A new perspective, The Cove, Taiji.

This place just blows your mind. I skype my beautiful wife when i get back to my hotel room after each onslaught and looking at her image on the screen, it makes me feel I’m broadcasting from another planet… The culture here is totally alien to me, I have never experienced anything like it and i have travelled the world extensively.
I watched the cove like everyone else and I was repulsed by what i saw, It was after reading the Sea Shepherd daily blog from Taiji that compelled me to come down here.
The sick videos that appear on facebook and Youtube were enough to stop you eating for a month of sundays, I really had to dig into my pockets and make a conscious effort to get down here.
After a bombardment of killings within the first day of getting here, it gave me no time to reflect, my soul was being destroyed by all this abuse to the very thing I love (The animals)
I was on the hillside high above the killing cove on the morning of the 5th of December and I was watching trainers select dolphins from a trapped pod of around 40.
They were riding around on their backs and choosing the most suitable for their dolphinariums, After selecting 5 for a life of captivity, The fishermen slaughtered the remainder in front of the very trainers who tell you they have no part in it…
They laugh and drink beverages around the campfire on the killing cove beach. The sounds from the dolphins as they are slowly executed are most disturbing and horrific.
They slap and bang their tails frantically while the fishermen drive stakes multiple times trying to find their spines like a backstreet practitioner. The dolphins finally die after 5 painful minutes and you practically throw up while witnessing the violence.

They say the woman trainers have nothing to do with the slaughter

Train them with one hand and kill them with another

These fishermen are no different to the slaughterhouse workers in America Europe and Australia to be perfectly honest with you. Civilized countries carry out these atrocities everyday of the week on Cows, Pigs, Sheep, chickens and anything else that ends up on the dinner table.
Yes these fishermen are scum and the world has its attention on the cove and quite rightly so but, where are the protests outside our own barbaric houses of horror?
Dolphins are cuddly looking creatures that we relate to flipper and any other gorgeous looking pet animal, cows and pigs are just not cute enough to care? If we did care would we not close these houses down?
This dolphin was free this morning, butchered this afternoon.

You can run but you cannot hide...

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in Taiji because this is horrible, worse than I could ever imagine but if slaughterhouses had glass windows would we be as horrified as the atrocities in Taiji?
Fishermen are processing meat like we process our meat. I just want to make sure we stay focused here, Japan has some amazing people, I found out today after talking to them. It is a culture that will NOT change in the near future. Should we set an example on our own doorstep first?
Chickens never see the light of day, Turkeys have their beaks filed down and their toes cut, the weight they develop crushes their bones, Sheep and pigs are shipped off to slaughterhouse all around the world and treated in the worst possible way. These dolphins that are butchered in the cove have had a sense of freedom, Farmed animals would never know what it was like to eat grass and roam free…
I will stand against Japan for the treatment of animals and I would welcome its citizens to stand by me in my own country likewise.
Until then, I’m here to do what I can for the dolphins… I am deeply affected by these atrocities towards nature….


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About Martyn Stewart

8 Responses to “A new perspective, The Cove, Taiji.”

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  1. April says:

    Hi Martyn,

    I am also disturbed by factory farming. Certainly there are several points to be made in that regard. One thing I would say is that in the US we have regulations – not always the best and not always followed – and certainly ghastly – but regulations. The slaughter of dolphins, to me cranks it up to a level beyond American factory farming I would say . First of all these dolphins do not belong to the Japanese. They tear then from migration and slaughter them cruelly and unsustainably. Mothers and babies alike. The Dolphins suffer and are exploited for entertainment (like a 1920’s circus). If an American factory farm was filmed dragging cows to their death and repeatedly stabbing pregnant mothers and babies, the pressure would be on those factories. These fisherman seem to abide by zero regulations regarding the treatment of dolphins. This is how Americans hunted when we nearly wiped out the Bison. I have often struggled with the fact that we tend to fight harder for the beautiful animals we can relate to. Certainly we should fight for them all – but I ask, if we can’t save these awesome, intellegent, and yes, beautiful creatures then what chance to chickens and cows have?

    Keep up the good work. ~ April

  2. Meagan says:


    Your videos are great. The world needs to see this.
    This is just not a assault on the dolphins, this is a assault on nature. Shame.

