For once a Hollywood star gets it right. Use your star power to raise awareness for important topics other than custody battles and who’s wearing what on the red carpet. “Heroes” star Hayden Panettiere has a warrant out for her arrest in Japan. Is she afraid? Nope. She’s proud.

Hayden Panettiere

The actress and activist told E! News that she was not worried about the warrant. “I’d do it again,” she said. “I was very excited that people were interested in what we did,” she said. “In [Hollywood], you tend to only get publicity for not wearing underwear or going to rehab.” Hooray for Hayden and the other brave activists who brought attention to the brutal slaughter of dolphins in Taiji.

Here’s the rest of the story:

Release date: 29-10-2007
Source: Dave Rastovich, Hayden Panettiere and Other Real-Life Heroes Make A Daring Pre-dawn Mission Back to Japanese Dolphin Killing Cove

TOKYO – Less than 24 hours after professional surfer Dave Rastovich led an international group of over 30 surfers, celebrities, and musicians on a peaceful paddle-out ceremony to honor the more than 25,000 dolphins killed each year in Japan, fishermen in the tiny village of Taiji resumed the slaughter that had been delayed by the increased worldwide media attention.

In response, the surfers decided in solidarity to make a pre-dawn return to the killing cove to recreate the ceremony, albeit with fewer people to evade detection. Rastovich and the others paddled within a stone’s throw of a pod of captive pilot whales and their calves that had been herded into the cove for early morning slaughter.

“The reason we surfers were there was to share the blood-stained waters at eye-level with our ocean kin awaiting their execution,” said a dripping, visibly shaken Rastovich just after paddling in. “Despite the fishermen taking great pains to hide their acts of cruelty, we seized an opportunity to bring this travesty to the world’s attention.”

Taiji-area fishermen, who kill dolphins and whales for their meat, netted off the bay and constructed green tarps to shield the slaughter from prying eyes and front-line cetacean activists bent on shutting down the dolphin trade forever. When the surfers learned of the imminent slaughter, they did not hesitate to return despite the distinct possibility of violent resistance and police arrest.

Rastovich and his core team of surfers trailed by camera crews arrived at the infamous Taiji cove to paddle out to the captured pilot whales. After entering the water they quickly arrived alongside the whales who swam back and forth along the edge of the seaward net.

The six paddlers, including Rastovich, his wife mermaid model Hannah Fraser, Heroes TV star Hayden Panettiere, Australian actress Isabel Lucas, author Peter Heller and professional surfer Karina Petroni, formed a traditional surfers’ memorial circle situated between the whales and the blood-ridden shallows.

Local fishermen converged almost immediately, harassing the paddlers with yelled threats and advancing on them with whirling propeller blades. The irate fishermen, who yelled “Why are you here? Go Home!” then used a long wooden pole to attack and intimidate the surfers.

“Even though the fishermen used force to try and break us up we held our peaceful stance. The feeling in the circle was of incredible strength” said mermaid model Hannah Fraser.

With tensions escalating and the police sirens growing, the surfers quickly paddled back to shore where a distraught Hayden Panettiere fell to her knees sobbing, overwhelmed by the carnage she and the group had just witnessed.

“I couldn’t believe how red the water was,” said Panettiere. “The whales were so scared. Hopefully their deaths won’t be in vain.”

After hightailing it out of Taiji, 30 policemen readied with a paddy wagon stopped the three-van convoy at the border of the Wakayama prefecture. After politely checking passports and questioning the group intently, the police waved the crew on their way.

Rastovich expressed extreme sorrow, saying “With many nets and kill boats waiting beyond the cove, the fishermen’s intense desire to kill left no room for escape.”

Reflecting on the day’s experience, a somber Isabel Lucas expressed that the worst part was that the whales are probably all dead by now. “We couldn’t save these whales but hopefully shining the light on their deaths will save others.” Event organizer, Dave Rastovich of the international organization, Surfers for Cetaceans asked the participants to pray for the hundreds of thousands of dead dolphins which were killed in the most brutal way imaginable in this very cove. The surfers each carried a flower into the killing cove to offer up to the departed dolphins.

Hayden Panettiere, actress, said she could feel the spirits of the dolphins that have been driven into the killing cove for the last 400 hundred years. USA women’s champion surfer, Karina Petroni said the paddle out was one of the most important events of her life. Japanese surfers also participated in the ritual alongside the Westerners.

The next day, helped by Ric O’Barry, several surfers, including David, Hayden and Karina, paddled out towards a group of pilot whales that had been trapped in nets and were slated for slaughter. But, in a dramatic incident caught on camera, dolphin killers confronted the surfers, pushing them back using the dangerous prop of their outboard motor and boat hooks. The footage of Hayden crying on the beach, knowing the pilot whales were doomed, shows the brutality and the unbelievable cruelty of this hunt to the world. It is strong stuff!


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