Wild Welfare comments on the Taiji Dolphin Drive as it gets underway in Japan
The annual Taiji Dolphin Drive is taking place at the moment in the Higashimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. It will continue until March 2017 and during that time a quota of up to 1,800 different species of dolphin, which may include Bottlenose, Risso’s, False killer whales and other individuals, will be taken from the wild.
The annual dolphin drive is sanctioned by the Japanese government and they set the annual quota. Wild dolphins collected during the drive are killed for use in the meat industry or sold to captive entertainment facilities. The drive generates an income for local residents but has received international criticism for the cruelty said to be inflicted on dolphins during the process of capture and killing.
Taiji has received worldwide condemnation because of the animal welfare concerns and in 2015, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) suspended the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA)’s accreditation, because it refused to prohibit its member aquariums from taking dolphins captured in Taiji. It commented that by continuing to take dolphins from the drive, JAZA was violating WAZA’s Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare.
Wild Welfare Director, Georgina commented: “We welcomed WAZA’s decision to act on this issue by working with JAZA to find a solution for their members. The suspension ultimately resulted in JAZA announcing it was banning its members from acquiring dolphins from the drive – a hugely positive step.
“JAZA has a large and growing membership and through this action it demonstrates to the international community that it is committed to improved animal welfare. We commend JAZA for enforcing this position and plan to continue working with them on attaining high standards of animal welfare from all their members.”
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