Animal Activists Rally For Dolphins At Japanese Embassy In DC

Animal activists rallied at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C., on Friday, calling for an end to the slaughter of dolphins and whales in Taiji, Japan.

The Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue played host for three hours in the afternoon to a demonstration organized in protest of the annual killing of whales. The hunt and slaughter of dolphins in Japan was brought under public scrutiny by the documentary film, The Cove.

Dozens of activists were among those who had been invited to “bring signs, banners, pots, pans, etc. that can be used to simulate the banging of sound of a dolphin drive hunt, following the example of our London siblings in arms, also tarpaulins and red silk or satin sheets.”

Participants were asked to wear a blue top and red shorts or pants, “to further the idea of blood under the water.”

The event was promoted through Women of the World United Against Taiji.

The 2016 DC Rally for Cetaceans posted updates on their Facebook page, including a list of celebrities who had supported the movement.

  • Morgan Fairchild
  • Katy Manning
  • William Devry Simard
  • Jackie Zeman
  • Sebastian Roché
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Michael Dorn
  • Terry Farrell
  • Brent Spiner

Aside from worldwide support, the demonstration boasted participants from as far as Montreal, Quebec, ‪‎Canada‬, the Bahamas, as well as staff members from the nonprofit organization, Sea Shepherd Baltimore/DC, and Sea Shepherd Boston.

The group enjoyed a vegan champagne breakfast at Busboys and Poets, an “ethically and politically-active” cafe. They topped it off with a dessert from Sticky Fingers — the vegan bakery known for winning Cupcake Wars.

The social activity was the lighter side of a very serious movement. Activists have been battling the dolphin slaughter in Taiji for years. According to this Inquisitr article, Taiji is known as “a small town with a dark secret.”

“In a grim tradition that began in the 1950s, thousands of dolphins are sought out by a fleet of fishing boats, searching for pods or families with young calves swimming together.

“The mammals are pursued for hours until exhausted, and then rounded up and herded into the now-infamous cove, where they are bludgeoned and stabbed to death.

“Some of the calves and adolescents are separated and kept in holding tanks to be sold to amusement parks, a fate some say is worse than that of their counterparts. Others are butchered and sold in meat markets and groceries for human consumption.”

One of the loudest voices protesting Taiji is activist Ric O’Barry, star of The Cove documentary, founder of The Dolphin Project, and best known for being trainer of the dolphins in the 1960s TV series, Flipper.

O’Barry, 76, was jailed in Tokyo in January of 2016, upon his arrival into the country. O’Barry has been peacefully attending the Taiji slaughter for years, to witness and record the activity and provide a silent eye of protest.

O’Barry spent 19 days in the Japanese slammer before he was deported, according to TakePart.com. Louie Psihoyos, director of The Cove and executive director of the Ocean Preservation Society, said O’Barry’s arrest would only bring more light to the issue.

“He was deported because the Taiji dolphin slaughter is a huge international embarrassment to Japan, and Ric is the most vocal protester. He didn’t violate any Japanese laws, but he brings worldwide attention to one of the most brutal animal atrocities in the world.”

The deportation means O’Barry must stay out of the country for five years, which The Dolphin Project is protesting, and it has given the group a green light to sue the Japanese government.

The Taiji dolphin killing season runs from September into April.

[Image via Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock]