The "Act for Dolphins" campaign involves scientists and veterinarians from the New York Aquarium, Emory University, the School of Medicine at the University of San Diego, Dalhousie University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Notre Dame, and professionals from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The immediate goals of the campaign are to raise public awareness of the dolphin drive hunts , to boost measurable support through the group's website petition (www.actfordolphins.com) which currently includes over 22,000 signatures, and to convince the Japanese government to end the hunts on ethical grounds.
According to the group, the ethical argument for ending the drive is supported by a solid foundation of scientific evidence indicating that dolphins possess the mental and emotional capacities for pain and suffering on a par with great apes and humans. It is also increasingly clear that dolphins have social traditions and cultures, complex interdependent relationships, and strong family ties all of which are susceptible to disruption or even dissolution in the drives.
"The scientific evidence is abundantly clear--the Japanese dolphin hunts are an assault on intelligent, sentient, and emotional beings with brains that should make us all stop and think" said Dr. Lori Marino, Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University.
Aside from the issue of welfare, researchers point out that the dolphin drive hunts also raise concerns about the conservation status of several species of cetacean taken in the hunts, which indiscriminately target all species of cetacean.
Source:Wildlife Conservation Society