By YURI KAGEYAMA (AP) – 10 hours ago
TOKYO — The Japanese town chronicled in the award-winning film "The Cove" for its annual dolphin hunt that turns coastal waters red with blood has suspended killing the animals — at least for this week's catch — following an international outcry.
The western Japanese town of Taiji will sell some of the animals to aquariums as it does every year, but the remainder of the 100 bottlenose dolphins that were caught early Wednesday in the first catch of the season are to be released. In the past, they were killed and sold for meat.
An official at the Taiji fisheries association, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the town abhors the publicity its dolphin-killing has drawn, said Thursday that the decision was made partly in response to the international outcry created by "The Cove."
He said about 50 of the dolphins will be hand-picked for aquariums and the rest will be set free, although a time for that has not been set. In Wednesday's hunt, the fishermen also caught 50 pilot whales, which were slain and sold as meat, he said.
He said it was unclear whether the town would stop killing dolphins. He said residents wanted to avoid trouble, but did not want to cave in to activists and give up what they see as a tradition.
Ric O'Barry, 69, the star of "The Cove" and dolphin trainer for the 1960s "Flipper" TV series, welcomed the news, saying it was a sign that overseas pressure had worked and expressing hope that the town would now institute a "no-slaughter policy."
"I am elated," O'Barry, who was in Tokyo, told The Associated Press. "When I heard that, I did a backflip off the bed here." …