Japan to start Seal Hunting in Hokkaido
Problems caused by human overfishing are again being used to victimize sea mammals in Japan as Japanese seals as blamed for the dropping numbers of fish.
Prefectural authorities in Japan have announced plans to start killing spotted seals using the same “pest control” rational that they use to give licenses allowing the killing of 23,000 dolphins and porpoises each year.
Calling it an “expert liaison committee” promoting “coexistence between humans and seals”, they seek to start culling the sea mammals in a bid to fight “persistent seal-inflicted damage” on Hokkaido’s fishing industry. In neighbouring South Korea, spotted seals have been designated a “Natural Monument No. 331″ and, in China, an endangered species.
The committee, which will be launched by the end of March 2012, will be responsible for investigating and sharing information on the so called “damage” inflicted by the animals, including counting of seals living in the area. One prefectural government official called it, “a matter of life and death for many local fishermen” claiming that seals ate approximately 300 million Yen ($3,900,000 US Dollars) of damages in 2010.
According to officials, it is estimated that over 11,000 spotted and harbor seals inhabit coastal areas in Hokkaido, although the exact number remains unknown. Harbor seals are a protected species and their hunting currently forbidden. Historically, they had been hunted to make leather, oil, gelatin and fertilizer; the kill reaching over 6,000 year by the time of WWII.
Seal watching is also one of the key tourism resources for the relatively poor prefecture. Visitors flock to areas photograph the popular sea mammals, affectionately known as goma-chan, which are going to be shot.
The committee is expected to try and address the problem in a way that allows then to carry out the cull without disturbing this following the Japanese model for dolphin and whale watch which co-exist with drive hunting as practised in Taiji.
“For now, we cannot tolerate them just because they are cute,” said an official of the Yagishiri fisheries cooperative in Haboro. “We hope we will find a way to peacefully co-exist with them”. A single spotted seal is said to eat around 5 kilograms of seafood a day and their eating habits challenge the livelihoods of fishermen in the area.
The seals traditionally come to the Hokkaido in autumn and leave for northern waters in spring. Observers suspect decreasing ice floes caused by global warming are the reason for their increasing numbers.
Yagishiri probably offers seals a comfortable stay with abundant food but it remains a mystery why they have advanced to the Sea of Japan unless changing conditions in the northern oceans are fully understood. They eat cod, flatfish, salmon, herring and octopus and are often found dead as ‘bycatch’ in fishing nets.
Fishermen are known to shoot any seals attacking fish in their nets. Many also die in salmon trap nets along the Nemuro Peninsula. Shooting is not a humane death. In a 2007 Canadian study, 82% of seals shot did not die from the first bullet. Another showed that only 15% of seal deaths during hunts are carried out according to legal methods.
The fisheries cooperative in Rausu applied for permission to kill a number of seals from 2004. The fisheries cooperative in Yagishirito island and the town of Shimamaki applied starting in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
The spotted seal is threatened by climate change because their habitat consists of the ice front at the southern edge of the sea ice, an area that may change due to global warming. In China, the Dalian Seal Sanctuary, a nature reserve established in 1992 at Liaodong Bay in the Bohai Sea, is being upgraded to a national level in order to protect them from illegal hunting, loss of habitat, shortages of food and disturbance.
Meanwhile, many seal corpses and chronically sick seals are being discovered on the Russian and Alaskan coastlines. Experts are investigating whether such unknown illnesses have been caused by radioactive poisoning from Fukushima reactor following its damage by the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami. Traces of radioactivity have been discovered.
Put simply, the reason for the slaughter of seals is financial and ignore the man made ecological disaster which is happening in the seas around Japan. Japanese fishermen have hunted many species of fish to the point of extinction. Many are already 90% depleted. Japan eats 6 times more fish than other developed nations and is hunting the oceans dry, and so it seeks to remove all other consumers of what little stocks are left.
Human beings have options, seals and seal lions don’t. We don’t have to eat fish to survive. The alternative to killing dolphins and seals is to increasingly adopt a plant based or vegan diet.
The usual argument used to defend this is that “eating fish is traditional” in Japan, a fallacy promoted vigorously by the Fisheries Agency. It is hard to imagine how eating Tuna from spain or whale from the Antarctic can be “traditional”. It is not.
Before Westerners came to Japan, Japanese “traditional diet” had been primarily plant based, nearly vegan, for 1,000 years. People were only able to eat a small percentage of the amount of sea food they eat today.
