Saturday, January 26, 2013

Killing, It's What We Do

I’m sorting through a few thousand photos from my trip to Taiji, trying to make sense of what I saw. I’m clearly in the minority of humans in the way I now see animals. I don’t believe in god so, I don’t think god put animals here for our use and abuse. I understand that suffering is part of all sentient beings but don’t understand why we perpetuate it. I have a small group of friends that fight for better lives for all living creatures. I have another batch of friends that thinks everything is ours to kill. It’s a weird world and the divide is massive.

Striped dolphins swimming for their lives off the coast of Taiji, Japan
Everyday before sunrise, except some Saturday’s and holidays, if the weather is favorable, the dolphin hunting fleet of 12 boats leaves Taiji harbor in search of dolphins. While I was there, they were usually successful. When this picture was taken, a small pod of Risso’s dolphins was already in the cove. I wasn’t a big fan of Risso’s until this day, that melon head and all. But watching them rocket through the water out in front of the boats with almost no breath, these guys are like Olympic swimmers. And once in the cove they swim and turn with grace, their scared bodies glowing white just under the surface. I have a new reverence for them. Like all the other dolphin species, they stay together until the end.

Once the Risso’s dolphins were secure in the inter nets of the killing cove, they were killed and taken to the slaughterhouse. With the cove now clear of bodies, the dolphin hunters drove in the pod of striped dolphins they’d been holding off the coast. The yellow tarp was set to keep bodies from getting cut on the rocks. Striped dolphins throw themselves on the rocks trying to escape. Advocates have video of these little guys bleeding on the rocks. Perhaps those videos lead to the use of tarps and thus a little less suffering in the last minutes of their lives.

Hunters done a good job hiding the actual killing with a set of tarps that cover the cove. Since my trip two years ago, the fence on the opposite side of the cove has been moved closer restricting the view into the killing cove. The butchering barge is no longer used and so there are no large slicks of blood in the water.

People ask me, how do we stop it? I don’t know. Hopefully, someone does and we can end this and the mustang roundup, the sea lion cull at the Bonneville dam, the bison hazing outside Yellowstone, the wolf hunts,… but as I said in the beginning, most people must want this killing to continue because it’s what we do. I’m also asked why do you go? Because I think what’s happening is wrong and I want the world to at least know what’s happening. I hope that one of my photos might touch someone in a way that sparks an action and leads to change. To see some of my photos from that day click here.

What isn’t in my photos are the sounds. The bodies hitting boats. The yelling. The tail slaps. The screams. And then nothing…

For the souls of the ocean