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Japan News

200 Dolphins Await Slaughter In Japan's Taiji Cove 628

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "CNN reports that more than 200 bottlenose dolphins remain penned in a cove by Japanese fishermen, many of them stressed and bloodied from their attempts to escape before fishermen start to slaughter them for meat. Until now, the fishermen have focused on selecting dolphins to be sold into captivity at marine parks and aquariums in Japan and overseas as twenty-five dolphins, including a rare albino calf, were taken on Saturday 'to a lifetime of imprisonment,' and another 12 on Sunday. 'Many of the 200+ Bottlenose dolphins who are in still the cove are visibly bloody & injured from their attempts to escape the killers,' one update says. Although the hunting of dolphins is widely condemned in the west, Japanese defend the practice as a local custom — and say it is no different to the slaughter of other animals for meat. The Wakayama Prefecture, where Taiji is located condemns the criticism as biased and unfair to the fishermen. 'Taiji dolphin fishermen are just conducting a legal fishing activity in their traditional way in full accordance with regulations and rules under the supervision of both the national and the prefectural governments. Therefore, we believe there are no reasons to criticize the Taiji dolphin fishery.' Meanwhile the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society describes how about 40 to 60 local fishermen work with nets to divide up the pod, whose initial numbers were estimated by the group at more than 250. 'They tighten up the nets to bring each sub-group together then the skiffs push them toward the tarps. Under the tarps in the shallows is where the trainers work with the killers to select the "prettiest" dolphins which will sell and make the best pay day for the hunters,' the group says. The fishermen will 'kill the "undesirable" dolphins (those with nicks and scars) under the tarps to hide from our cameras when that time comes.'"
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200 Dolphins Await Slaughter In Japan's Taiji Cove

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:07PM (#46016289)

    Yes, dolphins are cuter than cows and pigs ... is harvesting one worse than the other?

    How many million cows are slaughtered every year? How many pigs? How many chickens?

    This sounds like one set of animals has better PR than another.

  • by The Living Fractal ( 162153 ) <banantarr AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:11PM (#46016329) Homepage
    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that a dolphin is demonstrably smarter than a chicken and because of that people feel it is more likely to experience pain and suffering during this "fishing".

    Not a personal opinion of mine, just one hypothesis for the reaction.
  • by RightSaidFred99 ( 874576 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:14PM (#46016363)

    Yeah, no. I'm a carnivore but there should be a line somewhere in terms of intelligence. All signs point to Dolphins certainly being beyond that point. Furthermore, last time I checked pigs and chickens aren't at any risk of being endangered or extinct.

    What next, are you going to go out and shoot/eat a bald Eagle because your neighbor has some chickens? "Turr, same thing, durrr!" - use that line on them when the feds come for you.

  • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:14PM (#46016365)
    They're mammals, not fish.
  • by rilister ( 316428 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:15PM (#46016377)

    Funny that you chose chickens out of that list. How about pigs? Pretty well known to be one of the smarter mammals around. At least, they've never launched a pointless war to my knowledge.

  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:15PM (#46016379)
    Cows and especially pigs are highly intelligent animals. And they are totally delicious. Let's change our minds about those before we beat up the Japanese too badly, shall we?
  • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:15PM (#46016385)

    This just sounds like one big emotional summary about fishing. Heavily one-sided as well, which doesn't surprise me considering it's Sea Shepard.

    Cry me a river.

  • by Parafilmus ( 107866 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:18PM (#46016417) Homepage

    Not a biased piece at all. Never would have thought so with ''slaughter'' in the headline /s

    I don't see evidence of bias in the word choice. "Slaughter" is the normal English word to describe the killing of animals for food. Pigs and cows are "slaughtered" routinely, in buildings clearly labelled as "slaughterhouses."

    What other word would you have them use?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:19PM (#46016451)

    Pigs and chickens aren't going extinct precisely because we like to eat them.

  • click-bait? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markhahn ( 122033 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:27PM (#46016555)

    No, this is not clickbait.

