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Expel the Taiji Whale Museum #tweet4taiji

This petition had 3,571 supporters

Dear World Association of Zoos and Aquariums,

Once again the killing season has started in Taiji, Japan. The local "fishermen" use expensive high-powered boats to search for and hunt down migrating families of wild dolphins and small whales that swim along the coastline. When a pod of dolphins is found, the men use metal poles to bang loud acoustic noises underneath the water, scaring and confusing the animals, while herding them towards an inland trap known as the Cove.

Here, the exhausted and terrified dolphins are imprisoned with nets, still fighting to escape as they are run over by speeding boats, while the fishermen separate members from their family pod for either butchering as meat or taken alive to be sold off into the captivity trade. Even babies too young to survive on their own are forced apart from their mothers and tossed back out to sea like garbage to face a cruel death. Entire gene lines are systematically wiped out. Hardly a suitable fishing practice as the Japanese would like to claim.

Dolphin trainers from the Taiji Whale Museum partake in these drive hunts, examining and selecting the “attractive” unblemished dolphins to be sold to marine parks and aquariums around the world. A single dolphin can make a profit as high as $150,000 versus a few hundred dollars if sold as meat. A food commodity little in demand, considering the mercury tainted meat is a health hazard and the public’s withering desire to eat dolphin or whale meat as a whole. Thus, the connection to the entertainment industry and profits generated from live exports is the true driving force behind these annual slaughters, not culture or tradition as the Japanese government continues to use as an excuse to conduct these dolphin drives.

The remaining unselected dolphins now face “death by spike,” where a spear tipped metal rod is plunged into their backs to separate the spinal cord, rendering the animals paralyzed but still alive and fully conscious. The stab wound is then plugged with a cork to keep the animals from bleeding out, further lengthening the time these dolphins remain alive. It is a cruel, inhumane, and unconscionable way to slaughter any animal. The method would even violate Japan’s own animal welfare laws if dolphins and whales were included.

WAZA, it is your responsibility and sworn oath to protect these wild intelligent creatures from the drive hunts and captivity trade. Please take a hard definitive stance and condemn the Taiji dolphin hunts publicly, expel the Taiji Whale Museum from your association and ban any aquarium or marine park member from purchasing dolphins from Taiji.

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