The saga of the seven plagues of Egypt - the curse where rivers and streams turn to blood - kept trickling through my head as I stared at this shocking image from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's site. This isn't Egypt but the coastline off Taiji, one of a number of villages that make up part of the fishing community in this region of Southern Japan. The ocean has turned a gory red, awash with blood from scores of dolphins, porpoises and small whales that are herded into shallow water for slow death slaughter by spear, knife and hook.
The dolphins are caught and valued for their meat but some end up in "dolphinariums" - sadly still an industry out there, where idiots pay money to go watch these wonderful creatures do circus tricks. In Taiji, there's a dolphin slaughterhouse to process the carcasses that are hunted down over the six month "season". There have been efforts to feed the school kids dolphin and whale meat in a kind of nightmarish self justification - despite the fact that mercury levels ten times higher than that recommended by Japan's own Health Ministry have been detected in the food.
I guess part of the reason I'm aware of this shameful practice, are the media waves that professional surfer and dolphin defender Dave Rastovich have generated by holding a paddle out ceremony to commemorate these creature's needless deaths. The Save Japan's Dolphins Campaign has more on this and a link to how you can help. You can also write to the Japanese Prime Minister here and give off stink.
A footnote: I note that it is easier to contact the Prime Minister of Japan than Willie Walsh, the Chief Executive of the "Worlds Favourite Airline"...(not)