:21 PM

  20. No Americans merely herd dolphins and whales into small cages to perform tricks for our amusement for the rest of their natural lives, which are usually significantly shortened by captivity

    Posted by: Justsaying | Jan 21, 2014 3:55:13 PM

  21. I hope the assholes who are killing those dolphin die a horrible death themselves.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jan 21, 2014 3:55:42 PM

  22. Yeah, and we have a tradition of slavery. And herding Japanese residents into camps. Japan is an incredible country with beautiful people a wonderful culture in many ways, and some big contradictions too.

    Good comment, anony6. Thanks to Temple Brandon's work, we are reducing the trauma of animal slaughter. If we are eating meat and eggs, we can do way, way better ourselves with the overall treatment of the animals, particularly in the mass production abusive treatment by modern agribusiness over their lifespan.

    But the dolphin kill is worse than the cruelest of slaughterhouse treatment. They are high level animals being totally traumatized. It's not like a dull witted cow shuffleing down a chute and getting bonked.

    Japan of course also kills a lot of whales for completely bogus "research". The West almost obliterated whales of course, but then we wised up and found substitutes, when there weren't many left anyway.

    There's plenty of blame to go around, but it doesn't make this excusable.

    Posted by: emjayay | Jan 21, 2014 7:54:28 PM

  23. Blah blah blah. The only tradition the Japanese people have is of being NUTS - that doesn't mean the world has to stand idly by and allow them to slaughter other species en masse.

    Posted by: Tristram | Jan 22, 2014 7:27:27 AM

  24. Oh, and before you start quoting to me about slaughtering cows and sheep - I don't agree with that either - but there is something particularly sickening about the slaughter of extremely intelligent animals and in their natural habitat.

    Posted by: Tristram | Jan 22, 2014 7:29:47 AM

  25. Shouldn't we lead by example and stop our licensed hunting then? We still hunt bears, deer, moose and so many other animals for the purpose of culling. If we are so outraged by other countries actions we should look internal first.

    Posted by: todd | Jan 22, 2014 9:20:13 PM

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