(CAPTIVE DOLPHINS/TAIJI DOLPHIN HUNT) JAPAN — Japanese aquariums recently announced they would no longer acquire dolphins brutally captured during the annual Taiji dolphin hunt.

Visitors watch a dolphin perform at the Taiji Whale Museum. Photo credit: Yuzuru Yoshikawa/Bloomberg
Visitors watch a dolphin perform at the Taiji Whale Museum. Photo credit: Yuzuru Yoshikawa/Bloomberg

Every year, fishermen gather to conduct a mass slaughtering of dolphins in Japan’s Taiji cove. Some defend this horrific practice as tradition; however, others feel that spearing and killing dolphins for their meat is unacceptable.

Once the dolphins are captured, most of them are slaughtered, while some are kept and sold to aquariums.

The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which is comprised of 89 zoos and 63 aquariums, no longer has the power to purchase captured dolphins, largely because the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a Swiss-based group also known as WAZA, threatened to suspend the Japan-based organization’s membership.

By refusing to accept dolphins captured in the Taiji cove hunts, aquariums can help put an end to the mass dolphin slaughtering.

Dolphins sold to aquariums can cost up to $100,000. Photo Credit: Theguardian.com
Dolphins sold to aquariums can cost up to $100,000. Photo Credit: The Guardian

Many activists believe that such a decision will discourage those involved in the annual dolphin massacre.

Sarah Lucas, the CEO of Australia for Dolphins, claims:

“This momentous decision marks the beginning of the end for dolphin hunting in Japan.” 

Australia for Dolphins is hopeful that without the ability to sell dolphins to aquariums, there will be less incentive for fishermen to conduct the dolphin hunt.

Campaigns against the Taiji hunt have been ongoing. The Cove, a film depicting the the annual dolphin slaughtering event, has also gained massive popularity.

Taiji dolphin slaughter protesters in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo credit: Hester Bartels, Dolphinmotion
Taiji dolphin slaughter protesters in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo credit: Hester Bartels, DolphinMotion

The horrors of Taiji dolphin slaughtering are not a secret. However, only a day after zoos announced they would no longer purchase dolphins captured in the cove, the Taiji mayor announced the village would continue its hunts:

“We are hunting under the permission of the Japanese government and prefecture, and so we will continue to protect our fishermen and the methods. We will not quit.”

Although the mayor’s statement is disheartening, animal activists are confident that a major drop in revenue will discourage fishermen from capturing and slaughtering dolphins. Banning the purchase of Taiji dolphins is just the first step toward ending the annual dolphin hunt.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition calling on the Taiji Mayor and the Japanese government to permanently halt both the slaughter and trade in live dolphins!

—Rebecca Hartt, exclusive to Global Animal

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS:

SHARE