horror on the beach in Nuoro

The corpse of a dolphin without back muscles was found on a beach in the Nuoro area. He was killed to make a dish called mosquiame.

Two bottlenose dolphins photographed in Sardinia. Credit: SEAME Sardinia / Luca Bittau

bottlenose dolphin specimen (Tursiops truncated) was shot and butchered in Sardinia. The corpse of the unfortunate cetacean was found washed ashore in Caletta di Siniscola, a seaside resort about fifty kilometers from Nuoro. The news was broadcast on the Facebook page of the Dumari Veterinary Clinic in Oristano and was revived by SEAME Sardinia, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and protection of these wonderful animals.

To make this barbarism particularly horrendous and odious, the criminals target bottlenose dolphin meat, which is to be turned into an illegal dish sold clandestinely at exorbitant prices: mosciame dolphin (or musciame/musciamme). In the legal version, it is a product consisting of fish fillets, such as tuna, dried and preserved in oil, served in thin slices. But there is, unfortunately, a forbidden cetacean-based variant sold in black by unscrupulous restaurateurs to cater to the deviant culinary needs of some wealthy and cruel clientele.

Credit: Andrea Centini

The dolphin’s carcass, the Dumari Clinic explains, was stripped of all back muscles, leaving the animal’s spine uncovered, “indicative of its nature as a marine mammal so much like us.” In the photo posted on the social network, we see only the head of the animal, because everything else is “invisible”, clarifies the clinic, which has also been treating sea turtles and marine mammals for many years. The veterinarians decided to spread the news to the biologists of Cres and the management of the Sinis Marine Protected Area because everyone should be aware of this mess.

Credit: SEAME Sardinia / Luca Bittau

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that bottlenose dolphin carcasses have been found cut into pieces, as well as animals killed or injured by fishing rods driven into their bodies, probably still caught on the fly or for “fun”. SEAME Sardinia recalls, for example, a baby dolphin found in Golfo Aranci in 2014 and an adult that was harpooned and mauled in 2016. And all this despite the fact that cetaceans are strictly protected by national and international laws that expressly prohibit the capture, possession, transportation and trade of cetaceans or their parts. Those who commit these crimes violate the criminal code and can be arrested and fined very large sums. Removing a tooth from a dolphin corpse found on a beach is also a crime. And the same goes for eating his meat.

However, in addition to breaking the law, our conscience must keep us from harming these wonderful social animals with primate-like intelligence. Showing low intelligence – as well as cruelty – are instead those who feed on cetacean meat, which is rich in toxic substances due to a process called biological growth that tends to accumulate them in tissues along the food chain.

The most important and well-known effect is the action of mercury (more precisely, methylmercury), which can cause real poisoning and neurological damage: the infamous Minamata disease. A study conducted in Japan by Professor Tetsuya Endo found that the meat of dolphins harvested and killed for food contains ten times more methylmercury than is considered normal. For this reason, Japanese schools have decided to remove dolphin meat from canteens, although the slaughter of these animals for food continues unabated, especially in Taiji. In Italy, of course, only the irresponsible in search of the hated forbidden foods are in danger.

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