Include marine mammals in the Japanese animal welfare and management laws
When Dolphins and small whales are drive-hunted in Taiji, a feature of the hunt is the erection of signs by the hunters advising visitors that the captured Cetaceans are the property of the ISANA Fishermens’ Association.
These Cetaceans are considered a ‘marine resource’ by the Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Fisheries of Japan and therefore their treatment does not fall under the Animal Welfare and Management Law defined in Japan for the humane treatment of animals that are slaughtered for food.
This display of ‘ownership’ by ISANA Fishermens’ Association should qualify the captured Cetaceans to be awarded with a level of care afforded to all animals awaiting slaughter for human consumption.
I refer you specifically to the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science published in April 2013. The linked published paper focuses specifically on the methods currently used to drive and kill Cetaceans in Taiji, Japan and concludes that the dolphin drives are inhumane.
This petition will send a Japanese translation of the following letter to Prime Minister Abe, Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Fisheries, Ministry of Environment, as well as Japanese Ambassadors worldwide.
Please sign to help us get a response from the Japanese government. Individuals at Freedom Blue have been trying to get a response on this issue via Japanese Embassies’ for 2 years, help us show the Japanese government the lack of laws covering marine mammals is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Should the Japanese government choose to disregard this request, Freedom Blue plans on petitioning Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors to Japan that represent countries that have trade agreements with Japan worldwide, asking them to make the lack of Animal Welfare laws in Japan for marine mammals a part of trade discussions, negotiations and agreements.
Example of the letter that will be sent in Japanese;
We are writing to you as a Marine Conservation Group with a rapidly growing global membership.
One of the issues we are addressing is the Dolphin Drive Hunts in Taiji, Wakayama prefecture. We do not refer to the food culture aspect of this activity but specifically we are concerned about the lack of duty of care the Hunters have towards the Dolphins that they drive into the cove. From correspondence with Japanese officials, we have been advised that both Dolphins and Whales, because they are wild, are considered a ‘marine resource’ by the Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Fisheries of Japan and therefore their treatment does not fall under the Animal Welfare and Management Law defined in Japan for the humane treatment of animals that are slaughtered for food.
A feature of the drive hunt in Taiji is the erection of signs by the hunters advising visitors that the captured cetaceans are the property of ISANA Fishermens’ Association. This action is specifically aimed at controlling the growing number of advocates visiting Taiji each year to witness the drives. The presence of this display of ownership surely qualifies the captured cetaceans to be awarded a level of care afforded to all animals awaiting slaughter for human consumption?
In the 2012/2013 drive season 46 drives took place resulting in live captures and slaughters. An addendum to this email can be found at this link and contains details of all of the drives.
On at least 8 of these occasions, Dolphins were held anywhere between 1 and 6 days without any duty of care ie food or medical attention. This is in addition to the stress suffered while being held by ISANA, the drowning of Dolphins in nets, the strikes suffered by skiffs, Dolphins that are taken to the butcher to be processed for sale are still conscious and aware, and the release back to the ocean of babies and juveniles that are in no position to fend for themselves and are therefore doomed to perish.
Respectfully, this is not an attack on the culture of Japan but a specific interest in the animal cruelty that is apparent and documented in these drive hunts.
The Environmental Investigation Agency in its recently published report “Toxic catch: Japan’s unsustainable whale, dolphin and porpoise hunts” also refers to the cruelty of drive hunts as “dolphins may be secured by their tail fluke and dragged by boats. Unable to control their surfacing to breathe during this period, dolphins sometimes die during the capture process due to forced drowning”.
We ask respectfully that in this, the 21st century, why there are apparently no laws concerning the welfare of these cetaceans while they are hunted for the profit and convenience of the Japanese people? Can you and your Cabinet, please advise on who is responsible for the duty of care for these animals? The current lack of legislation provides for no animal welfare whatsoever in the case of these Dolphins.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
The accompanying addendum referenced and linked in the letter, lists documented incidents were the standard duty of care administered the dolphins of the Taiji during a drive, capture, selection for live sale and slaughter would not meet the current accepted standards afforded animals used for human consumption in modern societies, throughout the 2012/2013 Taiji dolphin drive hunting season,. (Based on documentation via photographs, live reports and updates over social media websites provided by International and Japanese observers in Taiji, from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians and Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project, as well as Independent observers including Freedom Blue members. Also referencing incidents mentioned in International and National media)
The following can be found on the Freedom Blue website
- English Letter to Japanese Ministers & Ambassadors
- English Addendum
- Japanese Letter to Japanese Ministers & Ambassadors
- Japanese Addendum
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