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MURDER BY ANY OTHER NAME: Fishermen kill whale trapped in Japan’s infamous cove by forcing head underwater

There were two ships that worked together to put a rope around the tail fin and force the whale’s head beneath the water. They kept him alongside the boat and it took about 20 minutes for the whale to drown.

SAM HANCOCK: A juvenile minke whale has been killed by fishermen off the coast of Taiji, a town in Japan notorious for its annual dolphin cull, 19 days after it became trapped inside nets. Ren Yabuki, an animal rights activist whose drone footage of the distressed whale sparked international outrage, told reporters on Monday Japanese fishermen had drowned the adolescent creature, which was already weak due to it not being able to feed since first being penned in to a cove on Christmas Eve.

“There were two ships that worked together to put a rope around the tail fin and force the whale’s head beneath the water”, Mr Yabuki said earlier today. “They kept HIM alongside the boat and it took about 20 minutes for the whale to drown.” He said the killing took place at around 6.30am and had left him “shaking with sadness”. “That’s a really bad way for an animal to die and I’m shaking with sadness at what I have seen this morning,” Mr Yabuki said…

As the director of Japan’s Life Investigation Agency (LIA), an animal rights organisation, Mr Yabuki made multiple calls for fishermen to release the whale – he even urged members of the public to message the governor of Wakayama Prefecture (in which Taiji sits) to demand that he intervene. But to no avail… Once fishermen had slain the whale, his body was pulled up onto one of the boat’s decks, covered with blue tarpaulin and taken back to shore – where it was later butchered.

Mr Yabuki said, from what he understood, the building where the body was taken is owned by the town’s fishing cooperative, and that its meat would later appear on the shelves of local supermarkets… The same local fishing cooperative said last week it would attempt to free the whale, which measured around four or five metres in length, according to Mr Yabuki. But he witnessed fishers make just one “half-hearted” attempt to free the animal soon after it became trapped as bycatch on 24 December…

“It is soul-destroying to think that by merely lifting the net three weeks ago, this poor animal could have been swimming free instead of being trapped in prolonged distress only to be harpooned and butchered for commercial sale in local markets,” HSI’s animal welfare programme manager, Georgie Dolphin, said in a statement…

Speaking to The Independent on Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (Peta) director Elisa Allen said the “horrors inflicted on this whale – a sentient being like you and me, with just as much feeling and fear in him” are “unimaginable”. “Japan’s reputation is stained with the blood of this whale,” she said, “and unless the country embraces 21st century knowledge of who animals are and promotes whale watching over whale killing, it’ll face condemnation for its cruelty.” SOURCE… 

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