Tina Santos Philippine Daily Inquirer

PASAY CITY, Philippines—Animal rights advocates marched to the Japanese Embassy in Pasay City on Thursday to protest the massive slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

Members of Earth Island Institute (EII), the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and the Friend of the Sea (FOS), led the demonstration organized by more than 65 groups in 56 cities all over the world yesterday, which has been dubbed “International Japan Dolphin Day.”

According to EII, Japan grants permits to kill as many as 23,000 dolphins every year.

According to EII, Japan grants permits to kill as many as 23,000 dolphins every year.

“Those who have witnessed the hunts relate how dolphins, which are highly intelligent and social animals, are brutally killed with spears and knives. The hunts go on every year from October through April,” the group said in a statement.

“The Cove,” a film on the brutal hunts which won best documentary in this year’s Oscar Awards, has intensified the campaign launched by EII years back regarding the dolphin slaughter.

According to “The Cove,” marine parks and aquariums buy animals from Japan for their dolphin shows. A single untrained dolphin can cost as much as $150,000. The money paid by the dolphin show industry is one major reason why the hunts persist despite the fact that many Japanese do not eat dolphin.

Dolphins have also been shipped to the Philippines, said Trixie Concepcion, regional director of EII.

“In 2001, the country imported five false killer whales, four of which already died performing at the Ocean Adventure Park in Subic,” she said. “Four bottlenose dolphins arrived in the country in 2004, one of which has already died. Last year, four bottlenose dolphins were also imported from Japan.”

The Philippine government must stop supporting the dolphin slaughter in Japan by not allowing the continued importation of dolphins into the country, Concepcion added.