By Kirsten Massebeau
A rare albino dolphin ripped from it’s mothers side has brought worldwide attention to the cruel dolphin drives that continue to take place off the coast of Japan in the town of Taiji. The ISANA Fisherman’s Union a small group of dolphin hunters are given a yearly quota for drive fisheries. The quota for bottlenose dolphins in the 2013/2014 season is 577. Prior to this drive of 250 plus bottlenose dolphins the dolphin hunters had already taken 71 for aquariums, releasing 160 for next year, and slaughtering 87 for fertilizer (Source)
In her article “A Japanese Plea for Help“, Leah gives dolphin supporters ways take action and publishes an open letter that was sent to Doctor Gerald Dick, Executive Director of Worlds Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) on January 17, 2014. An excerpt from the letter:
“In fact, the history of dolphin hunting in Taiji is short. According to “The History of Taiji,” edited and published by Taiji town in 1979, the first recorded dolphin drive was in 1933, with subsequent hunts occurring in 1936 and 1944. It was not until 1969 that dolphin drives have been conducted on a large scale. The history of the dolphin drives spans not so-called 400 years, but a mere 45. Furthermore, in 1969, the main goal of the dolphin drive was to capture pilot whales as prized showpieces for the Taiji Whale Museum. In other words, the dolphin drive was purely for profit, having nothing to do with cultural history. Since 1969 a close relationship began building between the drive hunt and aquaria as financial activities”.(Source)
. In 2010, WAZA made it clear that they supported, and were working with Taiji drive fisheries calling the capture and slaughter a transitional approach. (Source)
“Considering WAZA’s Code of Ethics, we believe that even culture and long history should not be acceptable reasons to inflict pain and agony on wild animals. Though you replied that “WAZA member facilities place animal welfare at the forefront of all animal acquisitions,” JAZA still allows its members to acquire dolphins from extremely cruel drive hunts, and, as we wrote you in previous petition, the number of dolphins caught using these unethical capture methods has only been increasing”.(Source)
In a statement issued at the beginning of the dolphin drive season 2013 WAZA seems to try and distance themselves from the dolphin suffering in “The Cove” yet have such a close relationship with their Japanese regional Association, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) who openly work with drive fisheries to obtain dolphins for aquariums and marine parks worldwide. Ironically JAZA, a supporter of the capture and slaughter in The Cove is on WAZA’s Animal Welfare Committee.
Who could stop this? According to Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin Project, WAZA and JAZA have the power:
“A member of JAZA is the notorious Taiji Whale Museum. Dr. Dick and WAZA meanwhile have a policy statement on their website which is an excellent example of obfuscation, denial, and finger-pointing, in very polite language, to avoid the reality that JAZA member aquariums and other WAZA member aquariums subsidize the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji by buying live-caught wild dolphins from the dolphin killers at an outrageous price.
WAZA’s “inaction” seems clearly in conflict which their own mission statement which emphasizes conservation and sustainability.(Source)
What can you do? Sign the petition demanding the Taiji Whale Museum: Release the baby albino dolphin back into the ocean HERE
Follow this link to the ongoing event to help dolphins, and join the event demanding WAZA, JAZA, IMATA and the entire captive industry put an end to the cruel capture of dolphins that continues today in Taiji, Japan!
Champions for Cetaceans will be updating with the final heartbreaking results at the end of the capture and slaughter of the 200 plus pod still awaiting their final fate in The Cove!
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