The waters around Taiji Cove have been stained red since the beginning of September due to Japan’s annual dolphin slaughter – and the blood continues to flow as we bear witness to a pod of 20-25 pilot whales being butchered mercilessly alongside their family members. Sea Shepherd is showing this slaughter via a livestream set to air this weekend, and although the scene will be nothing short of devastating, it’s images like these that spur people into action. A quota of 2,000 dolphins and small whales was approved for slaughter this year, and this particular pod was corralled yesterday in the cove, where they have been huddled together in terror, waiting to be butchered.

WATCH THE TAIJI COVE LIVESTREAM HERE >

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Most of the whales in this pod are being slaughtered for their meat, but the smallest babies will either be kept in captivity, or released back into the wild, alone. All dolphins and whales are fiercely intelligent, emotional beings who create strong family bonds, and those being killed will first witness their fellow family members being spiked through their spines and writhing in agony before bleeding to death. The babies that are stranded without their mothers rarely survive, often starving to death or becoming prey for much larger, stronger predators. Those destined for a life in captivity (i.e. sold to aquariums around the world as entertainment for humans) are usually in shock after their ordeal, and frequently die of depression: they refuse to eat and literally die of grief.

Taiji has made great efforts to hide this atrocity, but Sea Shepherd is covering every possible vantage point in order to show the world the horrors that are being perpetrated. It’s a repulsive, heartbreaking practice to bear witness to, but those who do witness it can help to be a force for change; to take action in order to ban these inhumane killings forever. It will be difficult to watch, but it has to be seen in order to be stopped. The Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian Livestream is expected to launch this weekend – stay tuned for updates!

+ Sea Shepherd