Illustration from Save the Dolphins by Horace Dobbs (Souvenir Press)
HORROR and HOPE
Horace Dobbs reviews the on going butchering of dolphins by Japanese fishermen
Where has humanity gone wrong?
I have recently seen, yet again, images of the mass slaughter of dolphins in which dolphins are herded into Futo Harbour in Japan and then brutally butchered. http://www.glumbert.com/media/dolphin
How can my fellow human beings do such things?
Daily Mail 27 February 2007
When the Japanese fishermen who commit these atrocities have finished work do they go home, play with their kids and tenderly care for them when they fall over and scratch themselves?
These are issues I have been struggling with and trying to resolve for close on three decades. In my book Save the Dolphins, first published in 1981, I give a detailed account of Dexter Cate, a man more courageous than me, who in 1980 paddled out in a canoe at night to release dolphins that had been corralled in a harbour for slaughter.
Since then I have made many close Japanese friends. Among them are Professor Eiji Fujiwara and his wife Sakae. Eiji has meticulously documented the killing of cetaceans by the Japanese. He and Sakae created a conservation society, The Elsa Nature Conservancy, that continues to this day to persuade their fellow countrymen to cherish and respect all life forms on our planet, especially whales and dolphins.
Eiji took me and Rebecca Fitzgerald, with whom I have swum with wild dolphins countless times, to meet the fishermen in Futo. He showed us the harbour into which the fishermen drove the dolphins prior to dragging them out of the water and slaughtering them.
During my visit to Futo I saw that facilities were provided for visiting sports divers and hoped that the fishermen would switch from dolphin hunting to ecotourism with dolphin swimming as the major attraction. Clearly this has not happened.
In stark contrast to our visit to Futo, Rebecca and I spent time in the 800 year old Mioren Ji Temple in Kyoto where the world’s first DOLPHIN HEALING CENTRE was established in 1993.
In bold headlines JAPAN LEADS THE WAY in the November 1994 issue of our magazine DOLPHIN I reported on the proud opening of the centre by the resident priest Kokyo Ishizaki and his wife Konoe.
In the same magazine I reported on the ICERC (International Cetacean Educational Research Centre) Conference hosted with warmth, generosity and humour by the Japanese that attracted dolphin conservationists from around the world. It seemed at the time that we were well on the road to terminating the dolphin drives by Japanese fishermen. Sadly recent events have shown that we still have a long way to go.
But I am still holding a candle of hope
Who could have predicted six months beforehand that the Berlin Wall would come tumbling down? Yet it did in November 1989. And it happened as the result of a collective consciousness, not just of the Germans, but of the western world as a whole, which had built up opposition to an oppressive regime, which many regarded as morally wrong, and was responsible for the erection of a wall that divided a nation.
Now we have a new and very powerful weapon with which we can bring about the change of consciousness needed to end the herding and killing of dolphins by Japanese fishermen. It’s called THE WORLD WIDE WEB. With it we can make it known to Japanese fishermen and the Japanese Government that there is global horror and opposition to the barbaric and deliberate killing of dolphins. What’s more IDW has a small army of Peaceful Website Warriors who are prepared to act.
International Dolphin Watch
Acting to help dolphins
Anyone can become a WEBSITE WARRIOR
You can help
You can start by signing the online petition created by Pedro Olileira to the Prime Minister of Japan
Please also send a copy of this article to the media and/or anyone you think might be able to help the Japanese gain a better understanding of the special relationship we humans have with dolphins.
To get our message across we can and should bombard those in power, especially those who run Japanese businesses, of the strength of the opposition to the continuation of dolphin culls. And the likely effect this will have on the sale of Japanese goods and the lowering of the regard with which the entire Japanese Nation is held by the rest of the world.
Hatred never cured anything
It would be morally wrong and counter productive to wage a hate campaign against the Japanese Nation, many of whom are dedicated conservationists. And this is where our DOLPHIN FRIENDSHIP CRUSADE can play an important role.
Firstly we need to make the world aware of what is happening in Japan.
Secondly we must make the Japanese aware of how strongly we feel about what their fishermen are doing.
And thirdly, and most importantly, we need to win them over to our side.
Education is one of the ways we can achieve the third objective. We should make the Japanese more aware that dolphins have brains as large as ours. That dolphins are intelligent and almost certainly have a sensitivity to pain and sorrow equal to, if not greater than, that of humans. That dolphins have been dubbed “Man’s Cousins in the Sea” and should be treated as such. That dolphins have much to teach us on how to live in harmony with one another and our planet.
Kokyo Ishizaki, Konoe Ishizaki and their three children are all artistic.
Kokyo designed a logo depicting the love of dolphins upon which the Dolphin Healing Centre was founded. He has had it made into gold pendants, which he gives to dolphin friends and visitors to the temple.
The emblem, which shows two dolphins in a heart, has been taken up by friends of the dolphins around the world to carry the message of love that dolphins bring into our hearts.
When his wife passed away Kokyo Ishizaki, the priest at the Dolphin Healing Centre in Kyoto, produced a beautifully packaged mini CD called A Song of Iruka ( Iruka is Japanese for Dolphin) as a memorial to his wife Konoe who wrote the song ( the musical score of which is published in my book Dolphin Healing - Piatkus Books) and gave it to the world. The sleeve notes, in Japanese and English, consist of a message to Konoe from the dolphins about life being a game that we should play with all those who cross our path, whether they be good or evil.
Protest songs are powerful tools for influencing and bringing about changes in public opinion. So too are books and stories. Charles Dickens was a master at this. Laws were changed following his exposure of the iniquities experienced by many children during the nineteenth century. Now I’m not a Charles Dickens but I have written a series of books for children about a fictional dolphin named Dilo who draws attention to the joy that free wild dolphins can bring into our lives and also the threats they face at the hand of Man.
The first book in the series, Dilo and the Call of the Deep, has been poetically translated into Japanese (so I am assured by Shizuko Ouwehand as I do not read Japanese) by Sakae Hemmi and illustrated by a Japanese artist. When it was first released in Japan it was “recommended reading” by education authorities in Japan. So a start has been made with the new generation of Japanese that we can build upon.
But I do not want to be a lone voice. I want as many of you as I can muster to go out and spread the world. Tell people about your personal dolphin experiences.
Join the DOLPHIN FRIENDSHIP CRUSADE
When you give your talks, follow the message that the dolphins gave to Konoe when she was inspired to write The Dolphin Song. Keep your presentations playful. If possible use humour. Tell your audience why you love dolphins and how they bring joy into human lives. It will then be obvious that we should all do everything in our power to protect them, especially from Japanese fishermen.
A final request. Please copy this article and leave it in places such as schools, libraries, coffee shops etc. for others to read and hopefully act.
I have just heard from my dear Japanese friend Shizuko that in some prefectures Japanese school children are being encouraged to eat whale meat – and as dolphins are small whales that includes dolphin meat as well…………………………. We’ve got a lot to do.
PLEASE HELP SAVE THE DOLPHINS
ANYONE WITH CONNECTIONS IN JAPAN PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO YOUR JAPANESE CONTACTS