03 noviembre 2007
Thousands of dolphins have been slaughtered near Taiji, a port city in Japan's infamous highly secret dolphin drive.
And local environment groups say Kiwis who visit aquariums overseas also have blood on their hands.
However Japanese fishermen defend their right to kill dolphins en masse, herding thousands into a cove and then bludgeoning them to death in a tradition well over 400 years old.
Even Hollywood stars have waded into the debate, swimming out to confront the net setters.
"This baby stuck its head out and kind of looked at us, and the thought that that baby is no longer with us..." says US TV star Hayden Panettiere.
The hunt provides Japanese markets with dolphin meat, but much more lucrative is the supply to the world's aquariums with the cutest and rarest species fetching top dollar.
The Japanese have been eating dolphin and whale for centuries and some Kiwi punters are open minded about it.
"I'll try a bit of dolphin if it tastes good," says one member of the public.
But others are not as game.
"I'd hate to think that they'd be killed so I can eat them," one person said.
The top secret dolphin hunts aren't covered by the international ban on whale killing and however much international condemnation it brings the Japanese fishermen yet again are defending their act in the name of culture.
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Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries