Welfare Issues Associated with Small Toothed Whale Hunts: An Example, the ‘Drive Hunt’ in Taiji, Japan

Andrew Butterworth, Diana Reiss, Philippa Brakes, Courtney S. Vail

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Abstract

In this chapter, we discuss in detail an example of a small toothed whale hunt, with the aim of illustrating the methods used and the welfare questions that can arise in these cetacean hunts. Annually in Japanese waters, small cetaceans are killed in drive hunts with quotas set by the government of Japan. The Taiji Fishing Cooperative in Japan has published the details of a new killing method utilized in these specific hunts that involves cutting (transecting) the spinal cord. Reports claim that this method reduces the time to death. The method involves the repeated insertion of a metal rod followed by the plugging of the wound to prevent blood loss into the water. This method does not appear to lead to an immediate death. The method employed causes damage to the vertebral blood vessels and the vascular rete from insertion of the rod and leads to significant haemorrhage, but this damage alone would not produce a rapid death in a large mammal of this type. The method induces paraplegia (paralysis of the body) and death through trauma and gradual blood loss. We discuss in this chapter how this killing method compares to the recognized requirement for ‘immediate insensibility’ adopted in killing procedures utilized or considered acceptable in slaughter of farmed animals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarine Mammal Welfare
Subtitle of host publicationHuman Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Pages91-110
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319469942
ISBN (Print)9783319469935
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameAnimal Welfare
PublisherSpringer
Volume17
ISSN (Print)1572-7408

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  • Cite this

    Butterworth, A., Reiss, D., Brakes, P., & Vail, C. S. (2017). Welfare Issues Associated with Small Toothed Whale Hunts: An Example, the ‘Drive Hunt’ in Taiji, Japan. In Marine Mammal Welfare: Human Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare (pp. 91-110). (Animal Welfare; Vol. 17). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2_6