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Off a small coast in Taiji, Japan, over 20,000 dolphins are brutally slaughtered every year in what are called "Dolphin Drives" - a seasonal dolphin hunting method that takes place in many parts of the world but are highlighted particularly in Japan.
The Taiji bay is highly guarded as many of you may have witnessed in the academy award winning documentary, The Cove, in which an elite team of activists, filmmakers, and freedivers risk their safety as they embark on a mission to shed light on the horrors of the cove. Annually, fisherman pursue dolphins and pods in open seas, driving them to bays and shallow water by banging metal poles together beneath the water to disrupt their hypersensitive sonar.
Exhausted, the dolphins remain enclosed in the bay; they are sealed off to the ocean by nets and await the arrival of the fisherman. Using knives and spears, the fishermen butcher the dolphins in a violent and sick, almost "gamemenship" act. Attractive dolphins that fit "Flipper criteria" are spared but only to face an almost equally sad fate. They are sold all over the world to dolphinariums and waterparks for entertainment-many of which die within 2 years of captivity due to stress and poor environmental conditions.
Meat from the massacred dolphins are sold to the general public for food - another deleterious act as dolphin meat contains an obscene level of mercury - a deathly poisonous chemical now being consumed by the Japanese public.
Savejapandolphins.org was founded by Ric O'barry, a leading marine mammal activist who has worked for over 38 years toward the freeing of dolphins in captivity. He has also sought to spread more awareness toward the issue. O'barry was able to create the savejapandolphins campaign with the help of Earth Island Institute Inc - a leading non-profit organization that encourages activism toward environmental issues and the promotion of public education. Every cent raised will be donated to Earth Island Institute and will bring us a step closer to stopping the inhumane massacre that goes on every year. Dolphins are highly intelligent and self-aware animals that are a lot more complex and sophisticated than their ever-present smile suggests. They deserve our awe and respect and the unjust and horrid dolphin drives that take place every year needs to stop.