World’s top zoo organisation accused of links to Taiji dolphin slaughter in Japan

Pulling dolphins on boatThe world’s leading zoo organisation has been accused of being complicit in the infamous dolphin hunts in Taiji, Japan, by helping secure captured dolphins for one of its members, despite publicly condemning the practice.

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Waza) is being taken to a Swiss court by conservationists who accuse it of misleading conduct over its stance on the Taiji dolphin hunts, which gained global attention through the documentary The Cove.

Waza is accused of sanctioning a private deal involving the fishermen who herd and slaughter the dolphins and the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Jaza), which is an associate Waza member.

Waza’s code of ethics labels the dolphin hunts “inherently cruel”, but it allegedly agreed a “dolphin management protocol” with Jaza in 2009 that involved a “gentler” method of herding small numbers of dolphins towards shore where they would be captured for aquariums.

At a meeting in August Waza suggested a two-year moratorium on dolphin drive hunts, but this was rejected by Jaza, Waza said. Instead, Jaza proposed – and Waza allegedly agreed – that during September no dolphins would be killed, but Jaza would get first pick of those that were rounded up, in large numbers if necessary.

After that, three other organisations – Dolphin Resort, Dolphin Base and the Taiji Town Development Public Corporation – could purchase excess animals, with the rest released. Conservationists claim conditions at these aquariums, including the 37 Jaza member aquariums that take dolphins from Taiji, are terrible.

Full story: The Guardian


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