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I received a petition yesterday to sign which would challenge
Japan to end the Taiji Dolphin Hunt in their bid for the Tokyo
2020 Olympic bid. It showed a picture of terrified dolphins huddled
together just moments before their slaughter.
The Japanese government grants permits to Taiji fishmermen to hunt
2,800 dolphins from September to April for slaughter, and to supply
the captivity trade. Though not illegal in Japan, internationally
the hunt has been condemned as barbaric. Though they claim that the
killing is quick and humane, there is evidence to the contrary.
Babies are torn from their mothers, and many of them witness the
cruel death of their family members before being taken alive or
killed. Those slaughtered are killed with a spear to the spinal cord
which takes up to 7 minutes for them to die in agony.
The hunters often use tarpaulins to hide this cruelty, but some
Japanese are becoming aware, and are condemning it. But sadly, most
seem to be afraid to speak out. This is a lucrative business for the
Taiji fishermen, and as in so many countries -including our own
where the cruel CAFOs are allowed to exist, money is more important
While buyers are being sought, captive dolphins are held in cove sea
pens and are often found starved or traumatized before buyers are
found. There are also health concerns for those slaughtered for human
consumption because of their high mercury content.
The petition's author succinctly noted "If Tokyo's bid is announced as
the winning bid on the 7th of Septemeber 2013, Japan will continue to
hunt these very social, amazingly intelligent animals, with large brains,
closest in structure to the human brain, capable of higher brain functions
and emotions like humans, will eventually be driven to extinction. The
IOC Committee has the opportunity to make real changes in Taiji, Japan.
To clarify, at no point do I condone boycotting Japan, nor do I incite
hatred, violence, or negativity towards Japanese citizens."(Shona Lewendon)
What makes some of us so horrified at seeing animal suffering and
carnage - while others seem completely oblivious and indifferent to it?
I really don't know or understand this. Do you or anyone else have an
answer? What makes one person compassionate and another indifferent? Is
it family upbringing? Church teachings? School education? Innate
goodness? Or influences from all these aspects?
Whatever the reasons, somehow, one day I hope that there will be many
more people of compassion who will tip the scales in favor of addressing
suffering - both human and animal.
And I hope -as does the petition writer, that the the Olympic committee
will always consider how a country treats its animals before awarding
these Olympic bids, but I'm sure this will prove challenging. More and
more we are reading sad reports of so many countries ill treating their
Many of us were shocked to recently read that in Switzerland, people
are killing and eating dogs and cats. Coming from a land where most
of us think of Heidi, cows in serene pastures, chocolate, watches, and
the magnificent Swiss Alps, it just seems so unreal. What has happened
here? Where many efforts are being made to promote a plant-based
diet world-wide, Switzerland is seemingly oblivious to its merits and
even worse, killing its innocent dogs and cats to satisfy what appears
to be a need to satisfy their meat lust.
If they have a problem of dog/cat over-population- the solution is
simple for any advanced country, and that is to alter their companion
animals- not eat them.
When the Olympics were held in Seoul, Korea many years ago, it was
then that many of us learned that the killing of dogs for dinner was
common- place in that country. Seeing a picture of a live dog hanging
from a tree limb and being beaten to "tenderize" its innocent flesh
before being killed was a horrifying image for those of us who received
this message. Even today, that picture haunts me.
In Defense of Animals still holds demonstrations re this horror, and I
was pleased to participate in one in the Cleveland area a few years
ago. It would be my last demonstration, and I was happy that it was
for the dogs in honor of my beautiful Peaches and the six other dogs
I have had over the last 35 years. They have been my best companions
and truest friends. I know a lot of you agree with these sentiments
in your own case.
I was also haunted by another image of the raccoon dogs in China who
were and maybe still are being skinned alive for their fur. I knew
immediately that I would not watch the Beijing Summer Olympics.
Maybe I was the only one who boycotted them, but I felt it was the
right thing to do.
Re skinning the dogs alive -w hy couldn't they kill the dogs first? Or
did the fear and agony they felt have something to do with the quality
of their fur? Whatever the reasons, they can never be justified. I
hope and pray the day arrives when no one will want to wear the fur
of suffering animals, though of course, some will just not care.
If you agree that Japan should not be considered a venue for the 2020
Olympics unless they stop the slaughtering of dolphins in Taiji, you
can find the petition re this on Facebook. It reads: " To Jacques
Rogge and the International Olympic Committee:
We respectfuly ask that you do NOT consider Japan's Tokyo 2020 Olympic
bid, until the Japanese Goverment agrees to end the brutal Taiji Dolphin
Drive Hunt, by making it illegal to hunt dolphins in Japan. If Tokyo
wants the honour of being an Olympic Host City, Japan must be held
accountable for allowing fishermen in Taiji to continue this unnecessary
annual dolphin hunt in the name of tradition. Since 2009 there has been
a worldwide outcry condemning this barbaric and outdated hunt. Still,
in 2012, Japan refuses to address and discontinue this annual slaughter.
The International Olympic Committee cannot ignore this."
I could not help thinking when copying this petition - is there any
country worthy to represent what should be the high ideals of the Olympic
tradition? Some will say it should have nothing do with animal treatment.
Of course, people of compassion will not agree. In our view -a "true"
Olympian should e mbrace all that is the best of human qualities. Sadly,
we don't, and it is only extraordinary physical properties which we reward.
However, I hope this will change, and that at least we can boycott
countries whose practices towards the animal condition are cruel. In
that regard- we can then ALL be Olympians of Compassion.