By Captain Paul Watson
31 August 2016
(Huffington Post) – Since 2009, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been on the ground in Taiji, Japan, documenting and bringing to light the atrocious dolphin drive hunt taking place from September to March.
Originally dubbed Operation Infinite Patience, this Sea Shepherd campaign has volunteers on the ground enduring constant police harassment and surveillance, physical threats and criticism, all while suffering personal trauma from witnessing the brutal slaughter.
These volunteers are known as Cove Guardians. They come from all over the world, at their own expense, to bring attention to this dolphin drive — a drive which sees cetaceans being killed, molested, torn apart from their families, and transported to life sentences in aquatic prisons called marine parks where they are forced to perform tricks for tourists.
In recent days, there has been a great deal of speculation on social media about Sea Shepherd “abandoning” Taiji and shutting down the Cove Guardian program. That is wrong. Sea Shepherd has not abandoned any of its campaigns and we remain true to our policy of never giving up until we achieve our goals. We have Infinite Patience!
For the naysayers, there was never any question of not being in Taiji. We even have a film crew already scheduled to be there. Our challenge this year is how to proceed with the Cove Guardian strategy in light of the fact that all veterans, including Cove Guardian leaders, have been denied entry to Japan. These logistical obstacles are not to be misconstrued as Sea Shepherd quitting Taiji.
I began the Taiji campaign in 2003 when I sent Sea Shepherd crew member and photographer, Brooke MacDonald there to get the first images shown to the world. This was before the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove, before the Dolphin Project and before anyone even knew about this slaughter.
Brooke’s pictures and video remain the best images, for the simple reason she did not encounter any obstacles in taking those pictures. For 13 years we have been on the forefront of the Taiji campaigns. We are the only group to have actually released dolphins when 16 pilot whales were freed after we cut nets and two Sea Shepherd crew members spent a month in jail for doing it. [more]