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Parliamentary questions
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14 October 2009
by Cristiana Muscardini (PPE)
to the Commission

 Subject: Slaughter of dolphins in Tajii
 Answer in writing 

Every year in Tajii, one of the most protected and well-hidden coves in the Japanese archipelago, far from indiscreet eyes, thousands of dolphins are massacred, as documented for the first time in the film ‘The Cove’. The dolphins are forced to enter the bay — which is arbitrarily closed off to outsiders by barbed-wire fences within a protected marine park — to escape from the painfully deafening sound of fishermen endlessly striking the keels of hundreds of boats; the dolphins then remain trapped in the nets spread between the two ends of the cove. The most attractive and healthy specimens are then loaded onto vessels which send them around the world, to supply a highly flourishing business. All the others, once they have been harpooned and stabbed in the throat, end up on the tables of the Japanese; this is a hazardous custom, however, as dolphin meat contains dangerously high levels of mercury. Some samples of meat sold in supermarkets has shown levels of methylmercury 20 times higher than the maximum limit of 0.04 set by the Japanese authorities, whilst fins, skin and leftover scraps of meat are used to fill cans of dog and cat food.

Can the Commission therefore answer the following questions:

1. Is it aware of this annual massacre?
2. Is it able to affirm that such products do not reach Europe?
3. Is it possible to take action — in respect of whom? — to prevent such massacres from happening?
4. Can the animal protection directives be used to prevent the importation of this product into Europe?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 10 E, 14/01/2011
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