Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Broome: Taiji dolphin slaughter to start again next month

by Geoff Vivian

Japanes fishermen hauling dolphins from blood-stained waters

Japanese fishermen hauling dolphins from blood-stained waters - courtesy Sea Shepherd

A film about dolphin slaugter in Broome’s Japanese sister city will be screened again this Sunday.

The organisers are hoping it will prompt Broome shire to pressure Taiji village into stopping the annual dolphin cull, scheduled to start on 1 September.

“There’s an urgency to this because the clock is ticking,” said Dolphin rescuer Rick O’Barry who made the film.

“Midnight of September 1st … is when (the dolphin slaughtering in Taiji) starts up again – and it will go on for six months,” he said.

“Broome has the power to stop this before it starts by putting out a press release that says ‘if you do this, we will not be associated with you any more’.”

This would require a special council meeting, as the next regular council meeting is scheduled for 2 September, the following day.

Shire President Graham Campbell said there were no plans to call such a meeting, and the Shire had already expressed concerns about the dolphin slaughter to the local authority in Taiji.

“They wrote back on 26 January acknowledging our concerns in general terms and explained it was a cultural scenario,” he said.

He said the local government in Taiji had no power to stop its citizens killing dolphins.

“The licenses are not issued by the town of Taiji, they are in fact issued by the Japanese Government through the Wakayama Prefecture,” he said.

“Prefectures are like states.”

He said the council is in a difficult position as Taiji residents have played a large part in Broome’s history and many of their descendants still live in Broome.

“Do we dishonour the contribution, 100-odd years of Japanese and Taiji contribution to the town and their relations?” he said.

He made it clear the council does not condone the killing of dolphins or other wildlife.

“If we do nothing are we condoning what’s going on? And we certainly don’t,” he said.

He said the shire had been getting emails from around the world on the subject, as well as 15 or 20 from local residents.

“Our staff are collating the emails we are receiving for council to consider,” he said.

There is an interview with dolphin rescuer Richard O’Barry, part of which we have already quoted, here.

You can listen to an interview with the other film maker, Louie Psihoyos, here.

You can read the Japanese whaling industry’s official position on dolphin slaughter here.

”The Cove” will be screened at Sun Pictures, Broome this Sunday 23 August. Kimberley Whalewatching’s Richard Costin will give a talk beforehand and take questions from the audience afterwards.


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