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Take Action | Tell Zoos and Aquariums To Stop Aiding the Dolphin Killing

Tell Zoos and Aquariums To Stop Aiding the Dolphin Killing

Some members of the dolphin display industry support the slaughter by rewarding whalers with cash for live show dolphins.  Others support the slaughter by simply ignoring it.

With more than 1300 members, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the world's largest network of zoos and aquariums. WAZA describes itself as "the umbrella" organization for the international zoo and aquarium industry, and its huge membership includes leading zoos and aquariums, zoo veterinarians and so-called educators.

More than 200 zoos and aquaria are institutional members of WAZA. Additionally, about 1100 zoos and aquaria are associate members, linked to WAZA "through their membership in a regional or national Association Member of WAZA." 

In its mission description, WAZA uses catch-phrases typical of the dolphinarium industry:

'WAZA's mission is to guide, encourage and support the zoos, aquariums, and like-minded organizations of the world in animal care and welfare, environmental education and global conservation." In their so-called Code of Ethics, WAZA states that, "The continued existence of zoological parks and aquariums depends upon recognition that our profession is based on respect or the dignity of the animals in our care." Furthermore, WAZA officially opposes what it refers to as "Cruel and non-selective methods of taking animals from the wild."

One would think, therefore, that it would be impossible for a dolphinarium that is linked to the Japanese dolphin slaughter to be accepted as a WAZA member. But it is not. WAZA has welcomed several such dolphinariums into their umbrella organization, thereby giving them their stamp of credibility.

Most of the approximately 500 dolphins currently held in Japan's 50 dolphinariums were captured during a violent and deadly dolphin drive hunt. Many of these Japanese dolphinariums are members of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums, also known as JAZA. Despite the fact that JAZA members keep the brutal dolphin hunt alive by doing business with the dolphin killers, WAZA welcomes JAZA as an association member!

TAKE ACTION:

Click HERE to sign a petition urging WAZA to expel all facilities that provide direct or indirect support for the drive capture of dolphins.

Click HERE to check out A Conversation with Scientist Dr. Lori Marino in opposition to Dolphin Captivity

Write a letter to WAZA:

Dr. Gerald Dick, Executive Director
World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
IUCN Conservation Centre
Rue Mauverney 28
CH-1196 Gland
Switzerland

Fax:  +41 (0)22 999 07 91

Ask WAZA to take action to expel member aquariums that buy dolphins caught in association with the drive fisheries in Taiji, Japan, and any other such location.  The Taiji Whale Museum, for example, is a member of the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA), which is the association member of WAZA.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear Dr. Dick:

I am asking you to take action against those member aquariums of WAZA that continue to purchase dolphins and small whales that are caught by the dolphin-killing fishermen of Taiji, Japan.  These aquariums should be expelled from WAZA, including member groups of JAZA, the regional association member of WAZA.  In these barbaric hunts, hundreds of dolphins are ruthlessly slaughtered each year.  Yes, aquariums and dolphin brokers actually HELP the dolphin killers in their work, picking only a few for captivity.  The rest of the dolphins' families are killed for meat that is poisonous and should not be consumed by anyone, yet the aquariums pay the fishermen high prices for the live dolphins, far more than the dolphins are worth for meat.  The result is WAZA and the world aquarium industry subsidizes the killing of dolphins in Taiji.  Please take steps now to end the hunts.

Sincerely,

 

 

In October 2005, following heavy pressure from us to take a stand on the Japanese dolphin drive hunt, WAZA issued a long-awaited statement opposing the Japanese dolphin hunt. WAZA, in polite terms, reminds its members to "adhere to the WAZA Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare and ensure that they do not accept animals obtained by the use of methods which are inherently cruel." The statement, which is entitled "WAZA Members not to Purchase Dolphins from Drive Fisheries," goes on to say: "In a resolution adopted at the WAZA  ...it was clearly stated that the catching of dolphins by the use of a method known as "drive fishing" is considered an example of such a non acceptable capture method. WAZA appeals also to those aquaria and dolphinaria, which are not institutional members, to refrain from purchasing dolphins obtained by drive fisheries."

No requirements. No demands. No warnings of being expelled from WAZA if the Code of Ethics is not followed. Today, the statement is hidden away on WAZA's website, under "Archives."

On its website, WAZA says: "All members of the WAZA Network are obliged to comply with WAZA's Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare."

And: "Failure to satisfy or adhere to the Bylaws, Code of Ethics and all other rules and regulations shall be sufficient cause for suspension or denial of membership."

So here it is in black and white: WAZA should expel JAZA immediately.

The WAZA Network consists of "educators" and marine mammal veterinarians. If their mission is all about encouraging animal care and welfare, and that's what they say, then how can they continue to be friendly with dolphinariums that endorse and even participate in the annual massacres and deadly captures of dolphins?

The infamous Taiji Whale Museum, which has become the Japanese brokering facility for dolphins captured during a dolphin drive hunt, is a member of JAZA. So are numerous other Japanese dolphinariums that take advantage of the dolphin massacres to obtain dolphins.

WAZA has the power to document, expose and stop the world's largest dolphin slaughter. Doing so would put action behind their promise that their profession is based on "respect" and dignity" of their animals. WAZA's lack of action is even more shocking when one realizes that more than 600 million people walk through the gates of the WAZA Network each year! WAZA could reach all these people with a message to help stop the dolphin slaughter. After all, the world's dolphinariums claim that they capture and confine dolphins in order to educate the public to the various threats that dolphins face in nature. If the world’s largest network of zoos and aquariums is not going to educate the public to the largest slaughter of dolphins in the world – then what exactly are they doing? When does this alleged "education" begin? Is WAZA perhaps afraid to offend those of their own colleagues and fellow members who make a living doing business with the dolphin killers? And could that also be the reason why WAZA does not immediately enforce their own Code of Ethics and expel those of its members that take advantage of the Japanese dolphin massacres?

We can only guess.

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