Taiji Mayor: We Will Not Quit
In the wake of the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums' decision not to source dolphins from Taiji, officials from that coastal town and the Japanese government are insisting on the 'right' to kill and capture wild dolphins.
Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga defended the Taiji hunts, describing them as “a sustainable fishing [method] under appropriate control by the government... and carried out carefully so that dolphins are not hurt”. (Emphasis added)
"We are hunting under the permission of the Japanese government and prefecture, and so we will continue to protect our fishermen and the methods. We will not quit," said Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen. The Taiji Whale Museum, which brokers most of the live captive dolphins in Taiji to other aquariums around the world, is actually owned by the Taiji town council.
Mayor Sangen also told reporters that Taiji is considering setting up a dolphin breeding center by penning off a section of Taiji bay. "We believe it can become the world's main provider (of dolphins). I believe in 10 years our town will have changed its role in all this," Mayor Sangen told reporters.
However, the breeding plans are not intended to replace the killing of dolphins. "(Drive hunting) is a legal fishing. The town will protect the fishing operated by our fishermen with the proper right," Mayor Sangen said, emphasizing the tradition of the hunt. The traditional argument, however, has long been proven as being completely false. The Taiji dolphin drive hunts began only in 1969.
The breeding center echoes rumored plans for a Taiji whale farm that first surfaced decades ago. That facility, planned as a 69-acre enclosed bay that would house the unfortunate cetaceans caught from the drives right next door to the Taiji Whale Museum at the notorious Cove, had even reportedly planned to keep minke whales and orcas within the enclosure. The plans keep changing, and likely Taiji officials still have no money to pursue their grandiose vision, which would include a hotel complex, kayaks and swimming with the captive dolphins, and likely plenty of whale and dolphin meat on hand for the tourists.
Over the years, the spotlight of international attention on Taiji has created awareness and sadness regarding the hunts, both within the country and internationally. Now this is compounded by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums demanding that Japanese aquariums halt any dolphin trade with the cruel Taiji operation.
But instead of recognizing the need to end the killing and live captures, Taiji officials are sticking their heads in the sand and pretending that all is fine.
We must continue to let Mayor Sangen and the Japanese government know that until the drive killing and live capture of dolphins ends, the pressure both within and outside Japan will continue to grow.
Please sign this petition to intensify the pressure on Mayor Sangen and the Japanese government.