More Japanese Turn Against Whaling – IPS

Cover of "The Cove"

Cover of The Cove

By Suvendrini Kakuchi

TOKYO, Mar 2, 2012 (IPS) – The arrest and release of a Dutch activist in Japan has put in bad light this country’s refusal to heed international calls to limit traditional dolphin and whale hunting practices in favour of conservation.

“The arrest (of Erwin Vermeulen) was intended to intimidate us to leave Taiji (a fishing town where dolphins are corralled for mass slaughter),” said Scott West, director for investigations with the United States-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS).

“But the effect is the opposite as more volunteers are signing up to join our activities to stop dolphin and whale killing,” said West.

By sending foreign volunteers like Vermeulen to Taiji, SSCS has raised hackles in Japan, especially after it took a confrontational stance by publishing footage of bloody dolphin hunts in the southern Japan fishing town.

Taiji’s dolphin slaughters came under international glare in 2010 after a film on the annual ritual, titled ‘The Cove’, claimed the Academy Award for best documentary in that year.

While Vermeulen’s release on Feb. 22 proved that he had not pushed a guard on Dec. 16 as charged, activists say it did nothing to change deep-rooted attitudes to cetacean hunting in this country.

“Vermeulen won his case because . . . Read more via More Japanese Turn Against Whaling – IPS