The only way is protect the environment and increase food security and self-sufficiency within Japan is to return to a primarily plant based diet.
The government of Japan has also set quotas for killing sea lions.
International environmentalists and local fishery advocates continue to debate the issue as by the 1940s, Japan had already hunted to the point extinction its own species of Japanese Seal Lions, trawlers harvested as many as 16,500 sea lions a year.
Sea lions were captured for the circus trade and exploited for their fur and oil as their meat was not suitable for eating. Certain internal organs were also valuable in Oriental medicine and their whiskers used as pipe cleaners. However, the main reason for the extinction of the Japanese Sea Lion is thought to be persecution by fishermen.
The last died as targets for military shooting practices.
Animal Rescue in Japan after Earthquake & Tsunami
Following the current tragic events in Japan, earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear meltdowns which have left more than 500,000 homeless, local grassroot animal rescue groups are acting to save companion animals left without food, protection and family.
HEART-Tokushima, Animal Garden Niigata and Japan Cat Network (links) have been rescuing and rehoming animals in Japan for many years. They are working tirelessly to keep animal rescue on the agenda, provide shelter space, coordinate some Earthquake/Tsunami animal rescues
The groups all operate a no-kill policy.
All funds donated will be strictly and explicitly reported as well as expenses. Donations of money and resources will be used strictly for rescue, care and support of animals in crisis due to the earthquake and tsunami and not for normal operating costs.
Animal Rescue in Kansai (ARK)
Elizabeth Oliver’s much larger Animal Rescue in Kansai (ARK) (link) provided support for many animals during the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. They have reported that the number of homeless pets may be immense. During that last disaster, ARK took many animals from the emergency centres where people has sought refuge but which had refused to allow the animals entrance.
It is reported that refuge centers for human beings are again refusing companion animals this disaster. Many owners are then being forced to remain in unsafe housing, with no utilities, to look after their animals rather than leave and neglect them.
Where animals do not die naturally, most prefectures cull animal disaster victims. Even during normal periods, animals will often be killed even before they are taken to governmental animal welfare centers. If rescued, family dogs will survive only for one week even if collared and cats generally destroyed immediately. It is reported that time is now down to three days.
On the basis of their previous experience, ARK have established a “Large Scale Rescue Fund”, see link, and note that many animals will be traumatised and require veterinary attention. Again, any donations will be used for the animals made homeless in this terrible disaster.
Nippon Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Rescue and welfare work is also being supported by an active grassroots NPO Nippon Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), unlike the so-called “Japan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” which is an government and industry based group.
For Japanese language lost and found animals and other news, please check:
Why Taiji Still Matters
The dispute over the dolphin slaughter at Taiji in Japan took a new lease of life following a meeting of opposing interests arranged by a minor pro-hunt but political opponent of the Governor of Wakayama Prefecture.
The highly staged event, which was intended to be the first official meeting between the Mayor of Taiji and Sea Shepherd, quickly descended into a media circus as Ric O’Barry from Save Japan Dolphins, out gamed the town and fishermen’s representatives at the last moment.
Criticizing the highly controlled censorship of media, and the refusal of the politicians to have an open discussion, O’Barry pulled out of the meeting taking the camera crews and reporters with him back to an impromptu press conference at notorious The Cove itself.
In the melée that followed both insults and death threats were lobbied at the dolphin trainer turned activist and the whole event provided sufficient distasteful drama to dissuade most ordinary Japanese people from wishing to join in. The dolphin and whale slaughter issue being reduced down to a battle between Nationalist right-wing political groups and Western “Eco-Terrorists”.
O’Barry has taken personal responsibility for the popularization of dolphin exploitation due to his involvement in the world famous ‘Flipper’ TV shows. Sea Shepherd has dedicated its resources to direct campaigning at Taiji and has attracted supporters from around the world, called “Cove Guardians“, to come and join them. The media spotlight has returned again and again to the small town of Taiji.
Since 1975, when Greenpeace under the influence of Dr. Paul and Linda Spong first turned its attention to ‘Save the Whale’, cetaceans have had a special significance for the environmental movement as a whole. Taiji, as the birthplace of modern commercial whaling in Japan – and not “traditional whaling” as it claims – also has its own special significance in history.
At an deeper level, a far bigger battle is taking place. A battle in which there are actually two sets of victims, cetaceans and the Japanese people, all for the sake of financial profit for a few.
Taiji is much more than just about Taiji, socially, environmentally and politically. Perhaps for the first time, an ethical animal rights issue has made it momentarily to the forefront of the Japanese media, but it is being moved from being an ethical, animal rights and environmental issue into being a nationalist issue which it is not.
Whereas Japanese groups like ELSA Nature Conservancy have been campaigning against dolphin hunting since the 70s, it has been the voice and actions of the large scale, well funded, highly professionally equipped Western groups that have final broken through the media blockade.
Will the Western groups’ strategies be successful in the long term? Are Japanese groups being and consulted and supported well enough? Is Japan just another fishing ground for the likes of Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd? Is there enough inter-group and international cooperation going on?
Director of The Cove Movie, Louie Psihoyos, is reported to have become vegan following the making of the Oscar winning documentary.
For more discussion, see:
* Please note the image used is taken from a drive hunt slaughter in the Faroes not Taiji due to the lack of available photos.
However, it has been reliably reported that the Taiji dolphin hunters are regularly slaughtering mother and child and juvenile dolphins or allowing them to escape to death by starvation. Dolphins are mammals who suckle their young for up to two years. The young require feeding every hour. In one recent case at Taiji, 9 dolphin calves were taken from the slaughter cove to the Taiji dolphin museum to an unknown fate. Representatives from the museum refused to comment about them.
The Dolphin Slaughterers’ Defence: a Vegan Point of View
|Whaling and Japan
In many ways, the debate over whale slaughter, which includes dolphins, has not changed or moved on since the 1970s and 80s. 1 In essence, dolphins are small whales or cetaceans. Unlike large whales; dolphins, pilot whales, belugas etc do not have an international body like the International Whaling Commission to regulate their killing but all of their slaughters have a larger part to play in the politics of Japan.
These politics involve a very well established relationships between the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (自由民主党) and its powerbase amongst rural and fishing communities, and the system known as the Amakudari (天下り), an institutionalized practice where senior bureaucrats retire to high-profile and paid positions in the private and public sectors. A practice which is increasingly viewed as corrupt, or used to prevent economic and political reforms, but which remains unchallengeable. 2
To understand the complexity of the whaling issue for Japan, one has to look back in history to the opening up of Japan to the West in the late 1800s. A tumultuous event for Japan which was done entirely for the West’s, and primarily America’s, financial and political benefit. It was a violent act carried out not for democratic or humanitarian purposes but to support the West’s whaling industry. An industry that had wasteful ravaged Japanese waters in the decades prior to it in a manner the Japanese could never have dreamt of.
The second key event is America’s rebuilding of Japan after WWII during in which MacArthur established an Japanese industrialized whaling fleet using obsolete ships from the West. America received valuable whale oil, Japan received whale meat which was then channeled through the educational and institutional systems. It retains sentimental value for older generations for whom it was a treat. It is argued that for these old men, Japan’s ‘victory’ at the IWC was a small compensation for Japan’s overwhelming ‘loss’ of WWII thus explaining its irrational defence.
Hypocritically, Japan’s “traditional” industry was built by the USA and funded by the US tax payers. Given Japan’s subordination to the USA on almost all other matters, whaling remains a rare issue which it adopts an independent stance and attempts to represent a uniquely “Japanese” interest. Why?
To understand why Japan persists with whaling, one needs to analyse the behaviour of Japan’s “Iron Triangle”. The complex network of intimate and intricate relationships between the triad of Japan’s ruling elite. The bureaucrats, politicians and industry who get together behind closed doors and put together deals and policies to run the country with. Japan is not only a nation where “relationships are strong so laws can be weak” but also a nation where the patriarchal government is strong and the people weak by design and education; the term people including civil society and NGOs which are new and relatively powerless.
Given the economic failure of the Japanese political model in the past few decades, the “whaling triangle” appear to seeking to ensure its existence by presenting itself as a defender of Japan’s unique traditions, against a hostile outside world of “Japan bashers”. A stereotype Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd etc actually strengthen enabling the Japanese government to rally domestic support for a program which has otherwise aroused little enthusiasm among Japanese. Those interested in perpetuating the whaling myth are not doing so for Japanese interests, or Japanese consumers who are largely uninterested, but their own. The whaling triangle consists of three parts:
• the Whaling Section of the Fisheries Agency within the MAFF – responsible for Japan’s whaling policy and administers the big subsidies. It promotes whale consumption through marketing campaigns, school and hospital meals, and ‘feeds’ international allies financially. Its ambition is to restore commercial whaling. It is a powerful government body, as the sea supplies about 40 per cent of the current Japanese diet.
