Panettiere looks to be dolphin hero in Japan
EmptyTOKYO -- Hayden Panettiere and some fellow animal rights activists drew angry shouts and some shoving from fishermen in Japan when they tried to interfere with a dolphin hunt, according to video footage shot by the protesters.
The six activists from the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd paddled out on surfboards to a cove in the town of Taiji in southwestern Japan on Tuesday to interfere with the annual hunt.
Fishermen on a boat approached the activists and ordered them to leave, shoving some of them with a long pole. An angry fisherman later shouted in the face of one of the protesters on the road above the cove. There did not appear to be any injuries.
"This baby stuck its head out and kind of looked as us, and the thought that the baby is no longer with us is very difficult," Panettiere, who stars in the NBC drama "Heroes," said after coming ashore.
The local fishermen and their supporters say hunting dolphins -- in this case, pilot whales -- is a Japanese custom that outsiders have no business interfering with.
"Whales and dolphins are traditionally being used (as resources) in Japan," said Hideki Moronuki, chief of the whaling section at the Japanese Fisheries Agency. "In this light, we cannot accept an argument simply based on emotional causes."
About 14,000 dolphins are killed for food in Japan every year.
Coastal dolphin hunts usually involve herding groups of the animals into a cove using sonar equipment, or by banging metal rods in the water, creating a sort of acoustic barrier. The mammals are then trapped using nets and divers are sent in to kill them.