Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dolphinariums and the Taiji Slaughter

The horrific slaughter of dolphins in Taiji continues to disturb the world. Despite being under constant watch by the Cove Guardians, the dolphin hunters and marine parks continue to essentially rape the Ocean of any dolphins that swim near the coast of Taiji. That is about the extent of the news from Taiji. More and more dolphins are being slaughtered or shipped off to dolphinariums around the world. One famous marine facility, Sea World has labeled the Taiji dolphin slaughter as 'horrible'. Sea World no longer imports their dolphins from Taiji. The reason is that they have no interest anymore in importing dolphins from Taiji. In reality though, the reason is that Six Flags Discovery Kingdom wanted to acquire dolphins from Taiji in 1993. It was ruled that Discovery Kingdom could not import the dolphins as a result of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Since then NO dolphin has been brought into the US from Taiji. This map shows a good look into how the Taiji dolphin slaughter works.

Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

 When push comes to shove, Sea World could lead the way in seeing this horrific slaughter come to an end. However they have done nothing. Since they have stopped purchasing from Taiji, they have taken a stance that makes little sense.The company has done nothing to try to convince other facilities from purchasing from Taiji. Sea World believes that no matter what happens, the slaughter will continue, so the dolphinariums are saving the lives of the dolphins they bring in. The numbers however tell a different story. Financially, the vast majority of the money that the dolphin hunters get is from dolphinariums who purchase the dolphins. Dolphin meat sells for a low price. I do not have the exact numbers, but without the dolphin trade, this industry would be about as worthless as the whaling industry. I do know that a dolphin can sell in Taiji for tens of thousands of dollars. Saying this slaughter would continue without people purchasing dolphins is simply not a true statement. Sea World, the leading facility for seeing marine mammals in captivity, has all of the tools and global influence to really make a push to see this horrific slaughter end. I fully understand that dolphinariums can be amazing educational facilities for anyone interested in dolphins. The dolphins there are certainly ambassadors to their species, but at the same time, the way in which many of these dolphins are obtained are inhumane and frankly brutal. Take a look again at the above map. Two big names stand out. Sea World and Georgia Aquarium. I would love nothing more than to see one of these places step up and fight for these dolphins. I understand how big of an industry the captive dolphin industry is. I understand how good of a thing it can be. It goes horribly wrong though when it winds up supporting such senseless slaughter and hatred. It is the smaller dolphin parks that continue to buy from Taiji. It should be the job of places like Sea World and Georgia Aquarium to educate the smaller facilities on more sustainable and more humane means of bringing dolphins into captivity if it is needed.

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