International environmental organization Earth Island Institute Asia Pacific is urging the Japanese government to end dolphin hunts.
While Japan has been lauded for hosting one of the most sustainable Olympic events in history, the annual dolphin hunting, which resumes every September 1, remains a persistent concern among animal rights activists.
“Every year, about 25 fishermen go out to the sea and herd hundreds of dolphins to a cove where the “nicer” animals will be collected and sold to dolphin parks and the rest slaughtered for food,” Earth Island Institute Asia Pacific said in a statement.
The group added that in 2001, the Philippines began importing dolphins and whales from the Japanese drive fisheries for a marine park.
“Many of these animals have since died. Philippine activists have protested this importation claiming that it violates the Animal Welfare Act (RA 10631) as well as the Fisheries Administrative Orders 185 and 185-1,” the statement further said.
According to the eco-warriors, the hunts have persisted despite the fact that most Japanese do not eat dolphin meat because dolphin parks they say, pay a huge amount of money to purchase animals to be trained for shows.
Since 2020, the COVID lockdowns and restrictions have brought attendance to dolphin parks to a halt with some facilities in the Philippines already requesting the public for donations to feed their animals.
“Keeping wild animals in captivity is unsustainable and is not pandemic resilient,” said Trixie Concepcion of Earth Island Institute.
“If the dolphins had been left in the wild, they would have been able to fend for themselves and find food. Out there in the wild dolphins would not have any risk of being infected by humans they are forced to interact with in dolphin shows,” Concepcion added.
Animal rights activists are calling on the general public to shun dolphin shows which they say are fueling the Taiji hunts.
“If people stop buying tickets to dolphin shows, the killings will stop in Japan,” the group said.