My Touretts is Back

Dolphin burgers for park visitors

WHEN it comes to walking both sides of a macabre street, it's hard to imagine a more audacious example than that of the Japanese town of Taiji.

Already infamous for the annual slaughter of dolphins that was brought to light in the documentary The Cove, Taiji has now announced plans for a marine mammal park.
Visitors can see dolphins and whales in a fenced-off section of a local bay. They can kayak and even swim with them and then snack on a dolphin burger from those slaughtered nearby.

In a project that has won the backing of figures from Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research - the overseer of the country's Antarctic whaling program - Taiji wants to partition more than 28ha of the local Moriura Bay for the park.

"The planned site faces the state road, and I think it will give a great visual effect if the tourists can see the whales swimming in the bay," Taiji town official Masaki Wada told The Australian.
He said black whales and bottlenose dolphins captured off Taiji - some of which are sold to aquariums each year - would be released into the area, creating a whale amusement park. But Mr Wada made it clear that the controversial and bloody dolphin slaughter in nearby Hatakejiri Bay - carried out by stabbing the mammals with sharp stakes - would continue as usual.

"Both of the concepts can coexist," he said.

"The town of Taiji is close to the Pacific Ocean and we can harvest various types of fruits of the sea including whales. We would like to display our cuisine culture.

"Now we have Kujira Katsu Burger (whale cutlet burger) sold at our swimming beach and it sells well.

"Of course there are some people who do not eat it, but it's about individual freedom.

"Our town will proceed with the concept that there is food culture, as well as tourism, when it comes to whales.

"We are not doing anything wrong, and we do not aim to cease our legitimate business because of criticism from outside."

The Cove, released in 2009, brought Taiji, 500km southwest of Tokyo, to worldwide attention, winning an Oscar the following year, after graphically showing the killing of the dolphins, thanks in part to hidden underwater cameras.

Activists continue to visit the town to protest the hunt and have already signalled (sic) they will oppose the marine park plan.

Taiji fishermen, and many Japanese across the country, are surprised by the strength of foreign criticism of whaling, arguing there is no distinction between the practice and that of killing and eating other species.

Training dolphins for people’s entertainment is no longer a tourist attraction in India. The country will instead close the many dolphin parks built across the country and ban any other commercial entertainment, which captures and confines orcas and bottlenose dolphins.