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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An Era Ends as Dolphin, and BBC Wildlife Photographer-Filmmaker is Denied Entrance to Japan


By Kirsten Massebeau

On February 14, 2014 (Japan time), Martyn Stewart dolphin and BBC wildlife photographer-filmmaker was held in custody at Osaka Airport where he was grilled by Japanese authorities, and  eventually expelled from the country following a grueling interrogation. Martyn reached out to his many friends and followers from his detention cell at Osaka Airport, posting on Facebook:

“I am Locked in a cell room at Osaka airport waiting on an appeal to the high minister regarding my entry into Japan. I’m accused of being sea shepherd and an Eco terrorist, my footage is not liked in Japan apparently and have been accused of assaulting members of the public. In 4 years of being here for the dolphins I have maintained the law and abided by their rules. My words and pictures did the rest. The government of Japan will do anything to protect the rights of the fishermen of Taiji and the barbaric treatment of the animals involved.
Please share far and wide to bring awareness to this corrupt government and those that want to continue to brutally treat these amazing animals. The condition I’m in and the treatment I have received is nothing short of criminal”. — at Kansai Airport Line.

“Incredible feelings again in my stomach, I never thought i would come back here again so soon but things just happen like this in life, weird! It’s not the place you would want to keep coming back to, i mean you wouldn’t keep going back to a shitty restaurant, right! This place just has me tied up too much though, i hate the thought of abandoning these animals and i feel it every-time i leave. My promise to them was i would always come back until i knew it would stop. Whether it be because they want to stop (fishermen) or because they become extinct. We just have to be their voice”…. January 2013, in Wakayama-shi, Japan.(Martyn Stewart)

While Martyn Stewart of Nature’s Sound is known for his beautiful recordings of birds and wildlife for documentaries, his images and video documentation of the cruel dolphin drives in Taiji, Japan are legendary. His passion can be seen in his pictures and videos, of the terrible dolphin suffering he has witnessed over the years as he documented the dolphin drive in Taiji. His videos and images have compelled many activists to speak out, and take action, for the dolphins.

While many of the photographers coming to Taiji keep their lenses focused on the dolphin victims only, Martyn goes further. He took the lens of his camera beyond the dolphin suffering capturing images of the small group of people who are profiting from the sale of dolphins dead and alive. Above is an image of Mr. Myoshi owner of the Dolphin Resort, and a broker of dolphins. Each trained dolphin he sells to aquariums can bring him up to 200,000 while a dead dolphin brings the hunters the equivalent of hundreds of  dollars for the butchered meat which is sold for human consumption, dog food, and fertilizer (bottlenose dolphins). The meat is Mercury laden and toxic yet the slaughter and consumption by a few continues.

While taking portrait images is frowned upon in Japan, Martyn’s pictures of those involved in the dolphin drives have sparked the global community in a profound way leading the viewers to question how Marine Parks have become so entwined the terrible capture and slaughter of these highly intelligent beings, dolphins and small whales. The dolphin trainers, many of whom are certified by the International Marine Animals Trainer Association (IMATA), work side by side with the hunters simultaneously selecting the young beautiful dolphins for captivity, while slaughtering the older dolphins their parents, and grandparents. One might think that IMATA would vehemently oppose dolphin drive fisheries claiming they love dolphins yet the opposite is true. IMATA welcomes trainers from dolphin drive fisheries:

“Any individual who believes in IMATA’s mission and who supports its goals is welcomed into the membership. This means that if an individual works for an organization that acquires dolphins from a drive fishery, up to and including participating in the selection and collection of live animals, s/he is welcomed by IMATA”.(source)

While the Taiji ISANA “Fisherman’s” Union claims the hunt is “tradition” history tells a very different story. It is no wonder the dolphin hunters go to such great lengths to hide the bodies of their dolphins victims who suffer and die so slowly under the tarps draped so skillfully over the blood filled shallows of the killing cove. In a recent article entitled, “Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt Is Not A Tradition”, Mark Palmer of Earth Island Institute quotes star and co creator of academy award winning documentary, The Cove, Ric O’Barry who explains that in fact the Taiji, dolphin drives are not “tradition”:

“This claim of ‘Japanese tradition’ is nonsense,” stated Ric O’Barry, Director of Earth Island’s Dolphin Project.  “The dolphin drive hunts, according to the town’s own written history, says a couple of drive hunts occurred in 1936 and 1944, but the current series of hunts only began in 1969(source).

“We do not want these animals to have died in vain. They died because of ignorance. The next pod caught is partly in your hands. Talk, educate, be proactive”. November, 2013— at太地町.(Martyn Stewart)

The capture of dolphins for aquariums and marine parks  is a multi-million dollar industry that the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), and their partners the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) who sits on WAZA’s animal ethics board of directors do not want to see end. The dolphins born in captivity cannot fill the demand for display dolphins hence the need is filled with blood dolphins.

While Martyn will no longer be exposing, and reporting on the dolphin capture and slaughter in Taiji, Japan his time spent there was not in vain. Martyn Stewart showed us the faces and suffering behind the dolphin slaughter and capture. His pictures and video are timeless as is his is an example to us all practicing what he preaches. He is a strict vegan, and true animal lover, who will never be silenced in his quest to help all living creatures, and to expose animal suffering whenever and wherever it occurs.

Leaving the land that kill dolphins and small wales, leaving animals that I so much promised I would be with until this insanity stops, leaving with a sence of failure yet one of pride that I did what I could and I will never forget that. Leaving a country that so much needs our guidance and not interference, leaving Taiji in a far worse state than I found it in. Leaving behind many friends that I made and will probably never see again. Leaving a large piece of my heart on a beach in Taiji — at Kansai International Airport.(Martyn Stewart)

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