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So what to do now? If the information presented is enough for you there are things you can do. If the information wasn’t enough please try and research a little more to better inform yourself. To further research and/or find ways to be active about this please visit these sites:

BlueVoice.org – Blue Voice is a leading organization that advocates and informs the public on this exact topic and more. They present many ways to become active. Many as easy as writing a letter or visiting a local function.

SurfersForCeteceans.com – Surfers for Cetaceans is committed to activating ocean-minded people everywhere to support the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and marine life. It’s through compassion, awareness, education, media and dedicated interventions that they will use to accomplish this goal.

Ideally, I would like to see an end to the murder of all these cetaceans on the basis that the most of them are poisonous to us and therefore have no legitimate use as food. Also, because these animals are extremely intelligent. They are the closest animals on the planet that share our abstract thought, intelligence, communications abilities, etc. We are still in the process of decoding their world and the implications of this reality. Japan must stop their drive hunting in Taiji, as this is a main location for this happening. The International Whaling Commission must protect smaller cetaceans as they protect the larger ones. The International Whaling Commission must be more strict on their policies and demand more from the constituents who make up the commission. We must all be more aware of our impact and implications we have on each other, animals, and our world. I see change happening. I see awareness rising.  Include yourself in the new world of compassion, higher thought and understanding.

You may or may not understand the plight of the vegetarian. They take it upon themselves to eat wholly non animal related foods. The exact terms and what they consider themselves I’m not sure of (vegan, vegetarian, etc.) Vegetarians will have their various reasons for their choice of food. Some choose a vegetarian lifestyle because of matters of taste; i.e. they just don’t like eating meat. Others choose to do so for ideological reasons; i.e. animals are our friends. Technically speaking, meat is murder. But we’re all very used to this sort of thing, it is natural/biological. Eating meat has directly affected the development and growth of our brains and intelligence. The smartest dinosaurs in the land were not herbivores, they were carnivores. To hunt other animals took cunning and strategy. This evolution took place because these animals were eating meat and it directly contributed to their intelligence. We can deduce that the same has occurred with humans.

So why wouldn’t we eat meat? There isn’t much to keep us away from doing so unless you find some ethical reasons not to. We are now at a level of intelligence and technology of nutrition that we can make a conscious decision to obtain nutrition by other means. Just like how people feel about global warming and creating a better carbon footprint, helping protect the world we live on. We now have the technology and means to do so responsibly. We see that the world is jumping on board with this issue of global/ecological responsibility. We may see a more responsible view on eating our friends and partners in life in a different light soon.

Now, Taiji is not the only place around the world that is killing dolphins and other cetaceans in this manner. In the Solomon Islands, on a smaller scale, dolphins are being killed for their meat and other ‘nice’ things we can make out of them. The meat is distributed and eaten amongst the community and the teeth are used as jewelry.

In the Faroe Islands in Denmark is another prominent place that dolphins and other cetaceans are being slaughtered. On this occasion it is part of a festival for the Denmark citizens, a right of passage. It’s astonishing that in countries as developed as Denmark that they would still include such a savage right of passage in popular/present culture. Mass murder on a yearly basis to become adults. Sounds like something Hitler (I apoligize If I offend anyone) would do to the Jewish if he were to have taken over the world.

Stated in my previous posts, Japan may be being lead into a widespread mercury poisoning epidemic. While the extent of all this is still being examined, research shows that the evidence is there. Now this isn’t the first time that the Japan has run into trouble with the medical troubles of mercury poisoning and its effect on society. Mercury poisoning A.K.A. Minimata Disease first struck Japan in the 1950’s. It is referred to as Minimata disease because of an ecological and medical disaster that happened in 1956.

Minimata disease is a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning. Symptoms include ataxiz, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases,insanity, paralysis, coma and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. A congenital form of the disease can also affect fetuses in the womb.

What essentially happened was that the Chisso Corporation that was located in Minimata dumped waste-water into the surrounding ecosystem. This waste-water contained methyl mercury, a highly toxic chemical. Once this was dumped into the surrounding ecosystem it was bioaccumulated by fish and shellfish. The local towns then ate these contaminated sea animals and lead to thousands of deaths. As of March, 2001 2,265 victims have been officially recognized. In more recent news, as of 2010, more than 2,000 cases have come to an agreement with the government and the Chisso corporation for effects of the disease and the actions that took place more than 5 decades ago.

Toxic

Okay, so we understand at this point that dolphins are being killed. But… why?

To no surprise, people eat dolphin. In Taiji, Japan, 23,00 cetaceans are killed a year. When the dolphins are all forced into the infamous cove, trainers from all over the world gather to pick out the appealing ones. Logic dictates that the rest must be eaten. There’s no telling where all these dolphins really end up.  Though it’s strange, one would think that if the Japanese are killing this many dolphins a year then they must be the ones eating it as well. Though, research shows that many Japanese are unaware that this is even occurring.

Okay! So dolphins are being eaten! BIG DEAL, humans eat pretty much anything. Yes, if you think this, you’re completely right. In fact its biologically ingrained within us to eat other animals. We see it happen in the animal kingdom every day. Lions eat gazelles. Cats eat mice. Dolphins aren’t vegetarians, they eat fish. We all draw the line somewhere on what we will eat and what we won’t. It is a matter of taste.

That would be a good argument if dolphin meat wasn’t toxic. Yes, dolphin meat is toxic, very toxic. Dolphins and other smaller cetaceans contain about 12 to 16 times (on anverage) the acceptable amount of mercury allowable by national health standards. This is undeniable evidence that killing and eating dolphin is NOT A GOOD THING.

