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Japan Dolphin Slaughter Continues in Taiji Cove; Death Toll Tops 260

Alive together for the last time, these pantropical spotted dolphins are driven into Taiji's killing cove on January 22. (Photo: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians)

Alive together for the last time, these pantropical spotted dolphins are driven into Taiji’s killing cove on January 22. (Photo: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians)

The mass killing of dolphins for their meat continues in Japan’s notorious Taiji cove, with more than a dozen Risso’s dolphins herded and slaughtered on Saturday.

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians report that the total number of dolphins killed in the cove has reached approximately 260 as seven mass killings have taken place over the past eight days. According to the group, 14 Risso’s dolphins were driven into the cove by fishermen in small boats who then proceeded to massacre the animals en masse.

“Members of the pod clearly understood the horrific intentions of the killers and in a panic tried to swim through the nets, but only became entangled,” SSCG wrote on its Facebook page. “Killers in dive suits were forced to wrangle the fear stricken Risso dolphins by placing ropes around their flukes and drag them to shore where slaughter awaited.”

“No lives were spared and all members of the pod ended their morning lifeless on the butcher house floor.”

Saturday’s killing actually marked a decrease from Friday’s, when a pod of around 30 Risso’s dolphins were herded into the cove and exterminated. According to SSCG, the fishermen were also hunting small whales.

The fate of most dolphins driven into Taiji cove (Photo from previous mass killing, credit: Selva-vida Sin Fronteras)

The fate of most dolphins and whales driven into Taiji cove (Photo from previous mass killing, credit: Selva-vida Sin Fronteras)

Earlier in the week, some “lucky” dolphins escaped death by being selected for captivity in marine parks where they are forced to perform for humain entertainment. According to SSCG, eight bottlenose dolphins were transferred from sea pens into concrete tanks at Dolphin Resort. Another 15 pantropical spotted dolphins were selected by employees of Taiji Whale Museum, Dolphin Base, and Dolphin Resort Hotel for lives of depressing captivity. Another 13-15 animals deemed unfit for captivity were then killed and purchased for processing by Taiji meat merchants.

The mass killing of cetaceans has been going on since late last year, as the 2012-2013 Taiji killing quota for seven different species of dolphins has been set at 2,089 animals. With just over 10 percent of the quota met, there is likely much more suffering ahead for the hapless animals who make the fatal mistake of passing through the area.

Taiji cove was brought to international attention following the release of the 2009 film “The Cove,” which chronicles the mass killings and the efforts of international activists to document and stop the tragic slaughter. “The Cove” won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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