The quota for this year's Taiji, Japan dolphin hunt is set at 1,820 dolphins.
That's 1,820 dolphins the government of Japan decided and declared should no longer be alive after this season's hunting, from September 1 to the end of February.
In addition to these 1,820 dolphins that may be murdered, another 150 have been appointed for selection to amusement parks.
Combined, this represents nearly 2,000 dolphins.
What this doesn't account for, however, are the Dolphins that will likely die or drown before the slaughters take place. The dolphins are scared witless, by loud underwater noises and driven quickly, for several miles, into a killing cove. The young and the old may not make it, they can't keep up, or they drown.
Yet, these dolphins are never accounted for in the death toll. So in reality, the numbers above, represent at a minimum, 2,000 dolphins. But, likely more than that.
Altruism for dolphins may be their downfall. They have nothing to fear from humans in their everyday life. But, once in the killing Cove, families of dolphins huddle together, moms try to protect their young. You see very altruistic, human-like behaviors.
In Japan, dolphins, whales, and porpoises are not viewed as sentient beings--which they are; instead, they are viewed as pests, they are viewed as competition for fish; fish that humans have overfished, overexploited, and removed from the oceans at unsustainable rates.
During the hunting season, dolphins are viewed as a commodity, to sell to amusement parks at $100,000 each. The rest of the family is collateral damage, often slaughtered and sold for human consumption. Yet, this meat is so tainted with mercury and other chemicals that it is dangerous to eat.
More than that however, is that dolphins live in families, close families. They know each other as well as we know our families, and never stray far. These murders or kidnappings not only destroy families, but they destroy the oceans' ecosystems and the natural order of life, taking an apex predator out.
Those that are captured are sold into a life of slavery, boredom, stress, and innumerable cacophonous noises.
Those that are released--if any are, maybe the babies or the injured, whose likelihood of survival is significantly diminished, whose minds will be filled with the hunt-drive memories.
Those not selected for captivity or release are cruelly and brutally murdered. Sometimes within the hour, sometimes within days depending on the species.
The trauma, pain, and suffering these dolphins endure is unacceptable, and it needs to stop.
What can you do?
2. You can watch the movie "The Cove."
3. You can tell your friends.
4. You can sign petitions.
5. You can join the Facebook group "Dolphin Angels" and tweet.
6. But perhaps most importantly, you can stop going to dolphin amusement parks, swim-with-dolphin programs, dolphinariums, or any show that has captive dolphins.