• the Institute of Cetacean Research – responsible for Japan’s whaling research and operating the whaling expeditions and selling the whale meat. A highly profitable organization thanks to the proceeds from whale meat sales and also government subsidies.
• the Japan Fisheries Association – a lobby group for the whole fishing industry which again benefits greatly from the whaling subsidies receiving massive payments (16 billion yen in 2007-08) from the Fisheries Agency.
The response from the Taiji town council and fishing chiefs show every sign of having been honed with the assistance of one of the above agencies, explaining why the conservationists’ questions all had to be placed a week in advance and no surprise questions allowed even from the normally compliant media.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, the top government spokesman further commented, “Dolphin hunting has been part of Japanese culture since olden times. There is much criticism, but I hope the people in Taiji will develop their discussions in a way to win understanding” and strangely, “It will become more important in this era of globalization to cherish one’s indigenous culture,” Globalization being read as a code word for the Western Imperalism.
The last player in the whaling game are the sirens of the Japanese “Kisha” media clubs who, held in an armlock by the government, largely repeat its policy unquestioning. A minor player who cannot afford to question or investigate in the same ways as Western media for fear of being locked out of the political game. The media is an extension of the education system tending towards teaching Japanese people what to think rather than how to think, and especially how to think differently or question.
Together with the whaling triangle, the media has helped create a myth about Japanese whaling which the Japanese people, 95% of whom depend on TV for their informational about the whaling issue, have swallowed. The facts oppose their claims. Antarctic whaling only started in the 1930s. Up until the postwar period, whaling was only a “tradition” in a handful of coastal communities such as Taiji. Whaling is of no real importance to Japan, it produces 0.2% of all the meat eaten in the country. In 2006, a survey found that only 4.7 percent of Japanese ate whale “sometimes”. The number being even smaller amongst the young.
Culturally, for 1,000 years Japan was ruled by a Buddhist edict which forbid the eating of meat. Even as late as the 1870s, “we Japanese” would not have referred to ourselves as a single collective and so, in short, there were no such thing as “Japanese” to have a single tradition.
Some local cultures in Japan killed and scavenged whale corpses, whereas others regarded them as gods and killing them would be unthinkable. The majority of people in Japan were tied to the mountainous lands they lived in, unable to travel and dependent on local foods alone. Today the majority of people in Japan are tied to vast metropolitan sprawls for which whaling has no relevance at all. Reality just does not reflect the facts the triangle seek to popularize.
A Vegan View
In Western societies, the whale has been transformed from a living thing that hunters caught in the oceans to an icon symbolic of the environment and humankind’s relationship with it; intelligent, kind and yet endangered and exploited. 3 In Japan, its emotional value remains with a Post-War generation for whom its meat was grateful received rich food after the deprivations of the WWII and defeat. Whales have been as much part of coastal diets in the West as in Japan.
One of the key defences of the Taiji dolphin slaughtermen is that dolphins are no different from pigs, cows and chickens. Their logic goes that as most Westerners eat pigs, cows and chickens, no Westerner has any right to tell any Japanese what to do. From a Vegan point of view, this is a fair defence given the abuse suffered by industrially farmed animals and it is a hypocritical of a steak eating, kangaroo hunting individual to accuse a Japanese fisherman. However, as Paul Watson states, “no abattoir in the world would tolerate the cruelty to cows that the Japanese inflict upon the whales and dolphins“.
This logic also fails because the groups and individuals who campaign against dolphin and whale slaughter do not represent the equally mythical “West”. A place which exist in the Japanese mind largely as a single entity, anyone coming from which is an outsider to its village mentality. It fails because the animal rights and environmental movements are not responsible for the mass slaughter of other mammals and do not support it a message which has not been well made.
It fails again because dolphins and whales are of a different order to native and domestic creatures. Their realms do not exist exclusively within human defined nations. They are no one’s and no nation’s property and yet, to the commercial slaughtermen, they exist as nothing more than a “nature resources … to be used effectively“. Entirely deanimate. Not even a living thing.
Dolphin species are almost unique within the wild for their desire to seek out human beings and interact with them for the apparently sake of entertainment and pleasure. They have displayed, on countless ocassions through out history, a benign attitude towards human beings, saving them for example from shark attack and drowning. Perfectly evolved to their environments, numerous arguments exist to support their intelligence and self-awareness or sentience.
