Simone Reyes, reality star of Oxygen TV’s long-running hit series, 'Running Russell Simmons'Russell Simmons and Simone Reyes, stars of Oxygen TV’s long-running hit series, “Running Russell Simmons”
Photo: Beth Cocuzzi
Simone Reyes, reality star of Oxygen TV’s long-running hit series, “Running Russell Simmons” and devoted animal protection advocate arrived overnight in Taiji, Japan to serve as a volunteer Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian for Operation Infinite Patience.

Working as a member of Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardian team on the ground, Reyes will remain in Taiji for ten days to document and publicize the inhumane capture and slaughter of entire pods of wild dolphins, as depicted in the Academy Award-winning documentary, “The Cove” (2009). Using the power of photography and video as well as live stream, Reyes will shine a spotlight on the crimes of nature being committed against these innocent mammals who have never harmed humans and in fact have been documented to have rescued humans lost at sea.

Reyes has been entertainment mogul Russell Simmons’ right-hand woman since high school and is often affectionately referred to as the "Boss" by Simmons himself. As the breakout star of "Running Russell Simmons," she became an overnight sensation in the animal rights community.

"The atrocities that continue in Taiji at The Cove need international attention,” said Russell Simmons, Chairman of Rush Communications. “I have no doubt that Simone being there on the ground will spotlight this cause and hopefully work to bring an end to the slaughter."

The slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises, and small whales occurs in Japan each year. In Taiji, starting on September 1st and usually continuing through March of the following year, fishermen herd whole families of small cetaceans into shallow bays and mercilessly stab and drown them to death with a metal spike inserted into their blowhole to sever their spine. The killings are extremely inhumane. Death is not instantaneous for these intelligent, socially complex, large-brained mammals scientists say are among the smartest animals on the planet. The dolphins must watch their family members killed one by one until it’s their turn. They die an agonizing, barbaric death while drowning in their own blood and the blood of their family members.

Taiji’s annual slaughter of dolphins was virtually unknown until 2003 when Sea Shepherd globally released covertly obtained footage and photographs of the now infamous bloody “Cove.” To date, public outcry to the Japanese government to stop this cruelty has fallen on deaf ears, but by documenting the slaughter and raising awareness via video, photographs, blogs and in the media, Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians hope to unite the world to bring an end to one of the cruelest hunts on Earth.

So far this season, nine pods of dolphins (pilot whales are part of the dolphin family) have been driven into the Cove in Taiji. From those pods, 46 animals have been taken captive for sale to marine parks and swim-with-dolphin encounters, 91 have been slaughtered for human consumption, and 7 bodies have been found washed ashore due to the stress of the hunts and captures. Earlier this week in Taiji, Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians documented the capture of a large pod of bottlenose dolphins — the species made famous by the popular ‘60s TV show, “Flipper.” After being held overnight in a tiny cove, trainers selected 12 of the dolphins for captivity and the rest were slaughtered for human consumption. Our volunteers witnessed trainers working hand-in-hand with the killers to select the “most beautiful” (i.e., saleable) dolphins for captivity. The Cove Guardians even captured video of a female trainer helping to deliver the dead bodies of dolphins to the butcher house. This is simply more evidence that the Taiji dolphin slaughter and the captive marine mammal industry are inextricably linked.

“We are honored and excited to welcome Simone to the Cove Guardian team,” said Melissa Sehgal, Cove Guardian Senior Leader. “She is a powerful and devoted voice for animals and we know her passion and presence will illuminate the ongoing atrocities in Taiji for all the world to see,” Sehgal added.

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