BBC to Air Wishy-Washy PC Piece on Taiji

Commentary by Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Usually the BBC can be counted on to be sympathetic or at least objective to those of us who oppose the slaughter of animals.

But occasionally, some politically correct, anthropocentric reporter is assigned to cover an issue, and the result will be the piece which will air on the BBC on Tuesday night November 9, 2004 at 1930 GMT.

The feature is called the Dolphin Hunters.

It claims to be an objective coverage of the Taiji dolphin slaughter in Japan. Yet there is not one mention of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society or any reference at all to the actions that Sea Shepherd crewmembers have taken to expose and intervene against this horrific slaughter.

Last year, Sea Shepherd brought this dolphin massacre to the international media with film and photographs of the Taiji Bay running red with blood. Last year Sea Shepherd crew spent months in Taiji, and two crew were arrested for freeing dolphins from the nets to prevent them from being slaughtered.

None of this will be mentioned in the BBC report.

Director, producer and reporter Paul Kenyon in an article written for BBC News describes sitting down in a sushi bar and eating dolphin meat.  "The locals jab at it, and slurp it down with the local beer. It is one of their favourite foods, cheaper than whale, and more flavoursome. It looks like tuna, but black. After some prodding, I swallowed a single piece... and won a little trust."

Kenyon then goes on to make comments like, "But, the dolphin hunters surprised me. They were not the callous animal rights abusers I had been led to expect. They were dignified and philosophical about their trade."

Amazing. These are the people who block cameras from the media to prevent the public from witnessing the atrocities they commit, and Kenyon calls them dignified. These are the people who have beaten dolphin protectors, ran over a woman with a boat who was trying to free a dolphin, and Kenyon calls them philosophical.

The footage of Allison Lance Watson being run down with a boat by Taiji fishermen will not appear in the BBC feature because that might contradict Kenyon's attitude that the killers of Taiji are "dignified."

Kenyon then reports, "They wonder how we would feel if a group of Japanese turned up each year in the English countryside to picket a fox hunt."

I can answer that question. People in Britain who oppose the fox hunt would be thrilled and supportive if a group of Japanese showed up to protest the fox hunt.

Kenyon is quite apparently biased in his support for the dolphin killers of Taiji. We need to let the BBC know that this presentation on the dolphin killers is biased and unacceptable. There is never any justification for the mass slaughter of wild animals. This hunt is horrifically cruel, a threat to the species and must be ended. The BBC should be contributing towards ending this annual massacre of dolphins - not justifying it with words like "traditional."

It was traditional for the Japanese to behead prisoners, including British prisoners, only a half century ago. It is part of Japanese tradition to enslave Korean women as prostitutes. Tradition is not an excuse for killing and cruelty.

Kenyon admits that hunting dolphins has nearly wiped them out at Futo, Japan, but adds that there are still plenty of dolphins at Taiji and only "outsiders" oppose the killing.   

It appears that Kenyon likes his sushi and is enamored with Japanese culture and could not care a fig about the dolphins or our efforts to protect them.  It is a disgrace that the BBC will give a forum to a man like this to justify such barbarous cruelty in the name of culture and tradition.

The BBC will argue that we have not seen the piece and it is unfair to comment. However, we do know that there is no mention of Sea Shepherd's efforts to stop the hunt and the comments by Kenyon in the BBC News speak for themselves. We have enough information to know that this is a biased report and sympathetic to the killers of Taiji.

We need to demand that the BBC give equal time to the dolphins.

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