Heroes star Hayden Panettiere was among the young protesters who tried to stop Japanese fishermen from killing a pod of dolphins and their baby this week. As one from a group of six American and Australian surfers, she paddled out on her surfboard to shield the dolphins with her body.
But the youngsters were stopped by a local fishing boat and blocked by its propeller before they could reach the animals. Fishermen also tried to hit them with a boathook.
The surfers returned to the beach devastated. "One little baby dolphin stuck his head out and kinda looked at me and the thought that it's no longer with us is really hard to take," said Panettiere breaking down in tears. Sky News reports that Panettiere and her friends would have been charged with trespassing if they were caught by local police.
According to Sky News, more than 22,000 dolphins are slaughtered by fishermen in Japan every year. The hunt and the brutality continues despite worldwide condemnation. Some Japanese believe that dolphins should be treated the same as fish. They've been hunted for centuries and see outside criticism as an attack on their culture. Live and let live? What are your thoughts on dolphins and the hunt?
Warning: the video is bloody and very sad.