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Renewed dolphin slaughter prompts new campaign

As the annual dolphin drive hunts begin in the Japanese villages of Taiji and Futo, a consortium of scientists and zoo and aquarium professionals has launched a campaign to end the practices through public awareness and by appealing to the government of Japan to put an end to the hunts. The "Act for Dolphins" campaign--which includes members from The New York Aquarium, Emory University, and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) --maintains that the hunts, which result in the deaths of thousands of dolphins every year, are inhumane by any ethical standard and should be discontinued immediately.

Occurring annually from September to April, the dolphin hunts are regulated by the Japanese government and conducted by groups of fishermen who herd hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dolphins and small cetaceans into shallow bays by banging on partially submerged rods that create a sonic barrier. The dolphins are then corralled into nets and dispatched in a brutal manner: speared, hooked, hoisted into the air by their tails, and finally eviscerated alive. The methods, say researchers, result in a long and painful death for these intelligent marine mammals.

The Japanese government has made the unsupported claim that the animals compete with local fishermen for limited supplies of fish and that the drives are in fact a means of pest control. Also, the "Act for Dolphins" consortium maintains that, in spite of the fact that the hunting of dolphins and use of their meat has waned in popularity, the government is actually encouraging the public to consume more dolphin meat; in addition to human consumption, dolphin meat is also used as pet food and fertilizer. The drive hunts also result in the capture of live dolphins for aquariums and interactive swim programs in Japan and China, in direct violation of the Code of Ethics maintained by WAZA.

"The Japanese dolphin drive hunts are an abominable violation of any standard of animal welfare, and
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Source:Wildlife Conservation Society


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