Newsweek Engulfed In Social Media Backlash on Eve of Historic WAZA Dolphin Protest


 

By Kirsten Massebeau

A Newsweek article entitled “A Social Media Storm Descends on Taiji, the Japanese Town at the Center of a Dolphin Slaughter” is on the cover of Newsweek. The cover image depicts a red wave with blue birds flying towards the heavens. The cover states, “Twitter Tsunami, A Japanese Fishing Village Unleashes a Social Media Storm”. Newly resurrected Newsweek author Bill Powell comes on strong painting a romantic picture of a small “fishing village”. He calls the hunt tradition despite the recently revealed information that the dolphin drive began in 1969. Through-out Bill Powell’s Newsweek article he describes the experiences of a “slight elderly woman” who does not understand why dolphin advocates are coming from around the world to speak out for the dolphins captured and slaughtered in “The Cove“. The real truth is hunters and dolphin trainers work side by side sorting through dolphin pods, selecting the juveniles, and slaughtering their parents, the injured, and unwanted by aquariums using a technique called pithing that can be viewed here.

Powell cleverly vilifies the social media movement portraying the dolphin hunters as a group of quiet “fisherman” plagued by the cruel outside world. He uses the word “tsunami” bringing up painful memories for the Japanese people, connecting the term to social media. He continues using the “elderly woman’s” impressions making the hunters and captive industry seem helpless victims of a modern world:

“She also knows that Caroline Kennedy, the high-profile U.S. ambassador to Japan, helped fuel the global outrage with a tweet on January 17, 2014, saying “she was deeply concerned by the “inhumane-ness” of the hunt”. But Isoda, like most members of the local fishing families, is unapologetic-and quietly bitter over how her little fishing village has been vilified by celebrities and civilians all over the world.”

The global anger generated by the annual dolphin drive is the latest example of how social activism is being transformed by technology”.(source)

Angel was the first dolphin removed from the pod. It was rumored that her mother  committed an act of suicide when Angel was ripped from her side. Whether she committed suicide, was slaughtered, or driven back out to sea will never be known. Powell foolishly quotes a dolphin hunter calling albino-ism and illness when in fact it occurs in many species including humans. In addition to claiming a wild albino dolphin who has the protection of her mother, a deep ocean, and a mega pod is better off in a shallow pool with strangers demonstrates his skewed source.

“A local official in Taiji denies that albinos can fetch such an exorbitant price. They’re white “because of disease,” he adds, and thus are actually more likely to survive longer in captivity than in the ocean”.(source)

The above video is Angel being bullied at the Taiji Whale Museum in a cramped tank.

Despite Bill Powell, and Newsweek’s attempt to throw up a smokescreen for Taiji the truth has surfaced and is not going away. When a mega pod of bottlenose dolphins was pushed into the cove this January the world would watch day after day as the juveniles were taken captive and their parents then slaughtered for fertilizer:

“A wild dolphin caught in Taiji, for example, will sell for around $500-600 US for its meat. But a live trained dolphin will sell on the international market for as much as $150,000 US. The huge prices offered by JAZA and WAZA member aquariums for live dolphins sustain the brutal Taiji killing of hundreds of dolphins each year, which would likely collapse without the aquarium trade”.(source) In addition, the meat is toxic and unfit for human consumption despite Bill Powell’s claims!

It seems Newsweek’s Bill Powell has unleashed his own social media backlash as comments of outrage continue to load into the article. Newsweek cannot delete the angry comments of the masses quickly enough, stating their Newsweek subscriptions will be cancelled, calling Newsweek irresponsible, and corrupt.

The release of Bill Powell’s skewed article seems almost strategically released by Newsweek on the eve of a historic event. On March 28, 2014, only hours away, demonstrators will convene at the headquarters of The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) demanding they sever their ties with The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) whose members, specifically the Taiji Whale Museum are trafficking blood dolphins to aquariums worldwide:

“Ric O’Barry, Director of Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, will attend a demonstration in front of the offices of WAZA in Gland, Switzerland. O’Barry and members of the environmental coalition are expected to be received by WAZA Director, Dr. Gerald Dick, and his lawyer in front of the media, where the environmental coalition will demand the organization expel their “Association Member” Japan Association of Zoos & Aquariums (JAZA), over violations of the WAZA Code of Ethics & Animal Welfare in relation to the brutal Taiji dolphin drive hunts in Japan, fueled and financed by the international dolphin captivity industry, including JAZA and WAZA member aquariums.

Joining Ric O’Barry, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Cetacean Society International and the Swiss nonprofit OceanCare, is Sakae Hemmi of ELSA Nature Conservancy of Japan and one of the first persons to film and publicize the slaughters, along with numerous activists dressed up for the occasion. Ms. Hemmi and Elsa recently pleaded with WAZA Director Dick, in a series of letters from Japan, to stop the subsidizing of the dolphin hunts by aquariums that are members of JAZA and WAZA”.(source)

 Join the event in Switzerland or join us on social media as we move together as one voice sending out a Thunderclap for dolphins, highly intelligent beings, citizens of the ocean, that are being captured and slaughtered in The Cove. All the Bill Powell’s of the world cannot stop the terrible truth of the modern day dolphin horror taking place in Taiji, a dolphins worst nightmare. We are not a social media “tsunami”, we are the light that is shining brighter and brighter as the dark truth about what goes on in the cove is exposed to world in an attempt to end the dolphin death and suffering.

