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.

people And here is why...
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?