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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TWEETSTORM ~ WAZA HAS THE POWER TO END THE DOLPHIN SLAUGHTERS, DEMAND THAT WAZA ACT NOW !!


By Kirsten Massebeau

A mega pod of dolphins that included a rare albino dolphin calf gained worldwide attention on January 17, 2014 as they were driven into the infamous cove in Taiji, Japan. Using a painful technique called oikomi, once the hunters locate a pod, in this case bottlenose dolphins, they create a semi-circle. They then drop steel pipes with fluted bottoms into the water. Together each boat bangs on the poles with hammers creating a painful wall of sound. On January 17th the bottlenose dolphins in a race for their lives were inevitably pushed into the cove section by section, and netted off for the captive process that would begin the following day.

The grueling process of selection for WAZA members facilities by SSCS Cove Guardians January

The grueling process of selection for WAZA members facilities by SSCS Cove Guardians January 20, 2014 Taiji

For four days the dolphins were pushed into the shallows of Hatakejiri Bay. Using the blast of engines and hunters in dive suits, each section of the pod was manhandled, many injured, as they were pushed onto the shore of the killing cove where dolphin trainers, many working for the one of local dolphin brokers the Taiji Whale Museum, a World Association of zoos and Aquariums (WAZA)  member, and Dolphin Base another broker, were waiting to inspect the younger dolphins for sale to aquariums, marine parks and dolphinariums worldwide.

The first taken was the rare albino baby who was literally ripped from its mothers side. For four days the mega pod remained in the cove as trainers took the young from their parents marking the unwanted with a white stripe that would later mean slaughter or a drive back out to sea. As the days of captive selection continued the dolphin suffering escalated as the dolphins became weaker, wounded, and more panicked.

The hunters ran over the dolphins again and again as they pushed the dolphins under the tarps using the blades and roar of the outboard motors to manipulate their victims.

Dolphins panicked, and began to lose the will to live as days went by. While the dolphin drives have been an annual event since 1969, and had been exposed most recently in the 2009 release of the documentary The Cove it has continued. This drive though, would draw worldwide attention.

The news of this huge bottlenose round-up coursed through media outlets worldwide sparking global outrage. US Ambassador Carolyn Kennedy came forward expressing deep concern about the Taiji dolphin hunts(source). Yoko Ono came forward publishing a letter to the ISANA “Fisherman’s” Union imploring them to end the hunt (source) While many important people came forward the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) remained silent as the bottlenose dolphins being manhandled and selected for captivity in the cove would be bought, and sold by and to their members.

“In a recent interview Ric O’Barry film star and creator of the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove that exposed the Taiji dolphin capture and slaughter 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)

“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)

What you can do to help?

Join the Tweetstorm !TWEETSTORM ~ WAZA HAS THE POWER TO END THE DOLPHIN SLAUGHTERS, DEMAND THAT WAZA ACT NOW !!

TWEETSTORM TIME ANNOUNCER: ► http://bit.ly/1cXjmsv

COUNTDOWN TO TWEETSTORM: ► http://bit.ly/1joYdjo

Friday, January 24, 2014

10:00pm in UTC

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Albino Bottlenose Dolphin Captured In The Cove Brings WorldWide Attention To WAZA’s Partnership with JAZA’s Taiji Drive Fisheries


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!

Come join us on:

Facebook at Champions for Cetaceans and Save The Blood Dolphins for current drive updates on Facebook and I love Dolphins for updates and dolphin news

Follow The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project on Facebook and Twitter and the Sea Shepherds Cove Guardians on Twitter, Facebook, and Livestream

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Action Alert Tweetstorm Now!! Huge Pod of Bottlenose Dolphins In The Cove – GET THE MEDIA TO SEE THE LIVESTREAM !!


