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The annual dolphin hunt in the Japanese town of Taiji began in September. By next March, despite global condemnation and mounting criticism from Japan's own citizens, approximately 1,500 dolphins will have been herded into a narrow cove and stabbed to death.Taiji is not the only place where dolphins are hunted. The largest hunts, however, take place in Japan, where commercial fishers regard dolphins as pests, because they eat commercially valuable fish.It is estimated that in the past 70 years, more than 1 million whales, dolphins and porpoises have been killed in Japanese waters.Attempts to argue that the Taiji dolphin hunt is contrary to international law have so far been unsuccessful. For these reasons, Action for Dolphins, an Australian nonprofit organization, and Life Investigation Agency, a Japanese charity, are now trying a new strategy: legal action in Japan itself. They will argue that the dolphin hunts violate Japan's own animal protection legislation. If dolphins are recognized as worthy of protection under Japan's animal welfare laws, the horror of the type of hunt now occurring in Taiji will have to end. That would be a significant advance for dolphins in Japan, but it should not be the end of our concern about the killing of dolphins.
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