A controversial dolphin hunt which takes place in Japan every year is underway.
Fishermen in Taiji in western Japan have driven more than 200 bottlenose dolphins into a secluded bay ready to kill them or sell them into captivity.
Their death is not a quick one.
Activist, Melissa Sehgal, from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says the slaughter process is brutal.
“The process is called pithing, where they hammer a metal rod into the spinal cord of the dolphin. These dolphins do not die immediately. It takes up to 20 to 30 minutes for these dolphins to die, where they bleed out, suffocate or drown from the process of being dragged to the butcher house,” said Sehgal.
The killing has been condemned around the world.
Us Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, has even stepped in saying she is “deeply concerned” by the “inhumaneness.”
The Japanese government defends the practice, saying it is part of its culture and traditions.
“I believe dolphin fishing is one of Japan’s traditional fishing industries and is carried out appropriately in accordance to the law. Furthermore, dolphins are not within the management of the International Whaling Commission and it is left to the respective nations to manage this resource.” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
The killing is expected to start on Monday. A dead dolphin sold for meat can fetch around 450 euros.