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SURFERS RETURN TO TAIJI AND EXPOSE PILOT WHALE SLAUGHTER
by SSCS repo
Monday Oct 29th, 2007 10:25 PM
OSAKA - Less than 24 hours after professional surfer and Sea Shepherd supporter Dave Rastovich led an international group of surfers, celebrities, and musicians on a peaceful paddle-out ceremony to honor the spirits of the over 25,000 dolphins killed each year in Japan, the fishermen in the tiny village of Taiji resumed the slaughter that had been delayed by the increased worldwide media attention drawn by the group’s arrival in late October.


Photo credits: Peter Carrette / Icon Images / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
taiji-pilot-whale-slaughter.jpg
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 29, 2007

SURFERS RETURN TO TAIJI AND EXPOSE PILOT WHALE SLAUGHTER

OSAKA - Less than 24 hours after professional surfer and Sea Shepherd supporter Dave Rastovich led an international group of surfers, celebrities, and musicians on a peaceful paddle-out ceremony to honor the spirits of the over 25,000 dolphins killed each year in Japan, the fishermen in the tiny village of Taiji resumed the slaughter that had been delayed by the increased worldwide media attention drawn by the group’s arrival in late October.

In response, this group, decided in solidarity to make a pre-dawn return to the killing cove to recreate the ceremony, albeit smaller, within a stone’s throw of the captive pilot whales, paddling through waters stained red with blood.

“The reason we surfers were there was to share the water, stained red with blood, at eye-level, with our ocean kin awaiting their execution,” said a dripping, visibly shaken Rastovich just after paddling in. “Despite the fishermen taking great pains to hide their acts of cruelty, we seized this as an opportunity to bring this travesty to the world’s attention.”

Area fishermen, who kill dolphins and whales for their meat, netted off the bay and constructed green tarps to shield the slaughter from prying eyes and front-line cetacean activists bent on shutting down the dolphin trade forever. When the surfers learned of over 30 pilot whales, including calves, being herded into the narrow rocky cove at Taiji, they did not hesitate to return despite the distinct possibility of violent resistance and police arrest.

Rastovich and his core team of surfers trailed by camera crews arrived at the infamous Taiji cove to paddle out to the captured pilot whales. After crossing the netted enclosure they quickly arrived alongside the whales who swam back and forth along the edge of the seaward net.

The six paddlers, including Rastovich, his wife Hannah, Heroes star Hayden Panettiere, Australian actress Isabel Lucas, author Peter Heller and professional surfer Karina Petroni, formed a traditional surfers’ memorial circle sited between the whales and the blood-ridden shallows. Local fishermen converged almost immediately, harassing the paddlers with yelled threats and brandishing whirling propeller blades. At times, the irate fishermen, who yelled “Why are you here?!”, “Go Home!” while using a long wooden pole to intimidate the surfers.

“Even though the fishermen used force to try and break us up we held our peaceful circle,” said model Hannah Rastovich.

With tensions escalating and the police sirens growing, the surfers quickly paddled back to shore where Hayden Panettiere fell to her knees overwhelmed by the carnage she and the group had just witnessed. “I couldn’t believe how red the water was,” said Panettiere. “The whales were so scared. Hopefully their deaths won’t be in vain.”

After a long journey enroute to Osaka, 30 policemen readied with a paddy wagon stopped the three-van convoy at the border of the Wakayama prefecture. After checking passports and questioning the group intently, police waved the crew on their way.

Reflecting on the day’s experience, a somber Isabel Lucas said, “The worst part is that whales are probably all dead by now. We couldn’t save these whales but hopefully shining the light on their deaths will save others.”

###

For photos and video:
http://media.seashepherd.org

Surfers For Cetaceans
http://www.surfersforcetaceans.com

Save the Whales Again
http://www.savethewhalesagain.com

Save Japan Dolphins
http://www.SaveJapanDolphins.org

Minds In the Water Visual Petition
http://www.mindsinthewater.com



Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
http://www.seashepherd.org

About Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an International non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations. Founder and President Captain Paul Watson, also a co-founder of Greenpeace Foundation, is a renowned, respected leader in environmental issues.
§Surfers Return to Taiji and Expose Pilot Whale Slaughter
by SSCS repo Monday Oct 29th, 2007 10:25 PM
surfers-expose-taiji-pilot-.jpg
Surfers take to the water as pilot whales are being killed.
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whale-loverVivienneThursday Nov 1st, 2007 2:36 PM

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