On March 31, 2014 Louie Psiyhoyas director of the academy award winning film has come out in defense of dolphins condemning the slanted article by Newsweek glorifying and romanticizing the brutal slaughter and capture of dolphins for marine parks in Taiji Japan:

[Editor's Note: The following is a response from Louie Psihoyos, Director of The Cove, to a March 27 Newsweek story by Bill Powell.]

I usually don’t respond to our few detractors, but the recent article in Newsweek seemed deserving because the misinformation it contained might be believed. Mr. Powell’s article contains false equivalence and journalistic cowardice that insists that every story must have two sides. It’s also devoid of basic fact checking.

I hope to set the record straight by clarifying a few of the article’s claims, and by releasing unedited footage from The Cove that has never been seen before, so that the public can determine for themselves that none of the footage we used was doctored.

“Mistrust of the filmmakers and anti-hunt activists is so intense that some villagers, who say the water never turns that red during the killing, believe the producers later added the lurid color with special effects. The filmmakers adamantly deny this.”

I have always said that the slaughter we showed in The Cove was the Disney version of what actually happens behind the tarps. It seems that now it’s time to show the truth of how barbaric the Taiji fishermen and their renegade mayor really are, (Read the article and see the unseen raw footage here!)

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Demonstration For Blood Dolphins To Take Place at The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Headquarters In Switzerland


By Kirsten Massebeau

On March 28, 2014 Save the Blood Dolphins and dolphin advocates from all over the world, including Ric O’Barry star of “The Cove” and Director of the Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project, are planning a huge demonstration at The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) headquarters in Switzerland. The demonstrators are demanding WAZA end their silence and cut ties with the cruel dolphin drive fisheries in Taiji, Japan, and the captive industry that cannot sustain itself without the infusion of wild dolphins: “The number of dolphins bred in captivity does not replace the number that die. They suffer from high mortality rates, low breeding success and often endure physical and psychological disorders. Cetacea are frequently captured from the wild and sold into captivity.”(source)

“The goal of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums is to guide, encourage and support the zoos, aquariums and like-minded organisations of the world in animal care and welfare, environmental education and global conservation.“(source)

September is known as WAZA month. Bottlenose dolphins driven into the cove in September the first month of the drive will not be slaughtered if unwanted according to the WAZA protocol. Dolphin trainers, work side by side with the dolphin hunters of the ISANA Dolphin Hunters Union selecting the young most beautiful dolphins. In accordance with the WAZA dolphin protocol during the month of September the remaining pod of bottlenose dolphins are driven back out to sea a brutal process many dolphins do not survive. Despite WAZA proclaiming September aquaria month other small whales and dolphin species are in fact slaughtered during the month of September.

Even with the 2009 release of the academy award-winning film The Cove, and daily reports from advocates on the ground, the brutal dolphin drive continues with the capture for aquariums increasing every year:

“Although JAZA’s new policy may be portrayed as a step forward in addressing one element of the hunts (acquisition of live dolphins for captivity), we believe this policy will actually undermine dolphin protection in Japan. And because there is no enforcement or monitoring capability within WAZA, or JAZA for that matter, we believe this policy has more to do with providing public relations cover for WAZA by diverting focus away from Taiji and its dolphin slaughter”.(source)

In January of 2014 the worlds eyes, including the people of Japan would turn to Taiji questioning the terrible suffering and it’s role supplying marine parks and aquariums. A large pod of approximately 200 to 250 bottlenose dolphins was driven into the cove by the Taiji dolphins hunters. Within the pod was a rare albino dolphin who clung to her mother as the hunters pushed section, after section of dolphins into the cove netting them off overnight. The following day would begin four days of manhandling, blood shed, and suffering as dolphin families were ripped apart, the children taken for lives marine parks and aquariums, the larger members slaughtered for fertilizer, and the unwanted brutally driven back out to sea. The albino baby was the first ripped from her mothers side and netted for captivity. Known as Angel the albino dolphin is now housed at the Taiji, Whale Museum where she was recently visited by Ric O’Barry. Learn more about Angel’s plight in Ric O’Barry’s Blog “An Angel in Hell”.

The 2013/2014 drive season made it more apparent than ever that the captive industry is keeping the dolphin drive alive yet WAZA remains silent along with their sister organization, The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums(JAZA), ironically on their board of Animal Welfare Committee, who continues to work closely with brokers of blood dolphins, The Taiji Whale Museum and Dolphin Base Resort who work directly with the ISANA Dolphin Hunters Union.

Taiji dolphin hunters continue to claim their hunt is “traditional” but several sources dispute this fact. In a recent editorial The Japan Times posted and editorial countering this claim:

“Tradition and culture are forces that change in accordance with new scientific understanding and evolving ethical standards. In addition, the Taiji hunt didn’t even become institutionalized on a large scale until 1969, so its roots are quite shallow.”(source)

“In a recent interview Ric O’Barry had this to say: “The number of dolphins caught last year for captivity was tremendous: about 250. The season before, only 50 dolphins were captured for captivity”.(Source)

Please join the event! Demonstration against the Japanese drive hunts and cetaceans in captivity – WAZA must put an end to these practices! Through its failure to act, WAZA is responsible for the genocide, capture and abuse of dolphins migrating past Taiji, Japan!

When :March 28th 2014 from 1pm to 3pm

Where: WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Executive Office –Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland – 

Pledge to JOIN THE WAZA PROTEST IN SWITZERLAND ON MARCH 28TH TO SAVE THE DOLPHINS IN TAIJI!
Update March 15, 2014 via Ric O’Barry: “Elsa Nature Conservancy will join us at the demo and the meeting with the director of WAZA, Dr. Gerald Dick”.(source)
 
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