Saltar al contenido

The pleasure of killing dolphins

Matanza de delfines

Ir a la versión en español



Every year on October 1st, Japan inaugurates its annual dolphin hunting season. During this time, fishermen from islands such as Iki and Futo head out to sea in their boats, surround dolphin pods with nets, and drive them into a closed bay. Once trapped between the beach and the nets, they force them to strand, and the slaughter begins, sparing neither the calves nor pregnant females.

Groups of men, with bloodied water up to their waists, dedicate themselves to killing each trapped dolphin one by one. They employ all kinds of tools: axes, spears, hooks, and knives that repeatedly pierce the bodies of the desperate cetaceans as they try to escape, splattering the surroundings with their own blood. Each time a knife is thrust, the crowd celebrates with frenzied cheers and raised arms. Japanese fishermen attempt to justify this savage killing by claiming that dolphins compete with them for fish, which is becoming increasingly scarce.

Only a handful of dolphins will be “pardoned” by the fishermen and sold to aquariums, where they will remain confined for the rest of their days. The dead dolphins will end up in the local slaughterhouse, where each resident of the town will claim a piece of meat for consumption, while the rest is turned into fertilizer. According to the Dolphin and Whale Action Network, between 1963 and 1999, 668,393 dolphins were killed in Japan during these hunts by fishermen.

A government agency, perhaps concerned about its international image, ordered in 1999 that “the dolphin slaughter be kept out of public view.” Since then, the killings have been carried out in open waters or on beaches during the night. On one occasion, an American scientist released a group of trapped dolphins on Iki Island and was subsequently sentenced to prison for his act.

Perhaps one day Japan will understand that the harm they inflict upon the sea is harm they inflict upon themselves, as they cannot remain unaffected: Japan is an island, a small territory surrounded by the sea they are trying to destroy.

“You cannot defend what you do not love, and you cannot love what you do not know.”