Ban the Commercial Killing of Dolphins Worldwide

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For many years, the small town of Taiji in Japan has been exploiting innocent dolphins.  The town's main economic influx is coming from the local fishermen luring dolphins into a small cove, picking out the "best" ones to sell to commercial show businesses for thousands of dollars a dolphin, and slaughtering the rest by repeatedly stabbing them until they die.  The fishermen then butcher the dead dolphins and sell the meat to supermarkets, making even more money.  The country of Japan alone currently allows more than 2,000 small cetacean (dolphins, porpoises, and small whales) kills annually, and this is just one country that partakes in this horrible deed of killing dolphins.  The total estimated number of small cetaceans killed each year using the same technique as the fisherman in Taiji is estimated to be more that 22,000.  The excuse that Japan uses for its slaughter of dolphins is that the dolphin hunts are "part of Japanese culture", but they have only been occurring since the late 1960s.  Many species of dolphins are already near extinction due to many problems such as overfishing, and if these commercial dolphin killings continue, all dolphins will be extinct before we know it.

In addition to the slaughter of dolphins for commercial purposes being a horrible tragedy, consuming dolphin meat is also very dangerous to humans.  Dolphin meat contains very high levels of mercury, the second most toxic poison in the world.  Mercury attacks the nervous system and brain, with some of its potential effects being permanent loss of eyesight and hearing, memory loss, and in the case of pregnant women, harm to the fetus.

Most people are astonished when they hear of the horrible dolphin slaughtering, and they ask how it is legal for these Japanese towns to commit mass murdering of dolphins, and then make ridiculous amounts of money by selling dolphin meat to stores, especially when dolphin meat is so harmful to humans.  The fact is that the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the international organization dedicated to protecting whales worldwide, currently has not put any laws in place to prevent these mass slaughters of dolphins for economic purposes. They have placed an international ban on the commercial killing of large whales, but they believe that small cetaceans do not fall under their protection, despite the fact that dolphins and porpoises are indeed a part of the whale family.  The mission statement of the IWC states that its purpose is to "provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry."  Nowhere in that statement does it say that this organization's protection only applies to large whales.  Dolphins are severe victims of overfishing because of people like the fishermen at Taiji, who are killing these dolphins for commercial purposes.  I feel that this problem falls directly underneath the IWC's mission statement, and by ignoring it, they are violating the very premise that their commission was built upon.  If dolphin hunting for commercial purposes is banned world-wide by the IWC, then dolphins will be safe from people who hunt and slaughter them with no purpose other then to make money off of them.  When the IWC banned the commercial killing of large whales, the large whales' population was able to recover, and it is now climbing steadily.  We can have that same success story for the dolphins.  The IWC needs to ban the commercial killing of dolphins while we still have time to save them.



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