Bay mum continues crusade against dolphin slaughter
LIZ Carter can’t quite explain how she feels about Taiji.
The Hervey Bay mum and business owner has seen some true horrors in the small town on the Japanese coast.
It is also a place that will, in her own words, forever hold a piece of her heart.
For the third time, Mrs Carter travelled to Taiji to witness the seasonal dolphin hunt.
The practice, brought to global attention by the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, results in the slaughter or capture of hundreds of dolphins and small whales each year.
Live dolphins are sold into captivity, displayed in aquariums and marine parks in parts of the world.
Australian parks like Sea World do not display any dolphins from Taiji.
Mrs Carter has made it her personal mission to keep people aware of aware of what she sees as barbaric killing in the name of tradition.
For three weeks from the start of January, she woke each day at 4.30am and was at the Taiji harbour by 6am.
She spent the rest of the day in freezing conditions and, sometimes, torrential rain, filming the hunters at work.
This time, she was one of only three Westerners filming the hunt.
In the past, large crowds gathered but since Sea Shepherd was black-listed, the numbers have dwindled.
Mrs Carter takes heart in the number of Japanese protesters rising up and described a group of them “screaming” at the hunters to stop.
She said the emotional toll witnessing the hunt had on her was nothing short of traumatic.
The sound of dolphins thrashing in the water and calling to each other will never leave her, she said.
Neither will the sight and smell of their blood as they were butchered in shallow water.
Coming home to Hervey Bay, especially during whale season, is how she heals.
She said seeing cetaceans respected and protected in the whale capital reminded her of the importance of her advocacy work.
Mrs Carter said despite the practice being brought to the attention of the world, the Taiji industry only seemed to be growing.
“Part of me thinks it’s never going to end,” she said.
“They’re rapidly expanding their dolphin pens. It almost looks like a dolphin farm.”
Despite the unfathomably confronting scenes and feelings of helplessness, Mrs Carter cries every time she leave Taiji.
She feels an unbreakable bond between her and the animals for which she so tirelessly advocates.
Taiji hunters and police can expect to see her back, camera in hand, in future years, she said.