Activists stage dolphin die-in at Japanese embassy in US
A dolphin die-in took place in Washington yesterday at the Japanese embassy, as environmental and animal rights activists dressed as dolphins to protest what they said was the 'horrific butchering' of thousands of dolphins every year by Japenese fishermen.
Animal welfare activists accuse Japan of brutally slaughtering some 20,000 dolphins and small whales every year in the "biggest massacre of its kind in the world," said the Animal Welfare Institute and Humane Society International, which organized the protest in Washington.
"Japanese fishermen round up pods of dolphins with speedboats and trap them in a small cove where they kill most of them for their meat, often beating them to death with lead pipes," turning the sea water into a churning, scarlet pool of blood, said Rebecca Regnery, deputy director of Humane Society International.
A few of the dolphins are spared and sold to the aquarium industry, but they are so traumatized, they don't live long in captivity, marine biologist Naomi Rose said.
Amid calls over a megaphone of "Shame on Japan, stop the slaughter," dozens of protesters wearing foam dolphin costumes were herded by other activists dressed as Japanese fishermen wielding spears made of tin foil to the Japanese embassy, where they lay down in the midday sun for a die-in.
"We're here to send a message to the Japanese that the world is watching and knows that the dolphin hunt is cruel and inhumane," Humane Society International spokesman Martin Mortofano told AFP.
"They've been doing this for years but just because it's a historical practice doesn't mean that they have to keep doing it.
The dolphin hunt in Japan started yesterday and the demonstration was meant to bring awareness to that.
"They have to stop doing it or they are going to wipe out the dolphins around their islands," Humane Society International's senior scientist, Naomi Rose, told AFP.
According to Rose, around 17,000 Dall's porpoises and up to 3,000 dolphins and orcas are killed by the Japanese every year in open-ocean harpoon hunts and the coastal drive hunt.
Japanese authorities claim to know nothing about the hunting or the brutal killing of these animals.
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