Heroes star Hayden’s surfboard protest fails to stop dolphin bloodbath
The actress was among 30 protesters who paddled on surfboards to block mounted an extraordinary attack on Japanese fisherman during their annual dolphin massacre.
But before the Australian and American surfers could reach the dolphins, a fishing boat intervened using the boat’s propellers to block their way.
The fishermen then produced a long boathook to chase off the protesters.
The confrontation, which lasted more than 10 minutes before the surfers were forced to return to the beach, was recorded by protesters in a video.
The picturse clearly show the dolphins swimming on the other side of the boat as the protesters retreat.
Although Panettiere was lucky to escape the ordeal with her life, all she could think about was the slaughtered dolphins.
The committed dolphin campaigner told Sky News: “It was really frightening.
“Some of us were hit by the boathook. But in the end all we really worried about was the dolphins.
“It was so incredibly sad. We were so close to them and they were sky hopping, jumping out of the water to see us.”
Holding back tears, she added: “One little baby dolphin stuck his head out and kinda looked at me and the thought that it’s no longer with us is really hard to take.”
“It’s innocence being slaughtered, it’s innocence being taken away.”
“Dolphins and whales are probably one of the friendliest animals on the face of this planet.”
The surfers drove straight to Osaka airport and left the country to avoid arrest by the Japanese national police.
All would have been charged with trespass, but Panettiere is now back in Los Angeles.
More than 22,000 dolphins are killed by Japanese fishermen every year. The hunt continues despite worldwide anger.
Japan abandoned commercial whaling in 1986, but conducts what it calls “scientific research” whaling every year.
It is also pushing to restart commercial whaling.
Critics say most of the whale meat ends up in Japanese supermarkets and restaurants and that Japan rarely publishes its scientific findings.
Many people in Japan see hunting dolphins as part of the national culture which has lasted for generations.