So much to cover! So get comfy!

Hey everyone! So I have a lot to post today! I would post all of these things separately but something new happens almost everyday…

First, I want to talk about Lolita. Not long before I left for Taiji I attended the anniversary of Lolita being captured, in Puget Sound.

Even though Lolita was not captured at the Cove in Taiji, she was captured in Puget Sound, where I live. I really hope for the day Lolita is released, should it ever come. The anniversary gathering started with a rose ceremony out in the water. Once the boats returned to the harbor we all headed up to a near by school. Ric O’Barry gave a speech about Lolita’s capture, the Cove, and (at the time) their upcoming series “Blood Dolphins”. Please watch the videos I have posted below… and do what you can to help Lolita be released. Write to the Miami Seaquarium, fundraise, and spread the word.

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This was forwarded on to me by my friend Leah, author of Rekindling the Waters. I could not believe what I was seeing… this is a link to a Canadian blogger who witnessed the slaughter of 6-7 Beluga Whales. Arctic cetaceans need our love and attention too. I will let her blog and pictures speak for themselves… it is horror.

Over the weekend, SSCS Cove Guardian attended a gathering in Tokyo that was announced in the paper:  (Here is the Link). This meeting was to discuss whaling and whale meat.  You can read the article for the particulars. Thomas had a Japanese speaking friend with him and the following is a synopsis of their experience:

In a nutshell for 2.5 hours it was, “Whale meat is delicious. We must keep this delicious food culture going! Let’s eat whale meat!”1st speaker was: Board member from ICR and President or Chairman of Hogei o Mamoru Kai.

He gave 10 min speech, his last name was Ito. Summed up quotes. “Ever since the IWC regulations, we haven’t been able to whale as much as I’d like to see, but today I’d like you to learn how great whale meat is and I hope you will realize how we need this culture to continue. It’s unfortunate that the whaling in the SO ended early because of interference.”

2nd speaker: Yamamura from Japan Whaling Association President representative and President of Kyodo Senpaku (responsible for the whaling ships in the SO).

His speech started out by talking about the “violent interference from SS this season, and how much $$$ SSCS is making. Having a TV crew on board, donations, and sponsors all giving money to SSCS. This year they’ve become more aggressive with 3 vessels! Because of this, we had to end the research for the safety of the workers.”

He continued:

“If I start talking about SSCS, and I have so much to say about them…. but I won’t be able to talk about what I am here for today…so let’s move on. I used to whale there 40 years ago. We are out in sea for months with NO women!” (he joked about that for a while)

He went on talking about whales. “There are 80 types of whales, longer than 4m is considered a whale and less than that is considered dolphin …..types of whales in the northern seas, and southern seas. Minke whale migration patterns, difference in the types of minkes, fish tail moves horizontally, and cetaceans vertically.”

Our conclusion:

There was NO point in his speech. He just explained things they learned about whales during the ‘research’.

“They learned how females don’t go through menopause, blow holes, how the whales function, they never sleep, pregnancies, and spent a long time talking about semen and whale testicle size depending on the species. Then about how the tradition of eating whales started….

Edo period in the Samurai world…. Back then it was eaten during special events in life such as weddings.”

“The whale meat from the Southern Oceans is the most safe. Very healthy. Low Calories. High in Protein.” “… has Balenine (type of amino acid DPA, EPA, DHA) in the red meat, and these supplements improves skin, good blood flow, no muscle pain after work outs, and good sleep. At the moment, many athletes are using these supplements. Famous runners, sumo wrestlers, baseball players etc. Also, inside the brain of the minke, there’s something that is good for Alzheimer’s.”

(It seemed like he had no proof, but he said, this could ‘possibly’ prevent Alzheimer’s.)

“In result of our research, not only are they eating Tuna, but there are many good vitamins and minerals.”

**NOTE: The video needs to be viewed again, the speakers mumbled a bit but it was thought that he said, “They are eating OUR tuna….” We cannot confirm this at this time but will try to confirm soon.

3rd speaker: Sakurai,  from the Taiji Whale Museum, history specialist. The title of his speech was:  “Taijicho whales now and then, and future”.

He was an intern at the Kendall Whale Museum. He spoke about U.S. whaling history in the 19th c in Boston, NY, and Kendall.