Village fishermen defended the hunt as part of a centuries-long tradition. It is not. Their claim to tradition evaporates when it becomes apparent that the financial benefits of dolphin hunting lay in feeding a very modern and Western “tradition” of marine parks and dolphin shows. One which O’Barry himself helped establish. Was it limited to indigenous scale and method of subsistence hunting, likely no one would complain. It is not. Its tradition goes back no further than the 1970s. It is highly industrialized and dependent on Western developed technologies; the internal combustion engine, electronics, communication systems. It is not “Japanese” at all.
Whereas, without any doubt, much of the popular anti-whaling rhetoric has become colored by inherent racist sentiments, the core of the eco-movement certainly is not. Those pioneering the environmental and animal rights movements would never associate themselves with nationalism nor any form of cultural imperialism. Indeed, within their own nations they are equally reviled, ridiculed and unloved by their own establishments and are part of the defence of diversity. Unfortunately, pioneers – or those operating beyond acceptable groupthink – are not welcome in Japan either. Western or Japanese.
Chisa Hidaka of Dolphin Dance recently commented that most Japanese will not want to become involved in an ugly fight and suggested that the the reactionary elements within Japan do not want the conversation to become rational or cooperative because they fear that if it does, Japanese citizens will show their support for protecting whales and dolphins.
She suggests that if we want Japanese people to be more involved, pro-dolphin activists need to walk away from the ‘fight’ and use a more rational and cooperative approach. “Only then, can we expect cooperation and a reasonable response“, she suggests. A sound suggestion but one that is likely to fall at the feet of a few men being as old men are in all nations.
The commercial dolphin slaughters have also been educated in the language of the Whaling Triangle. They attack NGOs such as Sea Shepherd, the Whaleman Foundation and the Oceanic Preservation Society who funded The Cove, as “only doing for the sake money“. A position which ignores, of course, that they are only slaughtering the dolphins “for the money” in the first place, as are the Western marketing men who advise them on their position. The fishermen’s condescension towards the groups has gone as far as refusing to accept the market value for the release of dolphins back into the wild because the money was donated rather than ‘properly’ earned. Ignoring again that the donors of that money were very providing funding where they could not provide time and other commitments in full support of their aims.
To understand this, one first has to appreciate the weakness of the Japanese civil society (charities and non-profit organizations). A history which only goes back as far as 1998. Prior to the Kobe Earthquake disaster, which illustrated the State’s inability to respond quickly and coordinately enough to a large scale disaster, the establishment of NGOs had been so expensive as to exclude the possibility of independent citizen’s groups creating them.
NPO remained government and big business controlled, carrying out the duties and policies which were inconvenient or impossible to do through the route of normal governance. Their job was not to make changes. Whereas in the West, charitable giving and work, social activism and even religious activities are highly regarded, in the re-modeled secular Japan, capitalism – money – is king. Lacking the safety nets of many Western societies, and under the duress of impossible working demands, Japan can do little but conform.
Many small-scale, local community groups have flourished since 1998, an extension of Japan’s village past and civic pride, but campaigning NGOs and NPO in the areas of animal rights and the environment are very few, very weak, very under-resourced and under-skilled. They are also more likely to be at conflict with themselves. The authorities just do not have to deal with organized opposition and fairly immature defenses effective, e.g. The Cove movie was decried because it used “sneak cameras”. It “cheated” because it did not repeat the partyline. What else is an investigative documentary expect to do?
Since the heavy State clamp downs of student and worker demonstrations in the 1960s, direct action is almost unknown and conflict not part of campaigning language. With life and career destroying tools in place such as detention without representation for up to 23 days, no state-funded legal defence, 12 hours a day interrogations with no lawyer present and no recordings made, activists have very strong incentives to find other channels for their concerns than the civil disobedience favored in the West.
Lastly, one issue remains that only the vegan movement can argue. The tradition of eating whale and dolphin meat depends on the fallacy that humankind needs animal based protein to survive. It does not. The Vegan experiment of the last 70 years has proven that. We have no need to slaughter, only want and greed.
From a Vegan point of view, we would love humanity to renounce the slaughter and exploitation of all animals, “as far as is possible and practical“. In the case of whales and dolphins, this is easy to do.
