On 16th January 2016, I attended the London Against Taiji Dolphin Massacre March, from Oxford Street to the Japanese Embassy.
The annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji is something I’ve felt strongly about since watching documentary The Cove a couple of years ago. This film shows former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry embark on an epic journey as he documents this yearly event in Japan that has been hidden from the world. Together with Sea Shepherd, O’Barry has created Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project who actually document the slaughter, and spread the word about this cruel injustice that takes place in secret. You can read my blog about a Screening of The Cove with Ric O’Barry here.
The aim of these dolphin hunts is to trap dolphin pods and pick out the ‘attractive’ Flipper-like dolphins. These are then sent to various swim with dolphin programmes and marine parks (including SeaWorld) all around the world. What happens to the rest? After going crazy from being trapped in a confined area all night, they are then slaughtered the following day, and sold off as dolphin meat. Apart from the sheer cruelty of this unnecessary practice, it also poses a number of other issues including the high volume of toxic mercury found in dolphin meat that people are then consuming. For further information, please watch The Cove.
The aim of this march was not to blame Japan, as the vast majority of people living in Japan still have no idea that this is happening in their own country. There was a fantastic turnout as people joined together to use their voices to expose the Taiji dolphin hunt. Walking through Oxford Street, on-lookers were stopped in their tracks as protesters chanted: ‘Blood on your hands!’ ‘Taiji, set them free!’ and ‘stop the dolphin slaughter!’. Many people claim that they love dolphins, so this along with the various signs and dolphin images resulted in the public accepting leaflets, reading information and taking notice.
When the marchers arrived at the Japanese embassy, the chanting continued and there were several speeches across the street from the Embassy where protesters gathered. We used our voices to represent those who cannot speak for themselves.
I really hope that the hundreds of people that saw the march will think about the information they have learned and do their own research to learn the truth about Taiji.
Educate yourself. Don’t participate in swim with dolphin programmes. Don’t go to marine parks. Spread the word.
I also hope that we are one step closer to seeing an end to this cruel and barbaric tradition in Japanese history, and that we can finally leave it where it belongs – in the past.
Here is a picture summary of the march. Check out my YouTube channel here for videos.