Dolphins Shipped From Japan To Vietnam
WDCS strongly condemns the recent transport of dolphins from Japan to Vietnam by Hong Kong Airlines. The transport of five dolphins from Osaka to Hanoi reportedly occurred on January 16th, and after a stop-over in Hong Kong. Dolphins acquired from Japan most likely were taken in the dolphin drive hunts that occur primarily in the coastal town of Taiji. This devastatingly cruel practice involves the herding of dolphins at sea and driving and corralling them into the confines of a cove where they are slaughtered for meat or kept alive for sale to marine parks and aquaria across the globe. Yearly quotas for these drive hunts reach into the thousands, where small cetaceans of several species, including bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins, spotted dolphins, false killer whales and short-finned pilot whales, are taken.
Over 1,200 dolphins were killed in the 2010-2011 hunt season. Figures provided unofficially by Wakayama Prefectural authorities and by observers on the ground indicate that at least 100 dolphins were taken alive for aquaria last season. The demand for live dolphins serves as a catalyst and economic stimulus for the hunts to continue, as individual live dolphins are worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Dolphins from the drive hunts are being shipped within Japan and all over the globe to captive facilities for display and swim-with-the-dolphin programs. Recent shipments of dolphins from the Taiji hunts have been sent to Egypt, Ukraine, Armenia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and China, and now Vietnam. It is a safe assumption that the animals that were transported in January from Japan were taken from the dolphin drive hunts.
WDCS does not believe dolphins should ever be airline cargo, regardless of their origin and destination, except for limited circumstances when transport is necessary for their health and welfare.
WDCS has been on the ground in Taiji, and will continue to work for an end to these brutal drive hunts. We have been active in confronting the hunts in Japan on a number of levels, from raising awareness of the hunts, taking part in peaceful protests and visiting Japan to document them. We have worked with the marine mammal scientific community to garner a public statement against these hunts, and helped secure a congressional resolution condemning the practice. WDCS has also worked to secure the acknowledgement of the public display industry of its complicity in fueling the dolphin drive hunts through the demand generated by marine parks and aquaria that either directly, or indirectly, source live dolphins from these hunts, including in our 2006 report Driven by Demand at http://www.wdcs.org/submissions_bin/drivenbydemand.pdf
And within Japan, we have developed an educational campaign with our Japanese colleagues to educate the public about whales and dolphins, their beauty, their biology and the threats that they face. More recently, we contributed to the development of the Beautiful Whale Project, an attempt to bring art, science and communities together in search of common ground in our love and appreciation for whales and dolphins.
Let your voices be heard! Please encourage Hong Kong Airlines to not support the trade in live dolphins and put an end to any future transportation of this precious cargo. Please send your polite email calling for an end to the capture, transport and confinement of dolphins to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
A sample letter is provided below that you can tailor to provide your own message!
Hong Kong Airlines
Mr. Yang Jian Hong, President
Dear Mr. Hong:
I am alarmed by reports that Hong Kong Airlines recently transported dolphins from Japan to Vietnam. This shipment poses severe conservation and welfare concerns and I urge your airline to refuse any further shipments of dolphins. Otherwise, your airline is directly supporting the worldwide demand that perpetuates the capture, transport and slaughter of these sentient and awe-inspiring beings.
The capture and trade in live dolphins is highly controversial, and is strongly opposed by the general public. Furthermore, any dolphins acquired from Japan most likely were taken in the dolphin drive hunts that occur primarily in the coastal town of Taiji. This devastatingly cruel practice involves the herding of dolphins at sea and driving and corralling them into the confines of a cove where they are slaughtered for meat or kept alive for sale to marine parks and aquaria across the globe. Yearly quotas for these drive hunts reach into the thousands, where small cetaceans of several species, including bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins, spotted dolphins, false killer whales and short-finned pilot whales, are taken.
Dolphins are wondrous creatures in many ways. Did you know that the bottlenose dolphin — like great apes and humans — can recognize itself in a mirror? Family bonds are extremely strong, and one dolphin will assist another who is ill, or in childbirth, or unable to care for her young. I oppose their capture, transport and confinement in captivity.
I respectfully request that your airline stop doing business with dolphin traders that are undermining the conservation and welfare of dolphins worldwide. Transporting dolphins to captive destinations only fuels their continuing cruel capture from the wild.
Related programme links:Captivity
Killing and trade