Japan Prince Akishino Supports JAZA Decision!
Japan’s Emperor and his royal family are still very much revered in Japan. However, it is a surprise to hear one speak out on an issue publicly, and now Japan’s Prince Akishino has stated his support for the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) ending the buying of dolphins from Taiji’s bloody dolphin hunts.
Prince Akishino is the second son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, and so second in line for the Japanese Chrysanthemum Throne. Prince Akishino studied law and biology in Gakushuin University, and went on to specialize in fish biology at Oxford University, but received his PhD in ornithology. According to Wikipedia, he introduced the fish tilapia to Thailand for aquaculture. Along with many other honors, he is President of JAZA.
According to Kyodo News: “On the first day of the meeting, Prince Akishino, who serves as president of the association, expressed concern over expected hardships for aquariums with dolphins, but he also said JAZA's decision is likely to generate positive consequences in the future.” Reportedly, participants were taken aback by Prince Akishino’s outspokenness on the issue.
According to the story, JAZA held a two-day annual meeting in Osaka. Despite rumors beforehand, none of JAZA’s member aquariums quit the organization over the decision at the meeting, although several have expressed concern that they will have trouble getting more dolphins for their aquariums as their current animals die off.
JAZA was suspended in April by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) over its continued flaunting of WAZA’s code of ethics, which opposed buying dolphins from Taiji caught in the cruel drive hunts. WAZA’s decision to take action came after many organizations and thousands of individuals have urged WAZA to dump JAZA. In 2004, Earth Island Institute’s Save Japan Dolphins Campaign and the Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan revealed the role of aquariums in buying live Taiji dolphins at high prices, an order of magnitude more than a dolphin could be sold for meat, resulting in a huge subsidy of the dolphin hunters by the captivity industry. JAZA held a vote last week, with a majority agreeing to end buying dolphins from Taiji and remain members in good standing with WAZA.
Prince Akishino’s support for JAZA’s decision is the most important support we have yet seen in Japan for the dolphins. Perhaps he and the royal family are getting fed up with the Japan Fisheries Agency making the country a global pariah over whale and dolphin policies? He and the royal family can help Japan move away from the dolphin and whale slaughter and towards a more scientific and supportive function for Japan in the global community around marine mammals.
WAZA Statement regarding JAZA
decision to prohibit its members
from acquiring dolphins from Taiji
Japanese Aquariums' Link to the Dolphin Slaughter at Taiji
A survey shows that half the dolphins in Japanese facilities are taken from the annual hunts at the cove.
18 obtained dolphins via drive fishery
WAZA Council votes to suspend Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA)
WAZA requires all members to adhere to policies that prohibit participating in cruel and non-selective methods of taking animals from the wild.
For a number of years, WAZA has attempted to work collaboratively with JAZA and its members to stop the collection of animals from the Taiji drives fisheries. Annually the drives draw international attention and criticism for the killing of dolphins and WAZA has previously joined other organizations in speaking out against the practice.
WAZA made ongoing attempts to negotiate the issues including during a meeting in Tokyo last year when WAZA proposed that JAZA enforce a two-year moratorium on taking animals from the drive by its members. The moratorium was rejected by JAZA. The issue was discussed again at WAZA's international conference in November with a goal to influence change in JAZA's position on members accepting animals from the drive fisheries. JAZA responded by proposing some guideline changes that would put restrictions on the method of capturing dolphins and improving animal care, but because it did not restrict taking animals from the drive, WAZA Council concluded that a satisfactory agreement could not be reached and voted to suspend the Japanese association’s membership.
The basis for the suspension is a determination that JAZA has violated the WAZA Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare. Moreover, WAZA Council re-affirmed its position that members of WAZA must confirm that they will not acquire dolphins from the Taiji fishery.
WAZA’s mission is to serve as the voice of a worldwide community of zoos and aquariums and a catalyst for their joint conservation action. One of the ways WAZA accomplishes this mission is through promoting cooperation between national and regional associations. It is important to note that WAZA still remains committed to continuing discussions with JAZA and its members in an effort to end the loss of animal life through the drive fisheries.
Victory! World’s Top Zoo Association Kicks Japan Out Over Cruel Dolphin Drives
- by Alicia Graef. April 24, 2015
- Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/victory-worlds-top-zoo-association-kicks-japan-out-over-cruel-dolphin-drives.html#ixzz3YThFvY9x
- This week, animal advocates are celebrating news that the world’s top zoo association has finally suspended its Japanese member over its ties with the brutal dolphin drives that take place every year in Taiji.
- Conservationists have been working for years to get the World Association for Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) to take a meaningful stand against member facilities that support the live capture of dolphins, but it had yet to take any real action until now.
- WAZA announced that after failing to reach an agreement regarding its policies addressing the acquisition of animals, it voted unanimously to suspend the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) because of its continued involvement with controversial drive hunts.
- Whale and dolphin advocates have brought these hunts into the public’s view, most notably with the award-winning documentary “The Cove,” and have raised international outrage over the mass slaughter and captures of dolphins that continue to take place annually.
- While thousands are butchered and sold for their meat, more are torn from their families and sold to zoos and aquariums for public display. Many have continued to argue that if it weren’t for the money brought in by sales for captivity, the drives would have ended by now.
- WAZA has said it condemns the drives and is not involved in any way, but it had continued to allow JAZA to violate its Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare without consequence. Now JAZA is finally being held accountable.
- WAZA said in a statement that it “requires all members to adhere to policies that prohibit participating in cruel and non-selective methods of taking animals from the wild.” It added: “The basis for the suspension is a determination that JAZA has violated the WAZA Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare. Moreover, WAZA Council re-affirmed its position that members of WAZA must confirm that they will not acquire dolphins from the Taiji fishery.”
- “We congratulate and applaud WAZA Council for doing the right thing,” said the Dolphin Project‘s Ric O’Barry. “Their credibility with their peers has been destroyed. This is a big win for all wild dolphins swimming past the shores of Taiji.”
- The suspension also comes on the heels of a lawsuit that was filed last month by Australia for Dolphins (AFD), which hoped to get WAZA to uphold its Code of Ethics, or give JAZA the boot.
- “The suspension of JAZA following AFD’s legal action is great news. It is a significant first step towards ending the horrific annual dolphin hunts in Taiji,” said Sarah Lucas, CEO of AFD. “Up to 40% of total demand for Taiji dolphins comes from WAZA network aquariums. WAZA’s decision to suspend its Japanese member for involvement in the hunts is a major blow to the world’s largest dolphin trade.”
- According to AFD, JAZA facilities are home to more than 600 dolphins, while more half of JAZA’s 65 members acquire dolphins from the Taiji drive hunts. Whale and Dolphin Conservation, which is also applauding the move, added that since 2004, over 1,200 dolphins caught in the hunts have been sent to dolphinaria in Japan and other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, China, Iran, Palau, the Philippines and Turkey.
- AFD says it will continue with its legal action on behalf of dolphins who end up in other countries and, following the exposure of other serious abuses last month, hopes to get WAZA to enforce its animal welfare policies at all of its member facilities.
- While the announcement is a huge step towards ending the drive hunts, captivity itself is still a major problem for dolphins and cetaceans. The demand won’t end until we stop supporting facilities that keep them.