  3. Louise says:

    If I offend you, let me say sorry first. Farm animals are brutally slaughtered everyday. Something like 60% of pigs die in transport here in the US. They stuff them so tight in trucks, that their intestines pop out their rectums. They are beaten with clubs, daily. The runts are beaten to death, I am sorry that I cannot remember the actual term for it. Dairy cows are forced to have calves in order to produce milk. They are given growth hormones and cannot support their weight, causing painful leg injuries. When they give birth, many and I mean most, farmers do not let the baby have any contact with the mom. They are taken away immediately. The mothers and babies will cry for each other until they are hoarse!! When they cannot have babies any more, they are slaughtered for hamburg. Most by this point, cannot walk to slaughter. They are beaten, they are electrocuted, some are sexually assaulted!!! They are in pain!! They cry out and many people believe that they know when a family member has passed. They will go to the spot where a loved one has been killed, or died and they will mourn. Beef cattle, well they are castrated with no medication, they are stuck in a shoot, and they literally have their testicles ripped from their bodies, then they are branded!!! Their life is cut short so someone can have a steak. They are transported in all kinds of conditions, from sub zero to 100 degrees!! No water. They are hung by their feet, sometimes only one, their neck slit, to choke on their own blood. They do not die right away. the other cows are in line and see this. I won’t even get into chickens. let me just say that they are the most abused animal. My point is that we are no better unless we are also trying to do something for them too. How many people in your own neighborhood do not take care of their family pets?
    God created animals, not for humane abuse. If you don’t believe in God, that’s ok too. All I know is that animal abuse is EVERYWHERE.
    Regulations are in place, true. But noone follows up with them. It’s all about profit, just like the Dolphins. It’s all about demand. Are we looking at this wrong? Do we start putting more pressure on the folks that are buying the Dolphins for captivity? I have written many letters and never have I gotten any type of response. But are they not the problem? Would that put the fisherman and trainers out of business?
    Like I said, sorry April. I am just extremely frustrated.

  4. cwlumpo says:

    Thank you Martyn for your posts–very thought provoking.

    It is unspeakable the atrocities the human race inflicts upon the animals that inhabit this fragile world with us. The way the human population is growing, we are going to exhaust our natural and farmed resources. Where there is a demand, there is money to be made and someone will exploit the animal and/or the environment to make the money. How do we change people’s attitudes? We as a collective global community, need to change our way of thinking and re-evaluate what is truly important and convince our governments as well—can it be done if that means that making money isn’t the most important goal anymore? I would like to think so, but I might be a little jaded in that thinking.

    Factory farms and slaughterhouses are an atrocity as well as what is done to animals for entertainment and for the fashion industry as well the abuse that happens to family pets. It would be nice to be able to change what is happening in our own back yard first before we address what is happening someplace else, but I don’t think we have the luxury of time.

    I watched the movie Earthlings, as tough as it was, but it changed my life and perspective. You bearing witness, documenting and posting your thoughts are making a difference and making people aware and making people think—and not just about the atrocities that are happening in Taiji.

    Thank you for what you are doing.


  5. Jane says:

    The way forward for Taiji is though green tourism. Every guardian has commented on the outstanding natural beauty of the area. On almost on a daily basis, the fishermen can go out and locate dolphins. Their knowledge of the seas around them and the migratory pathes of the cetaceans could be turned into an eco friendly/conservation venture. Instead of killing, they could be taking out boats filled with tourists armed only with cameras.
    The towns people could have gift shops, hotels and bars to accomadate people visiting from around the globe.
    I live on a boat and have visited previous whaling Islands. I am thinking now of the Atlantic Portugese Islands of the Azores. They stopped whaling 30 years ago and have replaced it with a flotilla of Whale watching boats. Their principle tourism now is generated by living, wild, free ceteaceans.

    Taiji has all the ingredients for change, they just need the will and foresight. There would be many organisations that would help them in the transition.

    Until that time, we´ll keep fighting.


  6. ann christensen says:

    Hi Martyn,
    I am totally against factory farming. The Japanese would agree with you that this is no different than what goes on with pigs and cattle. I disagree. The livestock that we eat in the western world is domesticated. It is harsh and cruel, but we couldn’t turn them loose tomorrow and expect them to survive. I found long ago that if you preach veganism to an omnivore you usually lose them in the first three minutes. The vegan moral high ground generally gives everyone else altitude sickness.

    The hunt in Taiji is the only one that I am aware of where wild animals with super intelligence are rounded up and wholesale slaughtered. These animals belong to no one. They are free. To top it off their meat is poisonous. We wouldn’t consider eating it due to the mercury content. There is no reason for this hunt to continue. Tradition? The Kentucky Derby is tradition! The animal rights people hate it. Yet people from all over the world don spring time hats and attend the race because it is tradition. It is celebrated with fanfare like I’ve never seen. Everyone is mugging for the cameras rather than averting their eyes and saying “private space”. Tradition never involves blue tarps and shame. Tradition always has a parade and wide spread media coverage.

    I think it important to point out that a Taiji dolphin has not entered the United States since the mid 1980s because they can’t prove they were captured in a humane manner. Everything about this hunt is inhumane. The world is watching and we will continue to let Japan know what we think.

    Just my thoughts. Keep up the good work.

  7. April says:


    You didn’t offend me at all. I agree with you and Martyn about factory farming – it’s totally gross and pollutive to the environment. I just feel like the way Dolphins are treated in Taiji – out in the open, proud even, just rachets it up a notch. Beyond what the US would ever tolerate. Plus they are wild. It’s all horrific. I think we should change factory farming here in the US as well.

  8. @ann christensen, Thank you for your comment and from everybody here.. I just need to say that the killing of ANY animal whether domesticated of wild is wrong and barbaric. All animals regardless of freedom or captivity feel pain.

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