TORONTO – A government spokesman has defended an annual dolphin hunt in Japan’s infamous Taiji cove after U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy said she was “deeply concerned” by the inhumanity of the practice.
In a news conference Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said dolphin fishing in Japan is carried out appropriately in accordance with the law.
On Friday, Kennedy—daughter of the late President John Kennedy—said the U.S. government opposes such fishing and tweeted the following:
Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG opposes drive hunt fisheries.
— キャロライン・ケネディ駐日米国大使 (@CarolineKennedy) January 18, 2014
Public outcry on social media continues as hundreds of dolphins are being held in captivity since Thursday night.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says at least five separate pods of Bottlenose dolphins were driven into Taiji’s cove last week and the dolphins have had “nothing to eat for more than 72 hours.”
— Sea Shepherd USA (@SeaShepherd_USA) January 19, 2014
The organization says the pods includes over 250 dolphins, the largest pod to be driven into the cove in several years. According to The Guardian, U.S. conservationists say some of the mammals will be held in permanent captivity or will be killed for meat.
— Sea Shepherd USA (@SeaShepherd_USA) January 20, 2014
The fishermen say the hunt is part of their village’s tradition and call Western critics who eat other kinds of meat hypocritical.
Using the hashtag #tweet4taiji , critics turned to social media to express their outrage, including comedian Ricky Gervais.
URGENT: 250 bottle nose dolphins in Taiji cove now. #tweet4taiji please stop the slaughter. RT. Thank You.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 17, 2014
Last September, former Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum was in the remote Japanese fishing village protesting against the annual dolphin hunt.
The ongoing global campaign to stop the dolphin kill in Taiji garnered worldwide attention after the 2009 Academy Award-winning film about the hunt called The Cove.
– With files from The Associated Press
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