    Normal, mentally-healthy humans have a lot of empathy - otherwise we're psychopaths. Sure, the amount of empathy varies - mainly as a function of whether the animal in question tends to act human-like. We should embrace this, not cynically write it off - empathy *IS* humanity.

    Yes, that also means that anyone who is intelligent and reflective will be uncomfortable with eating meat, concerned how the animal died, and of course what kind of animal it was. This is basically orthogonal to issues of environmental or ecological impact.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:31PM (#46016633)

    Although the hunting of dolphins is widely condemned in the west, Japanese defend the practice as a local custom ...

    You know, back in the 1940s, it was local US custom to intern Japanese Americans []. Apparently, we don't do that any more...

    ... and say it is no different to the slaughter of other animals for meat.

    Some would argue that killing dolphins (and whales) is more akin to killing humans [ or at least chimps - or Republicans (kidding, Kidding - geesh) ] than other animals killed for their meat, due to their high intelligence. For example, Dolphins don't build nuclear reactors in earthquake and/or tsunami zones.

  • by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:32PM (#46016643) Homepage

    Yes, dolphins are much smarter than cows or pigs. They have advanced abstract thinking, language skills, and social structure. They also share a reciprocal recognition of intelligence with humans, and come to visit and view humans in boats or on beaches in a similar way to how humans will be excited to see a dolphin.

    A dolphin might even save you from a shark, is a wild pig going to save you from anything? Is a wild pig going to look you in the eye, recognize your intelligence, and respect you? What about an aurochs?

  • by twocows ( 1216842 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:32PM (#46016645)
    Uh, creating lines based on a standard of intelligence is not arbitrary at all. And nobody "supports" animal "murder" (you may want to look up the definition of that word). They tolerate it as a means toward living a convenient life. I tolerate this practice as well, but I do not tolerate killing dolphins because there is significant research to suggest that they either possess an intelligence similar to ours or are approaching it. That is something that, to my knowledge, does not exist with any other species.
  • by vistic ( 556838 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:35PM (#46016687)

    Vegetarianism is about the minimization of cruelty and suffering.

    Plant life does not factor into it because they can not suffer. They can’t suffer because they have no nervous system with which to think. They also have no physical mechanisms with which to feel pain. And even if they did, they have no thoughts, so the pain would mean nothing. They have no fear, panic, or sadness. They live, but they live without consciousness. So you can not torture a plant or make it suffer.

    On the animal spectrum, not all animals are the same since some animals have small brains and simple thoughts and other animals have complex brains and complex thoughts. At the top of the animal spectrum you have humans with the most complex brains and abstract thoughts and intense sensations of fear. Humans have a high capacity to suffer. On the other end of the spectrum you have animals like spiders with comparatively simple nervous systems and simple thoughts. They have a much smaller capacity to suffer. That’s why it would feel more painful to watch someone rip the legs off a spider than watch someone rip the legs off a cat or horse or chimpanzee. So there’s a spectrum of animals ordered by how self-aware they are and how complex their thinking is: spiders, fish, chickens, ravens, octopus, cats, dogs, pigs, cows, horses, dolphins, gorillas, chimpanzees, humans... roughly something like that. Everyone draws a line on the spectrum, whether consciously or unconsciously, what they are comfortable with. Some people are fine eating fish and chicken, but not pigs and cows. Other people are fine eating pigs and cows, but not chimpanzees, who are almost human. Some people are even fine eating chimpanzees and feel no empathy when they shout and panic. Almost everyone at least agrees that it’s not ok to eat humans. But some people even do that. A vegetarian draws the line at it being not ok to eat any animal.

    Some people argue that oysters, despite being animals, are vegetarian. They aren’t, by definition of the word vegetarian, but it is true that the argument for plants applies to oysters. Oysters do not have a central nervous system, no consciousness, and no thoughts. So they can not suffer.

    Not all vegetarians are vegetarian for the same reasons. Some people have a spiritual belief that all life is sacred and equal, but that’s not my belief and not something that’s supported by any facts I’ve seen. What I outlined above, though, is simple fact and simple reasoning.

  • Re:click-bait? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:36PM (#46016701) Journal
    "Yes, that also means that anyone who is intelligent and reflective will be uncomfortable with eating meat"

    Empathy clashes with survivalist instinct. I can gnaw on the bones of a cow and feel empathy for it, but that doesn't mean im going to stop eating meat. At the base level, our brains see nothing wrong with killing these animals for food. We are the stronger species, we win. Empathy is evolutionarily expensive.
  • Re:2 wrongs... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:42PM (#46016771)

    Three things:
    1. All of your examples included humans, this story isn't about humans. It's about dolphins. (Also, how is this Tech news at all?)
    2. Even if our morals do change to include all animals in the category of "no eating", that time is not now. If people look back in horror at this, so what? I'm not them, they're not me.
    3. Kind of related to #2: Animals will continue eating other animals (and I would like to point out that none of your examples occur to the general animal populace either, strange disconnect). That's not suddenly going to change even if human's morals do. So does that mean that the other animals are less moral than humans?

    Also, meat is just so damn tasty. Who would want to give that up?

  • Dolphin Terroists (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lemur3 ( 997863 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:45PM (#46016833)

    let us not forget that one time dolphins were trained to assassinate the president of the united states. and they would have succeeded too, if it werent for the meddling of human interlopers.

    see here for a documentary film about these terrorists: []

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:54PM (#46016929)
    Speaking of WWII and Japan, we encouraged them to eat more dolphin and whale when we were rebuilding them []. Custom? Please. It's a dying generation remembering what they ate in grade school because that was the cheapest meat available, and an industry which doesn't want to admit to it's shareholders that it's time to fold.
  • by Stargoat ( 658863 ) <> on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:59PM (#46016983) Journal

    I like killing and eating geese and pheasants; I call it hunting. I would not torture one for several days before I killed it. That would be wicked and cruel.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Monday January 20, 2014 @04:01PM (#46017021)

    But the top 3 animals for intelligence after man are the dolphin, the chimp and the pig, with the exact order open to debate.

    Not to say dolphins and pigs aren't intelligent, but I think there's a couple of other apes (e.g. bonobos) in there too...

  • by EMG at MU ( 1194965 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @04:06PM (#46017065)
    Why is it that some people seem to care more about the death of 200 dolphins than the death of 200,000 Syrians?
  • Re:Please REPEAT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Al Al Cool J ( 234559 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @04:11PM (#46017129)

    This is a nerd site, not a tech site. Non-human intelligence, sentience, and the rights of those possessing it seems like a reasonably nerdy subject to me. Plenty of sci-fi books and shows have examined those themes.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @04:12PM (#46017149)
    To be more accurate, there were multiple Auschwitzes, and I was talking about the one where, when it was in full operation, no arbitrarily high amount of intelligence would have saved you beyond some point. In matters of survival, there simply are unsolvable situations. The OP saying that "dolphins are smart" was being facetious.
  • by adiposity ( 684943 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @05:50PM (#46018195)

    If a thought has no meaning to us, as humans, then it is hard to develop any sympathy for that thought. Since sympathy is essentially the basis for treating intelligent animals "humanely," it is pretty hard to swallow that we should give the same deference to seaweed as chimps.

    But, you can argue for any mode of thought. Perhaps oxygen molecules don't like being inhaled, and we should just let ourselves die from suffocation. It's kind of silly to approach life that way, though. A better approach might be to preserve that which we think is worth being preserved. There isn't really any way to do that other than a selfish point of view (from the point of the species, the region, or the individual). If there is no value in saving the life of all seaweed, then we don't do it. If there is a value in keeping dolphins alive, then we do it.

  • by EMG at MU ( 1194965 ) on Monday January 20, 2014 @05:54PM (#46018257)

    Why is it that some people seem to care more about the death of 200 dolphins than the death of 200,000 Syrians?

    Why is it that some people care more about the death of 200,000 Syrians than the death of over a million jews during WWII?

    See? I can find a bigger problem too.

    It might have something to do with WWII ending in the 1940's while the dolphin 'slaughter' and the Syrian conflict are current.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter