Global Candlelight Vigil in Remembrance of the Lives Lost in the Cove

March 1, 2017 marked the first annual Global Candlelight Vigil in Remembrance of the Lives Lost in the Cove, organized by Dolphin Freedom Now. Be sure to follow Dolphin Freedom Now on Facebook & Twitter.

Activists around the world gathered in memory of the dolphins killed during the 2016-2017 Taiji Dolphin Drive hunt. A total of 569 dolphins were slaughtered this season and 235 dolphins were taken for a life of captivity this season.

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The event was also a way to honour the thousands of dedicated activists around the world who  follow and report on the dolphin hunts in Taiji from September to March each year.

Many activists held their own  private Candlelight vigils, while other activists held events around the world: Australia, Alaska, Germany, New Zealand, Denmark, South Carolina, United Kingdom, Los Angeles, New York City, Osaka Japan, Philadelphia, Philippines, San Diego, San Francisco & Seattle.

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Operation Sleppid Grindini #OpGrindini

Entire pods of pilot whales and dolphins are brutally and senselessly slaughtered in the Faroe Islands. The slaughter is better known by the traditional Faroese term, grindadráp, or simply as the grind. Similar to the infamous Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt, the grind is also a blood red stain on these otherwise pristine waters.

The local community heads out in small boats loaded with stones, hooks, ropes, and knives. Once they’ve approached the pod, the boats form a small half-circle behind the dolphins. Small rocks attached to lines are thrown into the water to create a wall of bubbles to reflect the sonar of the pilot whale. The cetaceans interpret the bubbles as a cliff wall that they must steer away from – because of this, the small boats are able to herd the cetaceans towards a low-lying shore. As the pod approaches land, the boats continue to harass and frighten the mammals until they’re washed up on the shore. Once beached, a knife is used to cut through the veins and arteries that supply blood to the pilot whales head. Some pilot whales suffer for as much as 30 seconds while others can take up to four minutes to die.

On July 23, approximately 200 hundred pilot whales were slaughtered on the killing beaches of the Danish Faroe Islands. These slaughters took place on two separate beaches in the Faroe Islands, resulting in one of the bloodiest days this year. Three Sea Shepherd crewmembers from South Africa, Belgium and Luxembourg have been arrested and another two, from Italy and France, have been detained for standing in defense of the whales that were targeted for slaughter. These people are volunteers who are opposing this atrocity by standing on the shores of the Faroe Islands armed with only a camera.

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Faroese whalers standing in a sea of red blood.

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Land Team Leader Rosie Kunneke is held down with her face into the ground by three Faroese police.

In 2011 not a single whale was slaughtered while Sea Shepherd patrolled the waters of the Faroes. In 2013, when Sea Shepherd was not present, more than 1,300 whales were slain. Last year in 2014, when Sea Shepherd returned, the kill was 33. What has changed so far in 2015 and why are so many whales dying this summer?

From Sea Shepherd Founder Paul Watson – “The answer is the Royal Danish Navy. Despite the fact that killing whales is illegal under European Union regulations, the government of Denmark has thrown their weight behind the killers. Sea Shepherd, as a non-governmental organization that practices non-violent intervention, is at a complete disadvantage against two Danish warships, their helicopters and their small flotilla of commandos in fast small boats plus the boats and officers belonging to the Faroese police. Denmark and the Danish people have sanctioned this cruelty and this despicable slaughter, and no matter how much they claim this is out of their hands, that it is a Faroese responsibility, the fact remains that between those who attempt to save the lives of the pilot whales and dolphins and the blood being spilled on the beach sits the Knut Rasmussen and the frigate Triton, both symbols of Danish power, Danish complicity and Danish involvement.”

Warning – the following video does contain graphic images.

For more information please visit Operation Sleppid Grindini

 

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Tragedy, Horror & the Reality of the Drive Hunt & Slaughter in Taiji

After a pod of pilot whales spent a total of 2 days netted off in the killing cove with no access to food or water, the killers mercilessly slaughtered 16 of them. Once the killers arrived in the cove the repeatedly ran over the pod with skiffs and tethered members of the pod to the side of the cove as they awaited their fate of slaughter. Is this Taiji’s version of hunting and fishing? Starving cetaceans for 2 days and then tethering them to the cove to await their fate … this is not hunting … this is the reality of what happens between September and March of each year in Taiji.

Below are photos courtesy of the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians … who stood at the cove and witnessed this intolerable cruelty to a pod of innocent pilot whales.

This matriarch of the pilot whale pod, struggled and thrashed for 30 minutes while tethered to the rocks of the cove. Killers eventually attempt to drag the female under the tarps for slaughter.

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The entire pod surrounded the matriarch as she was thrashing. The killers were unable to control the pod as they defended the matriarch of the pod.

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Two pilot whales cling together as they await slaughter.

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Another pilot whale, becomes entangled in the nets.

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The youngest of this pod, a baby pilot whale, was badly injured throughout this process.

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Pilot whale bodies being dragged into the Taiji Butcher house.

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After the killing in the cove was completed the killers drove the remaining pod members back out to sea, however as reported by the Coe Guardians, 1 pod member did not fair well and its dead body was dragged back out to sea.  While it may seem as though the killers showed some mercy in not slaughtering the entire pod, do not be mistaken … in the end it is all about profit and greed. The killers are given a quota for each species and with that the smaller and younger pilot whales are not worthy of fulfilling this quota. The bigger the pilot whale, the more meat and the more money it sells for … its as simple as that.  Unfortunately for the remaining pod members, driven back out to sea, survival is very slim. After 2 days without food and the traumatizing experience of witnessing your family slaughtered will take its toll on these innocent cetaceans.

Please take the time to follow the Cove Guardians on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.

Also check out Call of the Cove … they have some great information on how to get involved and what you can do to help.

For the dolphins and pilot whales of Taiji!