By Kirsten Massebeau

Albino baby 2A Tweetstorm by I Love Dolphins taking place now for the 350 plus bottlenose dolphins with a rare albino calf within the super pod! Please join now and begin Tweeting as the Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians Livestream as the captive dolphin selection and slaughter process begins in The Cove! The captive industry has hit the jackpot for their marine parks. It is our job to expose what they are supporting. The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and The International Marine Animal Trainers Association work with drive fisheries and barter these dolphins. Calf’s, babies are ripped from their mothers sides to and their parents are slaughtered! Our voice is their only hope!

GO TO THE LIST OF PREMADE TWEETS HERE!

HUGE POD OF DOLPHINS IN THE COVE -GET THE MEDIA TO SEE THE LIVESTREAM !! JOIN HERE AND LEARN MORE

We are going to post a link with PRE-MADE tweets (incl. hashtag & livestream link) just one minute before the storm starts, the only thing you need to do is to hit all the buttons on this tweet link…. SO LET’S BE READY TO RUMBLE THE MEDIA !!

On the 17th of January a huge drive happened and 5 pods of Bottlenose dolphins were driven into the notorious Cove in Taiji, Japan. Included in this are BABIES and one rare and unique ALBINO Bottlenose dolphin. Tomorrow, the captive selection will take place. Sealing their fate to a life inside a concrete prison, sold for captivity. Enough!! The Media has ignored this for long enough. Let’s tweet for these dolphins who were unfortunate enough to swim too close to Taiji and URGE the media to stand up and take notice. Let’s get this to the papers. Let’s go!!!!

DUE TO TIME LIMIT (WE WANT THE MEDIA TO WITNESS THIS HORROR TONIGHT AS IT UNFOLDS ) WE NEED YOU TO SHARE THIS EVENT AS FAR AND WIDE AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.(source)

 

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Bottlenose Dolphins Dying for SeaWorld, IMATA and WAZA in The Cove


By Kirsten Massebeau

The 2013-2014 dolphin drive and slaughter in Taiji, Japan has never been more obviously supported by the captive industry than this year and last. The bottlenose dolphin prized by SeaWorld’s and marine parks worldwide are one of the species that demonstrates the enticing golden hand of captivity as it reaches out to the dolphin hunters sponsoring and encouraging them to capture more dolphins for the ever growing industry. During the current dolphin drive hunting season the ISANA Fisherman’s Union, the dolphin hunters, have had great luck driving in several pods of bottlenose dolphins. For each trained dolphin they can get upwards 175,000 dollars while a dead dolphin will only bring about 400-700 dollars for its meat, less depending on species. The bottlenose are most often used in fertilizer. 

Bottlenose dolphins captured and killed in drive season 2013-2014:

319 bottlenose dolphins have been driven into the cove. 71 bottlenose dolphins have been taken for aquariums while 87 were slaughtered. 160 have been released. The ISANA Union must occasionally release remaining pods if they want their supply to last.(Source)

A Taiji Dolphin at the Dubai Dolphinarium 2012

A Taiji Dolphin at the Dubai Dolphinarium 2012

In a recent interview Ric O’Barry film star and creator of the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove that exposed the Taiji dolphin capture and slaughter 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) While SeaWorld would have you think they have no connection to Taiji the absolute opposite is in fact true. In the early 1980’s SeaWorld began buying dolphins from the Iki Island dolphin drives and then moved onto Taiji, drive fisheries. (source)

The captive industry keeps the dolphin drive alive. The meat is toxic for human consumption and in truth the population that eat and use dolphin in Japan is small but as long as the captive industry needs new blood to stock their aquariums the terrible abuse, and slaughter will continue.

The captive industry claims to oppose drive fisheries yet the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) rationalize and reap the benefits of the cruel dolphin drives as does the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA):

Any individual who believes in IMATA’s mission and who supports its goals is welcomed into the membership. This includes extending membership to individuals who work for organizations that acquire dolphins from a drive fishery. A caregiver is welcomed by IMATA even if s/he participates in the selection and collection of live animals on the premise that those animals will benefit as s/he is exposed to the most current best practices in animal care and training. (source)

How can you help? Don’t buy a ticket to a dolphin show or swim with dolphins. Join the ongoing event pressuring WAZA and IMATA to end their long relationship with Taiji drive fisheries HERE. It’s time to end the aquatic circus model created by SeaWorld and accept the fact that dolphins belong in the oceans with their families.

