Tag Archive: captivity

Dolphins: A Japanese Plea for Help!

photo Sakura Paia

Around 250 bottlenose dolphins trapped in Taiji killing Cove, among them a rare white baby.

Taiji Japan: Its the middle of the dolphin hunting season and a massive catch of some 250 bottlenose dolphins have been driven into the infamous killing Cove. Among this is a very rare white, albino dolphin, who until yesterday was swimming closely at its mother’s side. Right now, dolphin trainers are working alongside the dolphin hunters selecting young and unmarked dolphins to be sold into captivity and the little albino dolphin was the first to be taken, forcibly separated from its mother, never to see her, or freedom again. Each captive dolphin will be worth up to 150,000$. This current large capture operation will be worth millions and it is this money that will continue to subsidize the killing of the remaining dolphins which will soon be sold as steak to locals. That the meat is full of toxins is never addressed by authorities.
Japanese experts decry such cruel killing of dolphins, the selling of their toxic meat for human consumption and especially the captivity industry which fuels the whole thing. Please read, sign and share the information below. (photos credit Sakura Paia)

Photo by Sakura Paia

Taken from its mother who may be killed and eaten, this rare baby albino dolphin now faces a life of imprisonment at the Taiji Whale Museum

An Open Letter to Dr. Gerald Dick, Executive Director
of the World Association of Zoos and Aquarium (WAZA)
17th January, 2014

Dr. Gerald Dick, Executive Director
Executive Office of the World Association of Zoos and Aquarium ( WAZA )
IUCN Conservation Centre
Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland
E-mail: gerald.dick@waza.org

Dear Dr. Gerald Dick,

Thank you for your reply to our petition. In our previous petition we asked you to take strong action to make the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) comply with the WAZA Code of Ethics and require that all JAZA-affiliated facilities immediately stop obtaining dolphins through the drive hunts in Japan.

To our regret, your reply didn’t include any concrete measure to answer our petition, and completely contradicted WAZA’s statement that “cruelty to any animals is not acceptable.” We, the following three Japanese organizations, have been waiting for WAZA’s practical action for nearly ten years since the WAZA took a position against dolphin drive hunts in Japan, noting that: “the catching of dolphins by the use of a method known as ‘drive fishing’ is considered an example of such a non-acceptable capture method.”

In your recent reply, you mentioned that “As you know, in some Japanese communities these drives have been part of the culture for centuries.” This claim is incorrect. The drive hunt in Taiji was and is not Japanese culture. It is a shame that this erroneous reason/excuse is the rationale for WAZA not to take an action based on “the Code of Ethics.”

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.

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.

Our request:

We sincerely request again that you take urgent action to make JAZA stop its member aquariums from buying and trading dolphins obtained from the drive hunt. Please reply, indicating to us what you will do to implement our request. What we heartily request is your concrete plan to support the conservation and ethical treatment of dolphins by ending your member aquariums’ procurement of dolphins from the Taiji drive hunts. As we explain in detail above, the drive hunt is not Japanese culture or tradition, so there is no need to refrain from acting against the drive hunt as a matter of cultural sensitivity. We previously petitioned JAZA to abide by the WAZA Code of Ethics. However, JAZA replied to us that they did not recognize any problem as long as JAZA follows the laws of Japan. Clearly, JAZA has no intention to observe WAZA’s Code of Ethics. If JAZA continues to violate the WAZA Code of Ethics, JAZA should be disqualified from remaining as a member of the WAZA, and should be expelled from the WAZA. On the other hand, allowing JAZA to remain a part of WAZA weakens WAZA’s authority and credibility.

Yours sincerely,

Sakae Hemmi, Elsa Nature Conservancy

Yukari Sugisaka, Help Animals

Sachiko Azuma, Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation ( PEACE )

We ask you to send your reply to our petition in written form by February 20th to the following address.

Yukari Sugisaka, Help Animals
Mail Box No.45, Tokyo Voluntary Action Center,
Kaguragashi 1-1, Shinjyuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-0823, Japan
Fax: 81-3-6701-2187


Not Everyone Loves Marineland!

Yes its true and for those who have seen through the Shamu-sham in southern ontario, we rallied for a fine event at Canada’s easterly whale jail this past weekend on July 24th.

Protest events can be creative and FUN!

It was a typically hot summer day and friends new and old gathered together to raise public awareness about why in this day and age, marine parks with captive cetaceans are utterly superfluous and as well as inherently cruel. Leaflets and educational materials were distributed to folks entering and leaving the park, while the rest of us waved signs, chatted and cheered appreciatively as supportive passersby waved and beeped their horns.

unfortunate captive beluga

Highlights included a group of fellows all the way from Tunisia who spontaneously joined the protest, excited to share their support on their FB pages.

