The Dolphin Hunt in Taiji: A Summary

Written by on April 15, 2013 in Editor's Choice, Marine Life, Whales & Dolphins

For many years, particularly since the release of the award-winning documentary, The Cove, the annual dolphin hunt in the small cove in the small town of Taiji, Japan has been at the center of animal activism. Now, for the first time, it is becoming a scientific issue as well.

Dr. Andy Butterworth of the University of Bristol and colleagues recently published a paper in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science that analyzed the brutal methods by which the dolphins are killed. Not surprisingly, they found that the methods inflict “disturbing levels of physical trauma” that “would not be acceptable under any international animal welfare standards.”

Learn more about the results of the analysis here: The Taiji Dolphin Slaughter: A Scientific Issue.

If you haven’t see The Cove yet, you can watch it for free through It’s a suspenseful, moving documentary that’s definitely worth watching but be warned, a handful of scenes are very graphic.

Driving the dolphins into The Cove.

Driving the dolphins into The Cove. Photo courtesy of

To catch up on the latest information about the annual dolphin slaughter, here’s a summary of what we’ve written this season:

Can One Woman End the Annual Dolphin Drive in Taiji?
Check out this awesome article from TakePart about a Scottish mom who could single-handedly be credited with ending the dolphin slaughter in Japan’s infamous Cove.

IMATA conference is opportunity to condemn Taiji dolphin drives” from Digital Journal
In this opinion piece, the author states that the annual conference of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) would be a perfect place to discuss the annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. There are several members of IMATA who work at facilities that get their dolphins from the Japanese dolphin drives, even though IMATA “condemns the inhumane killing of dolphins and other cetaceans.”

This Year’s ‘Cove’ Slaughter Is Almost Over, but the Death Toll Is Steep” from TakePart
The annual dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan is over, but the slaughterhouse freezers are full. Check out TakePart’s interview with Mark Palmer of Earth Island Institute that discusses the killing season.

Taiji Implicated In Russian Beluga Trade” from WDC
New reports reveal that two beluga whales, captured from the wild in Russian waters, were transferred to Taiji-the site of The Cove where the annual dolphin slaughter takes place.

The Cove in Taiji, Japan.

The Cove in Taiji, Japan. Photo courtesy of

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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