Taiji Dolphin Slaughter Suspended
-- Captured Dolphins to be Released
-- Japanese Gov’t and Taiji
City Council Considering Next Steps
By Ric O’Barry and the Save Japan
The town of Taiji, Japan, focus of the largest dolphin
slaughter in the world as documented in the movie The Cove, has announced it
will release captured dolphins without slaughtering any.
initiation of a new “non-slaughter” policy in response to intense international
pressure to end the practice of killing dolphins and selling contaminated
dolphin meat to Japanese consumers.
Normally, the hunting season begins
on Sept. 1st, lasting through March. This year no captures or slaughter took
place while a team led by Richard O’Barry for Save Japan Dolphins Coalition and
media from around the world converged on Taiji.
Once the team left Taiji
for Tokyo, reports surfaced that boats proceeded to capture “about 100”
bottlenose dolphins (the same kind of dolphin featured in the 1960’s television
show Flipper) and 50 pilot whales.
A representative of the Taiji Town
Council indicated that some of the bottlenose dolphins would be retained to sell
on the world market to aquariums.
However, in a new twist, instead of
butchering the remaining dolphins for sale of meat, the town announced its
intention to release any dolphins not selected for captivity.
O’Barry, Campaign Director of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition, stated: “The
world is watching. We call on the Japanese Fisheries Minister and the Taiji Town
Council to make the non-slaughter policy permanent, and revoke all permits
allowing capture and slaughter.”
He continued: “Stopping the slaughter
and sale of dolphins would be a major victory for the people of Japan who risk
eating mercury-laced dolphin meat, and of course the millions of people who have
seen The Cove.”
David Phillips, Director of Earth Island Institute
stated: “Our Coalition staff has been in Japan since day one of this year’s
planned dolphin kill, and we’re staying. We will expand vigilance in Taiji, and
bring greater world attention to ensure that the dolphins are released and that
the slaughter does not resume”.
Added Dr. Elliot Katz, President of In
Defense of Animals (IDA): “On behalf of the members of IDA, I congratulate Ric
O’Barry, the members of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition, and Cove Director
Louie Psihoyos for taking us one step closer to ending the slaughter of these
sensitive and intelligent animals.”
Stated Andy Ottaway, Director of
Campaign Whale of the UK: “We are delighted that the fishermen of Taiji have
suspended the dolphin slaughters for now. However, the slaughter of other whales
is equally cruel and unacceptable and also carries the same toxic health threat
to the people that eat them. We urge the fishermen of Taiji to show compassion
and respect for international concern by releasing pilot whales and other
cetaceans unharmed in the future.”
For further information, go to:
The Save Japan Dolphins Coalition consists of Earth Island
Institute, Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan, Ocean Care, In Defense of Animals,
Campaign Whale, and the Animal Welfare Institute.