02/12/2013 09:31 GMT | Updated 02/12/2013 09:59 GMT

Sea Shepherd Activists Warn Over Dolphin Slaughter As Creatures Rounded Up In Taiji Cove, Japan

Conservationists have published photos showing a pod of Bottlenose dolphins forced into a Japanese cove before they are butchered.

Animal rights group, Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians, have been monitoring the regular hunts at the Taiji Cove in Japan.

The practice of dolphin drive hunting in the area is one highlighted in the 2009 film 'The Cove'.

The movie alleges hundreds of dolphins are barbarically killed under the guise of science and research when in fact huge revenues are generated by selling the meat.

Those that survive are sold into captivity.

Pictures from a hunt earlier this year showed the cove turn red with blood as a pod of Pilot Whales were slaughtered.

sea shepherd conservation society

Undercover photos revealed the shocking slaughter

Trapped with no escape, the helpless creatures were pictured clinging close to one another as they spent their remaining few hours together before being dragged to shore and butchered.

the sea shepherd conservation society

The cove turned a bright red after the slaughter of the Pilot Whales

Clare Perry, head of The Environmental Investigation Agency's Cetaceans Campaign said: "The drive hunts are phenomenally cruel.

"From the point of chasing the animals in, leaving them in the bay with no food or space and then slaughtering them in front of their family members.

"The way they are killed is not designed to do the job swiftly, but to minimise the amount of blood being let into the cove."

"This is a tragedy on so many levels."