THE BLOG
01/28/2014 03:59 pm ET Updated Mar 30, 2014

Cruelty, Not Culture, in Japan's Dolphin Hunt

I just read, "A Veterinary and Behavioral Analysis of Dolphin Killing Methods Currently Used in the 'Drive Hunt' in Taiji, Japan," in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. And as we'll see, the "new" method creates such terror that it would be illegal to kill cows in this manner under Japanese law itself.

The Japanese in 2010 announced a "new killing method." It involves destroying the spinal cord with repeated insertion of a metal rod. Even on paper, the "new killing method" makes no attempt to damage the brain, which would at least end consciousness. In practice, the hunters splash around through the bloody water wielding their knives among the fully conscious, thrashing, squealing dolphins who are being executed among their family and friends.

Several veterinarians and behavioral scientists who watched a covertly recorded video wrote, "This killing method... would not be tolerated or permitted in any regulated slaughterhouse process in the developed world." That includes Japan, oddly enough.

Japan's own slaughter guidelines for livestock require that the creature being killed must be made to lose consciousness and be killed by methods "proven to minimize, as much as possible, any agony to the animal." But those guidelines do not apply to whale and dolphin killing, which is governed by Japan's Fisheries Agency...

READ MORE; a full version of this article appears at CNN.com under the title "How Hunters Slaughter Dolphins in Japan."