Japan’s Prime Minister has defended the country’s dolphin hunting, a controversial practice that has been criticized at an international level. Abe asked the world to understand that the practice is a tradition that is part of Japan’s culture. Dolphin hunting also helps the fishing communities to have a better life, he added.
“The dolphin fishing that takes place in Taiji town is an ancient fishing practice rooted in their culture… and supports their livelihoods,” Abe said. “We hope you will understand this,” he said, adding that he knows about the hunting being widely criticized.
“In every country and region, there are practices and ways of living and culture that have been handed down from ancestors,” the premier added. “Naturally, I feel that these should be respected.”
Recently, both the U.S. and British ambassadors to Japan have strongly criticized the “drive killings” of dolphins citing the “terrible suffering” of the animals.
Activists from the environmentalist group Sea Shepherd are also protesting the dolphins being trapped into nets and then killed for eating.
Defenders of the hunt say dolphins are not endangered species, a reason that is also supported by the Japanese government.
They also say the Western reactions to dolphin slaughter are hypocritical, as much more cows, pigs and sheep are butchered around the world to satisfy the global demand for meat.