WATCH: Tourists Play With Dolphins Before Japan's Annual Slaughter Begins
Tourists enjoy frolicking with friendly dolphins at sea in a new video, a stark contrast to the widespread slaughter of the animal that happens annually during hunting season in Taiji, Japan. This year's six-month hunting season starts in about two weeks.
According to a report from RT, Japan is notorious for dolphin slaughter from September to March every year. Fisherman hunters sever the spines of the dolphins with spikes so they are unable to move and easily killed. The waters of Taiji, Japan run red each year because of the huntings.
The practice gained international attention when the Academy Award winning documentary film, "The Cove" was released in 2009, where the huntings were filmed covertly and shown in action. It prompted protests worldwide and star of the film, Ric O'Barry, was detained and deported earlier this year from Japan for allegedly trying to enter the country with a tourist visa to witness the slaughter.
"I'm incarcerated, on trumped-up charges," O'Barry wrote to his son, a report from The Guardian revealed. "In a world where so much that is wild and free has already been lost to us, we must leave these beautiful dolphins free to swim as they will and must."
Recently, activists continued protesting the practice in a rally outside the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C, according to a report from Inquisitr.
Although dolphin hunting continues in Japan, the report from RT revealed that the numbers of killings have been decreasing over the past few years. The 2015-2016 hunting season saw 652 dolphins killed, down from the last season's (2014-2015) 750. A decade ago, these numbers were doubled with 1,600 dead dolphins by the end of the season.
Locals and the Japanese government defend dolphin hunting, saying it provides significant income to the fishermen and is a part of national culture.