A man from Taiji, the Japanese fishing town whose annual slaughter of dolphins has drawn widespread condemnation, will appear in court on Friday in an unprecedented legal challenge to the hunts.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the plaintiff, who has asked not to be named until the hearing has concluded, said he had been been ostracised in Taiji, where he was born and raised but decided to speak out against the hunts.
The 53-year-old will testify at Wakayama district court as part of a legal case brought by the London-based animal welfare charity Action for Dolphins and Life Investigation Agency, a Japanese NGO.
The groups said fishermen in the Pacific coast town routinely violate animal welfare laws and exceed government-set catch quotas. Action for Dolphins has described drive hunts, in which pods are herded from the open sea into a narrow cove, as “exceptionally cruel”. It said the animals die a slow, painful death.
Local fishermen denied they exceeded quotas or killed dolphins inhumanely, and have vowed to continue the hunts.
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The Hunt takes place many many many times a year; every year without restrictions.
A majority of international concern has to do with the method used during the hunt, which is viewed as inhumane. An article by National Geographic refers to The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums decision to no longer support the Taiji hunt. In 2015, it was announced that there would be a ban in the buying and selling of dolphins through the means of this hunt.
Context and history
Taiji Cove dolphins: Japanese government defends ‘lawful’ slaughter as hunters prepare to kill 200 animals
Conservationists say the fishermen have already killed over 170 dolphins and small whales this year and taken 24 captive since the start of the new year. A tweet from a team of activists overlooking the cove said the animals had spent a fourth night without food and would be slaughtered today by a party of about 40 to 60 fishermen.