September 15, 2005
For thousands of years, dolphins have rescued humans in trouble, aided fishermen by leading schools of fish into their nets, and befriended and charmed their way into the hearts of people everywhere.
Now, today, dolphins need your help. A dark and ugly side of humanity has created a business of slaughtering dolphins, "driving" them into shallow bays and up on to beaches where they will be first culled of their "prettiest," most display-tank-fit specimens by a ravenous aquarium and swim-with-the-smiling-dolphin industry. The DVD, Welcome to Taiji, produced by ONE VOICE-France and former "Flipper" television series trainer, Ric O'Barry, documents the process in detail.
This is not about food for hungry human beings. The aquarium industry pays vast sums of money for live dolphins, far greater than they would fetch as "meat," motivating the drive fisheries to continue the brutal practice. In fact, after a filmmaker broadcast worldwide images of the drive fishery (which at that time sold dolphin meat) in the early 1980's, the international outrage and protest forced them to shut down. But when large and powerful aquariums realized their ever-dwindling supply of dolphins could be replaced by victims of the Japanese drive fishery, they made a deal, and after reaching into their pockets the deadly dolphin "drives" resumed in full force.
After captive facilities choose and pay for their specimens, the Japanese drive fishery welcomes the opportunity to slaughter the remaining dolphins which are considered "pests" simply because they "competitively" eat fish in an ocean environment heavily over-fished by humans. Ironically, dolphin meat sold today in Japanese markets, like whale meat also tested, is highly contaminated with 4 to 5 times the maximum levels of mercury and the even more toxic methyl mercury. Yet the Japanese government has done little to prevent the sale of contaminated meat except warn against its consumption by pregnant women and children.
On October 8, 2005, in an International Day of Protest, dozens of organizations and citizens of the world in 40 locations in 28 countries (at this writing) will gather in front of Japanese embassies and consulates to call attention to the infamous "Dolphin Slaughter Central," the Japanese Drive Fisheries, and its perverse and scandalous connection to the global aquarium industry, the self-proclaimed "conservation" and dolphin-protection heroes that actually bring about the deaths of countless numbers of dolphins each year.
We often hear it said, "It's always about money." This is the case here as well. Dolphin swim-with programs charge large sums of money ($150 or more for less than an hour!) to people who eagerly succumb to an industry-hyped compulsion to experience "dolphin love." But although they wear what appears to be a smile (which is really a result of their physiological evolution) it can't be much fun for the dolphins. Dolphin aggression in captivity and injuries to guests are the industry's well-kept, unreported secrets. In these highly stressful confinements, dolphins die prematurely and experience a high calf-mortality rate. In fact, 50% of all dolphins in captivity die within 7 years, an alarming death rate for aquarium owners obscenely enriched by their shows and dolphin swim programs. They will stop at nothing to make sure the money keeps flowing, even if it means the deaths of countless dolphins in drive fisheries and wild captures that are by nature brutal and deadly.
The issue cries out, begs, for media exposure of all forms. Already, a few media outlets, including print and broadcast, have promised coverage. But it will never be enough until these dolphin horror death traps are abolished permanently. Now, it's up to you.
Do you know someone, a child, or an older person, that nearly drowned from some tragic marine mishap until they were mysteriously lifted out of death's throes by a passing dolphin, who actually carried the exhausted person to the nearest boat or beach for safety? Examples of animals that cross the species barrier to aid other species are extremely rare in the natural world, except with dolphins. Because of this, and the many amazing accounts of their documented society and dolphin-human interaction in the wild, many believe these are species of a higher order, with intellect and traits well beyond what we are capable of understanding or willing to accept in non-humans.
Please be there for the dolphins. Please join us as we stand to bring an end to this outrage, this grievous assault against this benevolent oceanic ally of humanity. In New York City we will gather in front of the Japanese Consulate, 299 Park Ave. (at 49th St.) on Saturday, October 8, 2005, from noon until 3 pm.
At the New York City location, members of many organizations will join together for this event. These include the Animal Defenders of Westchester, Cetacean Society International, Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, Humane Society of the United States, In Defense of Animals, New York Whale and Dolphin Action League, PETA, Pigeon People, Sea Shepherd, United Action for Animals and Wildlife Watch, and the list keeps growing!
Your participation is needed. You are being called to this event because of the inherent need within us all to help right the tragic wrongs that we are witnessing here. And you must meet that challenge because you know it's the right thing to do.
This protest event is being held in memory of world renowned activist and animal welfare champion, Ben White, 1951-2005, who once braved the armed guards and frigid waters of a Japanese bay to cut through the nets where 40 dolphins had been driven and were awaiting a cruel death at the hands of the dolphin drive fishery.
Photo Courtesy Howard Hall, BlueVoice
Typically, on the road just above the slaughter-shores, aquarium owners prepare their trucks for the newest dolphin additions that will be "broken" into submission, usually by starvation, for dolphin swim-with programs and performances featuring "stupid dolphin tricks." (Welcome To Taiji)
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