So there are 23,000 cetaceans scooped out of the water every year out of Taiji alone. Where does all this dolphin meat go if it is known that dolphin meat is toxic? It is well-documented that middle men in charge of distribution have been mixing dolphin meat into the market and labeling it as whale meat. The Japanese have no idea they are being fed poison by their own government. Tests have shown that a relatively large of amount of Japanese have dangerously high levels of mercury.

The Japanese government has recently admitted to serving dolphin meat to school children for their regular meals.

Dolphins love to play. Scientists say that this is indication of dolphin intelligence. Wait a minute, other animals can play. I know that dogs play. My friend has a french bulldog named Brooklyn. Brooklyn knows how to play dead.

I don’t think Brooklyn can do this…

What amazes me about this is that these dolphins taught this to themselves. Not only did one dolphin have the abstract capabilities to figure it out, but then it was passed along to other dolphins. Whether or not this is a naturally occurring thing in the wild, it is still testament to dolphin intelligence.

Dolphins have intelligence.

This shouldn’t be shocking as many animals have intelligence. Of course, there are many different levels of intelligence. We underestimate many animals for their seeming lack of intelligence. For example, squirrels, pigs and pigeons are of the top 10 smartest on the planet. The pig being the 6th in the line (7th including humans.) Sorry, Wilbur! You’re just too tasty.

Sorry Wilbur! You're just too tasty!

Dolphins find themselves about second on this list behind chimpanzees. Although, there is debate among the scientific community that dolphins are more self-aware, intelligent and higher-developed abstract thought. Dolphins exhibit many qualities like humans. Dolphins travel and live in large pods (communities of dolphins) and are extremely social. They have a complex language system using clicks and squeaks that scientists are still unraveling. Humans are proud of their brains. This is for obvious reasons. It has helped us take over the world and top the food chain. Dr. Lori Marino, of Emory University, in Atlanta, GA, says that human brain size is seven times larger than what should be expected by body to brain ratio. To put brain size/intelligence into perspective we observe chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are well known within popular culture because they are a close relative to ourselves. Their intelligence is tested and well-documented because of this. Chimpanzee brain size is said to be two to three times larger than what would be expected. Dolphin brain size is five times larger than expected.

Dolphins can learn many complex tasks, signs/signals, and have the ability to teach other dolphins. They are conscious of themselves and other individuals of of species. They are even smart enough to be aware of sentence structure through communication.

Click here and you can view part 2/3 and 3/3

If dolphins are intelligent as this suggests then it may be safe to assume that dolphins are well-aware of what is happening to them. Dolphins and their families are being killed (Might I say “murdered”?) and they are conscious of their fates. It is a cold-hearted business the eating of other animals. If cows and chickens were this intelligence would we still eat them? Where do you draw the line?

The Drive Hunt

This video is of a drive hunt in Taiji, Japan. It contains a graphic display of dolphins being cornered, captured, and killed.

Stated to the IWC, the Japanese claim their methods of killing dolphins are of the most humane possible and instantaneous. This is obviously contradictory to what the video shows.

Taiji, Japan

In Taiji, Japan, fisherman take up a tradition that has been passed down for generations. That tradition is the fishing of dolphins. One of the greatest accomplishments of animals is the ability to pass down learned skills. In this version, the Japanese have learned the most effective way to catch and kill dolphins.

Practiced in Taiji, the Japanese will attach long metal rods to their boats. Captains brandishing hammers will bang on the rods. The sound emitted torments the dolphins. Frightened and confused they swim away. As multiple boats work in concert, pods of dolphins are driven into waters that will be their last swam.

The below video is a 3D representation of what is known as “drive hunting.”

Dolphin Cruelty

We once lived in a time where food was scarce. If hunters were unsuccessful the village might starve. Hardships were endured. Eating what you can to survive was the reality of life.  These days, we can walk a block down the road and find ourselves midst towering halls of food. Eating meat has become a debatable topic due to a vast surplus of nutrition. Every culture has a line they draw on what is acceptable to eat. We differentiate ourselves from what we eat by our self-awareness, intelligence and language. This is how we justify our consumption of them.  If your food could speak the English language, would you still eat it? If not, why wouldn’t you?

Research of dolphin intelligence has shown the complexities of dolphin relationships are second to humans. In certain areas of the brain concerned with emotional control, objectivity, reality orientation, humor, logically consistent abstract thought and higher creativity, dolphins have a higher ratio of neural density than humans. It is theorized that dolphins have a sense of future and are self-aware. Would you kill and eat a dolphin if it knew it was going to be murdered and eaten? The Japanese are eating 23,000 dolphins a year. In places like Taiji, Japan, dolphins are herded and then picked for a life of captivity; the rejected are killed, cut up, and sold on the market.

It is wrong to eat dolphin for several logical and ethical reasons. This blog will address these reasons why and advocate a policy change by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to include and protect smaller cetaceans. The IWC needs to be more strict on whaling and to draw definitive lines that should be followed and respected internationally.

I love animals, especially dolphins. I admire their playful and kind nature. I respect their level of intelligence and believe there to be enough within these animals to consider their hunting immoral and illogical. I have always been partial to dolphins. As a kid, I would pretend to be one while swimming, Flipper was my favorite show, and going to SeaWorld was like going to heaven. Once one summer morning on the coast of Delaware, my mother and I woke to find a pod of dolphins playing off the coast.  Excited and swift we grabbed boogie boards, goggles, and flippers and jumped in the water. Timidly, we swam out near the edge of the pod. Soon dolphins were swimming around us. What happened was a moment I can only describe as bliss. The water was warm, air crisp, and I was in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Needless to say, it left an indelible impression on me.

I want to help save dolphins from a fate some people wouldn’t wish upon their worst enemy.