Any opinions or concerns regarding the dolphin slaughter licenses and policy should be directed to:
|Governor of Wakayama, Mr. Yoshinobu Nisaka
Prefectural Office of Wakayama
1-1 Komatsubaradouri, Wakayama-shi
Wakayama-ken, 640-8269 Japan
Prime Minister Naoto Kan
|Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Seiji Maehara,
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8919
Tel: +81- (0)3-3580-3311
Minister of Tourism, Mr Sumio Mabuchi
Animal Aid: November is Vegan Month
|Following the International Vegan Day on 1st November, November is Vegan Month The 1st November is traditionally celebrated as International Vegan Day as a memorial to the establishment of the first Vegan Society in England, UK in 1944.
International Vegan Month is organised by Animal Aid.
|We wish the Vegan Society, UK all the best with its World Vegan Day initiatives which Animal Aid fully supports. Following World Vegan Day, Animal Aid’s Vegan Month will continue the promotion of veganism throughout the rest of November and we would appreciate the support of Vegan Society members.
For more details of Vegan Month events and ways to help, see ww.veganmonth.com.
- Animal Aid, UK.
Animal Aid is the UK’s largest animal rights group and one of the longest established in the world, having been founded in 1977. It campaigns peacefully against all forms of animal abuse and promote a cruelty-free lifestyle.
The NPO investigates and exposes animal cruelty. Its undercover investigations and other evidence are often used by the media, to bring these issues to public attention. It has sent out thousands of veggie packs promoting a cruelty-free diet.
Animal Aid was founded in January 1977 to work, by all peaceful means, for an end to animal cruelty. The Society is a ‘not-for-profit’ Limited Company run by a voluntary Council of Management. Although its work is completely charitable, the Society is denied charitable status because an important part of its work involves campaigning for changes in the law concerning animal protection.
Animal Aid also promotes positive change through education and has a dynamically active Education Department which produces a wide range of educational leaflets, posters, booklets and audio-visual materials. It supplies teaching resources and student information for all National Curriculum Key Stages, Sixth Form study and young people in general. Its videos for schools campaign put the moral and scientific arguments against animal experimentation.
Campaigning by Animal Aid groups at all time reflects the policy of the Society which is strictly peaceful/non-violent. The Society is adamantly opposed to intimidation, violence, the threat of violence to individuals and/or their property.
|Living without cruelty
Launched in 1985, the Living Without Cruelty Campaign was an attempt to take the Animal Aid message further. Whilst continuing to educate people about the intensity and horrific scale of animal exploitation, Animal Aid feels it necessary to offer people positive alternatives to animal abuse.
The Living Without Cruelty message is simple: food, household goods, medicines and to some extent clothing and entertainment, are all dependent upon causing pain and misery to other living creatures. That pain and misery is unnecessary and Animal Aid is actively pursuing a future where animals no longer suffer.
• To increase public awareness of the abuse of animals in our society, particularly in vivisection laboratories and factory farms and to educate public opinion to demand, by all lawful means, the abolition of all experiments on animals, factory farming and all other forms of animal abuse.
Animal Aid is registered in the UK as ‘Animal Abuse Injustice and Defence Society’.
Vegan Japan products available in Japanese
Vegan Japan products are now available in Japanese through a new Japanese language website.
Vegan Japan and Vegan Society of Japan products are produced and sent by Zazzle.com at no cost to us. No profit or commission is received by us at present.
Dolphin Attempts Escape from Japanese Aquarium
Aquariums, particularly marine mammal circus acts, are bound to disappear as the public is educated and revolts against it.
- Jean-Michel Cousteau.
A dolphin at the popular Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and in Japan startled onlookers when it leapt over its tank wall on to the pavement in an apparent suicide attempt. A group of dolphins appeared distressed as they watched from the tank’s glass window. Former US dolphin trainer Rick O’Barry said the dolphin was trying to kill itself, likening the mammal’s behaviour to that of a person who wants to jump out of a building. The habitat is so unnatural it leapt out in desperation, he said. “It wanted to end it.”
In the wild, whales and dolphins swim 40-100 miles a day in the open sea. In captivity, they can legally be confined to tanks as small as 8 m x 8 m x 2 m deep. Captivity deprives dolphins and whales of everything that is important:
- its family bonds,
the rich and varied ocean environment,
the natural rhythms of the ocean,
the diverse sea life on which they feed,
the freedom to swim vast distances across the open sea.
In their place, the mammals experience a noisy concrete tank with chlorinated water, buckets of dead fish and endless circles swum in a barren tank.Learn More