Please don't eat me! I taste gross, I swear.
Susan E. Adams
Please don’t eat me! I taste gross, I swear.

Remember that documentary The Cove, about dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan? Well, get ready to be upset times seven:

[S]ome 500 miles to the north [of the cove at Taiji], in Iwate Prefecture, an annual slaughter of a beautiful species called Dall’s porpoise has been taking place in numbers that dwarf anything found at the cove.

Specifically, SEVEN TIMES as many porpoises were harpooned at Iwate in the 2009-2010 season — more than 9,000 — compared to the number of dolphins and whales killed in Taiji’s cove. (This season, Iwate hunters only killed 1,200 porpoises, because the 2011 tsunami damaged coastal cities and hunting boats. But the numbers are creeping back up.)

So why aren’t people pissed? The porpoise slaughter happens out at sea, rather than in a cove, so it’s harder to observe (or make films of), and apparently it’s not as graphic as the dolphin and whale hunt at Taiji. But people are starting to pay attention. And groups like Sea Shepherd and Save Japan Dolphins have been documenting the porpoise hunt since 2011.

At least the porpoises aren’t forced to perform:

[At Iwate, unlike Taiji,] no animals are taken alive and sold for tremendous profit to aquariums and theme parks. Porpoises are not as trainable, sleek and acrobatic as dolphins, and relatively few have been put on display over the years.

Translation: Porpoises everywhere said, “Don’t you try your Jedi mind tricks on us.”