Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Japan's Dolphin Hunt Sags
Japan's dolphin hunt sags under protests and concerns over mercury. Every autumn and winter, hunters from this craggy Japanese fishing village corral thousands of dolphins into a tiny, isolated cove, and kill them for meat and fertilizer, turning the water red with their blood. And every year, foreign animal rights protesters converge on the town, interfering with the slaughter, clashing with fisherman and broadcasting grisly photographs of the slayings around the world, all without stopping the hunt. Now, Japan's dolphin hunters face a new, powerful opponent: mercury contamination. A series of scientific studies in recent years in Japan have documented high levels of the toxic metal in dolphin meat, and a group of city councilmen in Taiji launched an unprecedented campaign against the hunt several months ago after doing their own tests. They even pulled the meat off the shelves of supermarket chains due to health concerns. It's kind of a 2-way street, the animal lovers don't want them killed, the people need the meat and now it would seem that it is contaminated with mercury.