Leilani Munter's Shocking Footage From the Taiji Dolphin Slaughter

dolphins in flight photo

Image credit: joshDubya/Flickr

I am currently in the little town with the really big secret: Taiji, Japan, made famous by the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove .

I am here as a volunteer for Save Japan Dolphins and Earth Island Institute. This is my second trip here since the killing season began on September 1st. Although I have seen the movie many times, this week was the first time I was in Taiji during a dolphin slaughter.On October 11, 2010 a pod of dolphins were driven into the cove. The following day, I saw these beautiful creatures swim into The Cove and come out dead bodies. The fishermen are very careful to hide the evidence of their actions, hiding the bodies under tarps and keeping people from filming the slaughter.

SLIDESHOW: Dolphins, Magnificent Mammals

But on this day I got lucky and managed to get close up photos of the fishermen cutting up the dolphins inside the slaughterhouse. They left a door slightly open, and I stuck my camera under it. One of the fishermen eventually spotted me from the grocery store across the street and shut me down, but I got them cutting off the dolphins' fins and chopping up the torsos. It was one of the hardest things I have ever seen and I will never be the same. This is the footage I collected over those two days:

One of the fishermen participating in the killing that day was Private Space, who you will recognize from The Cove. This is footage of my long awaited meeting with the most famous fisherman in Taiji:

Read more about dolphins:
Scientists Say Dolphins Should Be Granted Human Non-Human Person Status
Whaling & Dolphin Hunting Not About What's Being Killed But Who
New Discoveries in Dolphin Communication Reveal Use of Diplomacy to Avoid Fights
Read more from Leilani Munter:
Blood Still Flows at the Cove
13 Dolphins Wait for Freedom
Pro Athletes Visit Gulf Oil Spill, Say "No More Drill, Baby Drill"

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