Dolphin hunting season begins in Taiji, Japan
Protesters across the globe staged demonstrations against the annual event where hundreds of animals are killed or captured
The controversial dolphin hunting season on Japan's north-west island of Taiji has started, according to officials.
Confirming that 1 September marks the start of the season, authorities added that poor weather had delayed the killings.
While the dolphins will be hunted for six months, the hunt for small pilot whales – a type of small dolphin - will continue until April.
During the notoriously brutal hunts, fishermen on boats surround pods of migrating dolphins, lower metal poles into the sea and bang them to frighten the animals and disrupt their sonar abilities.
The dolphins are then herded into the narrow cove in Taiji, where the fishermen attack them with knives, before dragging them to a harbour-side warehouse for slaughter. The best-looking dolphins are separated and sold to aquariums.
Warning some viewers may find these images distressing
Video: Japanese dolphin hunt in January
Supporters of the practice claim that dolphin and whales have been hunted and eaten in the area for centuries, and some local fishermen say the cull is necessary to keep dolphins from eating too many fish.
Read more: Taiji Cove dolphins: This slaughter must stop
Japanese whaling not for science, rules UN Court of Justice
But animal rights activists in Japan, including those who staged protests against the start of the hunting season on Monday, claim the hunts are not traditional, the International Business Times reported.
Protesters from across the world also lent their voices to the cause, using #JapanDolpinDay and #JDD2014 on social media websites.
“[The hunts] exist only for making big profits for the fishermen and the companies that buy live dolphins for their facilities,” the NGO Save Japan Dolphins said, the website reported.
“The hunts began in 1969, and several other Japanese towns (Iki Island and Futo) have given up their drive hunts. There is no excuse for Taiji to claim that opponents are against their 'food culture' or 'ancient traditions'.”
Last year, 850 dolphins were killed in last year’s hunts, and over 150 were taken to live in captivity, according to charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), which campaigns, lobbies and advises on protecting the creatures.
The deadly practice sparked international outrage in 2009 following the release of 2009 The Cove.
The documentary claims that more than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises are killed every year in Japan.
Earlier this year, Japan’s top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga, defended the controversial cull as “lawful”, following unusual criticism from the usually close US ambassador to Japan.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Thailand beach murders: Hannah Witheridge 'was raped by two men before being killed'
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...
Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...