PROTESTERS have announced plans to demonstrate outside the Japanese embassy in the Capital to urge an end to the country’s killing of dolphins.
More than 50 protesters – including several dressed as dolphins – are expected to turn out to voice their anger on August 31, the eve of the resumption of the annual Japanese dolphin drive which takes place around the coast of the Wakayama Prefecture.
The notorious event was the subject of the 2010 Oscar- winning documentary, The Cove, which shows fishermen from the town of Taiji scaring dolphins into a cove before slowly killing them by stabbing them repeatedly.
Edinburgh will be one of more than 88 cities and towns around the world that will see protestors on the streets outside Japanese embassies and consulates.
Organiser and animal rights activist, Elizabeth Craig, from Livingston, said: “It is a bloodbath, cruel and barbaric. Each year, the peaceful setting of the village of Taiji is shattered by almost unspeakable cruelty as incredible pain and ultimately death or a lifetime in captivity is inflicted on defenceless dolphins.
“The Edinburgh demonstration will be a peaceful protest and at present, we expect to see around 50 people in attendance. A number of people have stated that they will be dressed in dolphin suits on the day, and we have supporters coming from all over Scotland.
“This event is gory stuff. The supposed ‘lucky ones’ are sold to marine parks and aquariums in Japan and around the world, spending the rest of their lives in captivity.”
The Japanese government allows the traditional hunting of around 20,000 dolphins a year and argues that killing them is no different from breeding cows and pigs for slaughter.
Dolphin drives are carried out by a small number of fishermen in boats using noise to disrupt dolphins’ sensitive sonar systems, panicking whole pods into waiting nets and corrals.
Hundreds of dolphins and pilot whales are then chosen by vets and animal trainers to either be killed for meat or sold to aquariums.
China is one of the most prolific purchasers of live dolphins, each of which can fetch upwards of £95,000.
Japan itself is second only to the US in holding the highest number of captive dolphins in the world – 303 – and also has the largest number of aquariums, dolphinariums and water parks in the world.
Critics of the dolphin drives claim that meat is often labelled incorrectly as whale meat and sold in shops throughout Japan.
They also point to scientific and medical warnings of the hazards of consumption of dolphin and whale meat due to high levels of mercury and radioactivity resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster following the 2011 tsunami.