His speech was mostly about the history of Taiji’s whaling…. types of whales, and the whaling techniques. Using a projector, he had maps, a picture of the Taiji coast from an airplane (We could locate the Cove).

NO MENTION OF THE COVE, nothing on dolphins or the future.

4th speaker: Ueda from Fishery policy planning department processing and marketing.

“I’m here to talk about how amazing whale meat is.” He used to work on the Nisshin Maru. He described how once the whales are harpooned…then they drag them up the slope “longer than the size of this room” by their tail. He talked about the duties of ‘research’ on the Nisshin. He reenacts slicing, cutting, and dissecting depending on the types of sharp tools they have that he describes. “It really is research, we dissect it down to the bone very quickly because everyone has a role on deck.” Types of skin they deal with while they take them apart, close to 50 whale parts-example, tongue, 3 kinds of stomachs. The only thing they throw out is their blood and lungs. “I’ve tried the lungs before, and it tastes bad!” Whale head: skull sliced because the cartilage from the skull makes a great stock for soup. To him he feels: “this is not cruelty, because we are researching”….

“Now about taste.” It was never in a full sentence, but it’s as if they were admitting that it’s all about meat for consumption.

The meat is sent off to different prefectures because each prefecture cooks differently. In his view, it’s the retailer’s fault that there is a decline in the interest of consumers. “Young people now are getting farther away from eating whale, and it’s not their fault. It’s up to the businesses to keep whale meat a common meat.” He has 3 children, and he uses stories about them loving whale meat to prove that people can be shaped into liking a certain taste, a certain cuisine. There are so many ‘taste styles’ now and whale meat is avoided because it has a ‘smell’. It’s all in the flavoring. We need to teach people how to cook with whale meat depending on which part of the whale. “I will never forget how incredible the whale bacon I had on the Nisshin Maru was”. It’s in the works at the moment for him make this more public…. Use TV, magazines, newspapers etc. to show Japanese people how it can be cooked and the health benefits of whales.

Next, it was whale meat tasting time…. They brought us a bento box of whale meat. Byrde’s whale aka Tropical whale steak, fried, Sei whale sushi, minke whale fried with cheese, whale sausages, minced minke chinese seasoning, minke bacon, minke small intestines. and finally- Taiji Striped dolphin sukiyaki. “There is more if you’d like a refill”. Everything was dark brown and looked like s**t.

We sat in silence in a room full of people (about 150 or more) eating whale and dolphin…  Feeling sick and angry.

The final speech was from the man from Ginrin-kai. He had watched The Cove and wanted to see Taiji for himself. He spoke with the people there and wanted to help. He didn’t get into details, but he said “We were supposed to have some people from Taiji  here with us today, but something came up and they weren’t able to join us.”

The following pictures are of a Bento Box, Whale bacon and small intestines, and striped dolphin sukiyaki.

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And Finally… I want to repost my fathers most recent update from Taiji. Please take the time to read this… he has recordings of the dolphins being held in the captive pens.

So, finals week is next week at my community college, so I probably won’t be blogging for a little while! Thanks for all the support on my final photography project and I hope you all have a wonderful week… despite all of the horrible things I talked about in my blog today.

Far, Fast, and Deep,

Elora Malama West

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4 thoughts on “So much to cover! So get comfy!

  1. You were all phenomenal in your efforts to save these captive dolphins. And even though many died, you have helped to bring this barbaric slaughter to the world, and into reality that it is still going on after the film “The Cove” was released. Kudos to the Cove Guardians, Paul and his crew for your brave achievements!!! Thanks for keeping us posted, it is much appreciated.

    -Jennifer Maxwell

  2. The recap of this meeting is enlightening. It appears there is a long way to go to convince the Japanese that their hunts are more dangerous to our oceans than continuing an archaic tradition. Thank you Elora for your dedication to this project and for the update. Study hard. It’s worth the effort! A special thanks to your dad for all he is doing.

    God bless you and your family!
    Gina

  3. I am super jealous, you have met one of my heroes, lucky girl, though you deserve and have earned it. The beluga whales, how sad, breaks my heart. Is there a wild cetacean at all that is left alone and not slaughtered? And the whale tasting, stomach churning, to say the least, those people disgust me.

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