Save the Blood Dolphins – 2013- A year in review


It has been a productive and great year working for Save The Blood Dolphins as an administrator for in 2013! Thanks to the entire team for all their work and all our friends that are working to save cetaceans, and keep them free and safe from anthropogenic causes.

A Dolphin Activist

What a year 2013!

Introduction:

It’s been a wonderful and productive year for the organization Save the Blood Dolphins. Our administrative team is growing. This year has brought us many joys and some really sad moments.

First, let me introduce you to the administrative team that is the main backbone of our organization. These great passionate men and women, selflessly volunteer their valuable time not only to the plight of the captive dolphin but also for other animals that they render a voice to. Our wonderful team is comprised of different personalities and groups that believe that we can make a difference by uniting our efforts. Kudos and salutations for a job well done team STBD!

January 2013

In January, Mila DeMier traveled to Almerimar, Spain and visited with Promar/Marcos the Dolphin and presented the Promar group with a  donation and volunteered her time on behalf of our organization…

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Has Blackfish Sunk the SeaWorld Ship?


By Kirsten Massebeau, Images by Barbara Napoles

Florida Attractions Associations is making a plea to supporters of SeaWorld to come out and voice their support for what appears to be a sinking ship. Simultaneously, CNN News giant posted an article today entitled, “Martina McBride, 38 Special, cancel SeaWorld gig over ‘Blackfish’ backlash”. In the article CNN shares a long list of celebrities who are quickly distancing themselves from SeaWorld since the world changing release of the documentary Blackfish that exposes the tragic lives of captive orcas and the death of Dawn Branchau: “A promoter could put together a whale of a concert series with the acts that have canceled SeaWorld shows in the past several weeks, including Trisha YearwoodWillie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Heart andBarenaked LadiesREO Speedwagon announced its cancellation on Friday“.(Source)

On December 16, 2013 The Florida Attractions Association published a plea for help in stopping so called “fanatics” and “extremists“:

Dear FAA Member,One of our members is under attack.

Unfortunately, a few radical extremist groups are attacking SeaWorld.  CNN network, desperate for ratings, modified their all “news” format to air a skewed documentary denigrating SeaWorld.  A result has been the cancellation of some music groups who had been booked to perform at SeaWorld next spring
The following artists have succumbed to pressure from fanatical extremists. 
(Source)

Florida Attractions Associations (FAA) linked supposed FAA member and “SeaWorld” supporters to a TMZ article, “Stars and Scars” that allowed voting for all those scared stars. SeaWorld’s vote gave readers two choices 1) Shut it down or 2) I like it.(Source) Quickly the “Shut it Down” surpassed, “I like” it despite their efforts.

FAA goes on compelling SeaWorld supporters to fight back by sharing a page called,”SeaWorld Cares”. The page showcases SeaWorld doing rescue work yet artfully placed within the pictures of rescues are captive orcas, SeaWorld’s trademark that has been exposed as nothing more than an aquatic circus.

While the FAA might have the power to encourage some to stand up for the aquatic circus the growing number of people who have seen “Blackfish” are saying no to SeaWorld and that includes children. Cash a five year old boy has made a call action! Join the protest nearest you and if you planned a trip to a SeaWorld please cancel and make Cash’s birthday wish come true!

Join ARFF SeaWorld Orlando protest December 22nd Orlando 2013 at 10am EST here!

PROTEST $EA WORLD $AN DIEGO…WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY UNTIL THE TANKS ARE EMPTY! San Diego SeaWorld, December 22, 2013 at 10am until 1PM PST Join Here

Feel Free to let the Florida Amusement Association know that as long as SeaWorld exploits orcas and dolphins you won’t be spending your vacation money there!