The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has suspended its Japanese sector (JAZA) after they have refused to comply with the strict demand that they stop bringing into their zoos dolphins caught in the town of Taiji, that uses an extremely cruel method of fishing. JAZA members have voted today that they will henceforth prohibit the acquirement of Taiji dolphins, so as their suspension be terminated.
It was the ground breaking documentary “The Cove” that revealed to the entire world the brutality of the “drive fishing” method, widely used in the town of Taiji, located in Southern Japan. This appalling practice leads to the slaughter of thousands of dolphins every year.
Locals explain that they are continuously killing dolphins because they feed on the fish that they need to catch in order to survive. Furthermore, dolphin meat is an important part of the locals’ diet, precisely because they kill them in extremely high numbers.
Due to the fact that dolphin meat is not considered suitable for human consumption in many parts of Japan and the rest of the world, the price that they can get for it is extremely low. Therefore, they opt to keep it for themselves to eat, despite the consequences it might have on their health.
The people who partake in dolphin fishing are tremendously poor and they do not have many options for work. It is because of this that they participate in this heinous practice.
What they do is drive the dolphins that come close to the shore into a small cove and then block them there by using nets. The animals are then defenseless, as they have nowhere to run to and the fishermen use spears to kill most of the trapped dolphins.
The best looking specimens are spared, so that they be sold to aquariums and zoos all throughout the country. This is basically the only profitable aspect of dolphin fishing, and it is by acquiring these dolphins that the entire practice is perpetuated.
This is why WAZA has decided to enforce a very strict policy against procuring dolphins from people who catch them this way. They proposed that Japan impose a moratorium on the Taiji hunt for a period of two years but they have refused to comply. This has led to the suspension of JAZA.
Furthermore, as a response to this suspension, JAZA’s 152 zoo and aquarium members have conducted a vote today so as to decide if they will continue to be a part of WAZA. The results have just come in and it turns out that the Japanese sector has chosen to remain a WAZA member and therefore will enforce their demanded policies.
“If we decide to remain a member of WAZA, that means we will stop taking dolphins caught with ‘drive fishing’ method” said a JAZA official.
Kensho Nagai, the executive director of JAZA said that they take about 20 dolphins from Taiji every year and that they have improved their hunting methods since the release of the documentary. He also said that they have separated their practices from the dolphin meat hunt practiced there.
He added that while they are able to intervene there, they do not however possess any means of control over the local brokers who sell cruelly captured dolphins to aquariums and zoos in China and the Middle East.
Thanks to the Oscar-winning documentary, the issue of “drive fishing” has become widely known all throughout the world after it had been successfully concealed for very many years. While WAZA’s actions are capable of changing very little in Taiji, the fact that there is a chance for change remains priceless.
An enormous victory against animal cruelty has been achieved today through JAZA’s decicion. By not allowing the aquariums and zoos in Japan to procure dolphins from these fishermen, this practice will lose its financial justification. Therefore, if it will no longer constitute a way to get money, then hopefully it will be practices less in the years to come.
Image Source: i1-news