‘Halt annual slaughter of dolphins in Japan’By Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
When the government considers dolphins as fish, there is something seriously flawed in its animal conservation policy.
The country’s biggest gathering of animal rights activists pushed Monday for a halt in the captivity and slaughter of dolphins in anticipation of their annual herding in Taiji, Japan, where the yearly process of selection for the cetaceans to be featured in aquatic shows has resulted in the senseless killing of tens of thousands of the marine mammals.
At a press conference in Quezon City, different animal rights groups called for the reassignment of the government’s authority to issue permits concerning dolphins to a more suitable agency instead of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
They also demanded that all dolphins “held captive” in aquatic shows be returned to their natural marine habitat.
The Earth Island Institute, Animal Kingdom Foundation, Save the Philippine Seas, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Dolphins Love Freedom and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have joined forces to seek an end to the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, a move that they claimed could be done through a boycott of dolphin shows featured in the country’s different marine parks.
Trixie Concepcion of the EII pointed out, “If we truly care about the dolphins, we should never visit facilities… which have or plan to have dolphin shows.” The groups maintained that the dolphins featured in local marine park shows were bought and imported from Taiji town, Wakayama province in Japan, where the annual herding from September to March and eventual slaughter of the dolphins has become a tradition for local fishermen.
“There is a connection with the Philippines because we are importing animals and buying animals from that particular killing,” Concepcion stressed, pointing out that Taiji town is the cheapest source of the dolphins.
For her part, PAWS executive director Anna Cabrera lamented the fact that BFAR has been given the authority to issue permits for the importation and exportation of dolphins. “It is saddening that the people responsible for giving permits are with the BFAR when dolphins are not fish. Why is the power to grant permits (concerning dolphins) with them?” she said.