Helping hands, all the way from Tunisia!

You meet the best kinds of people doing these kinds of things. More gratifying still is the realization that compared to say 10 years ago, this anti-captivity movement is really graining unprecedented momentum as more and more people come to realize the cruelties involved in the capture and incarceration of dolphins and whales. Follow the money–find the truth!

orca Ike trapped in a concrete box

The cetacean-captivity issue represents a poignant micro-example of the struggle humanity is facing across the world today: To REALIZE the damage we are inflicting on animals, ecosystems and each other, to take RESPONSIBILITY for the part we may be knowingly or unknowingly playing in causing harm, to gather strength, information and inspiration by RECONNECTING with others around us and then, to take actions towards RESTORATION.

There can be no doubt that we find it fascinating to enjoy the beauty and majesty of captive cetaceans up close. The great shift is to refuse this pleasure, knowing it ruins the lives of those we look at; to realize we are not in fact entitled to take away the freedom and families of these wondrous creatures for our weekend amusement. Its a leap that society continues to make, though for those of us trying to end the suffering, the change is never fast enough…

Can you see the sadness behind the smile?

Education is key and a very good video about this issue, complete with a message about dolphin captivity by none other than Dr. Jane Goodall, can be seen here, please share!
Marineland FYI with Jane Goodall

Keeping a protest cheerful, determined, creative, fun and most of all APPROACHABLE is one of the best ways to keep spirits up and invite others to learn about the causes one feels passionate about.

United for FREEDOM!

This approach was rewarded! Not one, but several families, after having driven hours in a hot car full of kids, reached the gates of Marineland, doubtless eager to begin a day of fun, and upon seeing our signs, took the time to inquire why we were protesting agains the place. They asked keen questions and quickly began to realize what we were telling them. And just like most people, who allow the appalling TRUTH to sink in–these good people quickly realized Marineland was NOT the kind of family entertainment they were looking for and they actually turned around and left the park!
They may not have realized it, but these people were true heroes–brave enough to listen with an open mind–and make the right choice once armed with the facts, however they might seem to disagree with the “happy make-believe world” illusion that marine parks spend millions on maintaining. I see the possibility of a better future for us all when I encounter folks like this–people who simply want to be part of the solution rather than the problem and are willing to do the right thing.

dying for our amusement. But it doesn't have to be this way.


The Forgotten Whale

Morgan, the Forgotten Whale?

In June of 2010 a small young orca was found swimming alone in the sea off the coast of the Netherlands. Because it was thought she might be ill, she was captured and brought to the Harderwijk Dolfinarium, about an hour from Amsterdam. This little orca was named Morgan. The Dutch government permitted her capture on the basis that she would be rehabilitated and then released back to the wild.
However its now been 9 months that Morgan has been held, alone in a tiny tank…

Morgan captive in a TINY tank

Not long after capturing her, the Dolfinarium changed its story, and now claims that Morgan can’t return to the wild after all. Her DNA shows that she is from a Norwegian group of herring-eating orcas. Moreover, there is no evidence that Morgan would not survive if she is returned to the wild. Other young fish-eating orcas have survived on their own. In fact, if Morgan is brought back to Norway, her chances for a full life in the wild are excellent. But her future in an aquarium is not so bright. Abundant scientific research demonstrates that captive conditions have numerous harmful effects on orcas resulting in poor survivorship.
The truth? FOLLOW THE MONEY. Because the public is increasingly critical of keeping whales and dolphins in captivity, and particularly of captures of wild cetaceans–the industry likes to obtain rare or valuable specimens by claiming to “rescue” them and then determining they cannot be released. In this way they can paint themselves as “good guys” in the eyes of the paying public, while obtaining an animal that in the case of Morgan is worth MILLIONS of dollars, as a breeding asset. Morgan will be used to make more baby whales, to replace those always dying in captivity’s tanks and pools–unless we do something about it.

Morgan is a person, not a possession.

Orcas are worth their weight in gold to the captive industry and that is why they refuse to let Morgan return to a life of freedom in the ocean and a chance to reunite with her wild community–money.

Please visit the Free Morgan website to learn more about this forgotten whale and lend your voice and support for her freedom: http://www.freemorgan.com/

Don’t let Morgan die enclosed in concrete.

Photos by kind permission of Ute Margreff.

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