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.

Auschwitz for Dolphins

By Kirsten Massebeau

Photo provided by Heather Hill

Update on Jiyu Via: Pic A. Dilly
The poor sick dolphin jiyu at dolphin base “swim with” in taiji is gone and feared dead as there was a dolphin killer here when we arrived.
These trainers told the police they “love” dolphins–but this is how they solve a “problem dolphin”. –by selling him to the killers for meat?

Update Via Rosie Kunneke  We are at the dolphin resort/base now. We cannot see Jiyu anywhere.I saw a dolphin killer here yesterday and when we arrived here earlier, there was a dolphin killer hanging around. We suspect that Jiyu was killed…..he was the most depressed, unhappy, sad, skinny and neurotic dolphin I have ever seen…he was the true reflection of the horrors and cruelty of keeping dolphins in captivity….Jiyu we will never forget you or the message of cruelty of captivity you send to the world….a lot of people fought really hard for your life…I hope you find peace(where ever you are) and release from the pain humans inflicted on you…..thank you to everybody that answered the call to try and save/help this dolphin by contacting these horrible people and begging for his life and freedom…

Taiji, Japan is the modern-day Auschwitz for Dolphins. Each year over 2000 dolphins are driven into a cove by disabling their sonar with deafening sound. Once netted off in the cove trainers come from the Whale Museum. Dressed in wetsuits they enter the water to select dolphins for captivity. This selection process is brutal. Juveniles are ripped from their mothers sides. Many dolphins have drowned as the trainers tackle them in the water. Once selected they are kept netted off from their pod. The dolphin hunters then drag the rest of the pod under the blue tarps of shame where they die unspeakable deaths at the hands of the killers, their suffering lasting almost 10 minutes. The Japanese government claimed the dolphins die within seconds but thanks to Dieter Hagmann’s revealing secret footage that follows the hunters under the blue tarps of death and shame the world can see why the killers go to such great lengths to hide their dirty work. The film revealed to the world dolphin suffering so cruel beyond imagination.

Killing Dolphins at Taiji is Slow and Cruel from on Vimeo.

Photos Provided by Martyn Stewart”They say they love dolphins but I see them sitting in the cove watching the slaughter, They pat the ones in the dolphin pens for show, These guys have no shame…”(Martyn Stewart, 11/5/11, Taiji)

See the trainers website It is called “Our Life”. I would ask them what about the lives of the dolphins? When do they start counting?

The dolphin trainers at dolphin base are not your usual young people in their twenties and thirties, full of life, hoping to make the world a better place. Somehow their world has become dark and distorted. Current scientific findings revealing brains the size of mans, and  superior intelligence in dolphins means nothing to the trainers. In Taiji dolphins are seen as no more than a commodity, dead or alive.

These young people may have become dolphin trainers for the glitz and sparkle but the world can see they are far from it in Taiji. These supposed “trainers” are in fact no more than soldiers in a death camp, who are abusing the inmates, and then showing up for the executions. In no way does their behavior suggest that they care for the dolphins. Instead they exhibit a perverse desire to dominate, and oppress, these gentle beings. Much like the dolphin hunters the dolphin trainers show no sympathy toward their charges. Their days are spent visiting the outdoor sea pens where their job is to break the will of dolphins that have already experienced such tragedy. These dolphins have watched their parents and family murdered.  They have swam in the blood of their families sometimes for days. Trapped in tiny pens with three to four other dolphins the trainers use food deprivation as a way to break their spirits. Some dolphins become so hungry, and stressed they have eaten plastic and garbage.

Photos provided by Martyn Stewart Trainers reached directly into the dolphins delicate stomach with bare hands.

The brave photographer who took these shots Martyn Stewart,  had a special message for the dolphin trainers that have taken such a dark path in life.

I constantly tell the trainers that they have blood on their hands. If they ceased what they do, it would help put an end the demise of a species. Use your skills to educate others, If you loved dolphins you would stop the dolphin trade and the blood that spills in the cove. (Martyn Stewart, October 8, 2011)

Photo Provided by Martyn Stewart Shouldn't They Be Free?

We can only hope that the dolphin trainers of Taiji will see the light and turn away from the cruel and dark path they have chosen, exploiting dolphins. If only they could see  how much more valuable our friends of the sea are swimming free with their families. They are so willing to work with man and share their gifts!

Japanese dolphin drive industries are supported by the dolphinariums, swim with dolphins, and aquariums worldwide. For every 100 dolphins slaughtered one to two are taken for captivity. Each day more and more marine parks are being built. The many middle eastern countries are adding them at exponential rates building whole communities around tiny dolphinariums stocked with dolphins from drive fisheries.

A Sick and Distraught Taiji Dolphin in Bodum, Turkey who once swam free Photo Provided by WDSF-ProWal

The life span of the Taiji dolphins in captivity lasts 5 years at the most, with many dying within the first two months of capture. Please take the pledge to boycott all marine aquariums, and dolphinariums!

Take action  and help us save the dolphins that travel past Taiji, Japan:

What can you do? Tell your friends to watch “The Cove” for free online: or have them watch “A Fall From Freedom” also online for free

Follow any of the links below to get involved in saving the dolphins that migrate past Taiji: