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Dying to Amuse Us

In the early part of the 20th Century, zoos around the world paid mercenaries to obtain animals for them. These mercenaries would attack an entire band of mountain gorillas. They would slaughter all the adults and capture the babies for shipment to zoos in Europe and America. They would sell off the parts like the hands and heads to collectors. The meat was referred to as “bush meat.”

This was acceptable behavior then, although most people would be horrified if zoos continued to do this today.

Zoos have long abandoned the slaughter capture approach to securing specimens. Marine aquariums have not.

This is exactly the method used today by many marine aquariums around the world: Capture an entire pod of dolphins, select the prime specimens, and kill the rest for meat and trophies like dolphin teeth and skulls.

Taiji is a place where dolphins and small whales are captured for sale to marine aquariums. The ones that are not sold into slavery are slaughtered. The zoo collection techniques once so common and now totally unacceptable elsewhere remain common practice in Japan.

The marine aquariums that purchase these captured dolphins are complicit in the slaughter, and any person that patronizes these seaquariums are also complicit in these brutal killings. If you pay admission to such an establishment, you are helping to kill dolphins and whales. It’s as simple as that.

There are nine Taiji dolphins now in Egypt. Four are being held in very poor conditions. They are actually being kept in a private swimming pool. There are five more dolphins from Taiji that have been shipped to Egypt in the last few days.

Other Taiji dolphins have been shipped to Mexico, Turkey, Dubai, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea. Many have gone to the 50 Japanese marine aquarium facilities.

In past years, Miami Seaquarium, Sea World, and Indianapolis Zoo have received captured dolphins. This is no longer happening. Or is it?

And apparently the United States Navy has purchased dolphins from Japan to be trained for military purposes like guarding ports and planting mines.

Sea World has publicly condemned The Cove, and they have stated as nonsense that Sea World would purchase dolphins from Taiji.

Yet just this year Sea World applied for a permit to import a pilot whale from Japan.

From the Federal Registry, January 4th, 2010 – Summary

Notice is hereby given that Sea World, Inc., 9205 South Park Circle, Suite 400, Orlando, FL 32819, has applied in due form for a permit to import one pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) for the purposes of public display.

The applicant requests authorization to import one male nonreleasable stranded pilot whale from Kamogawa SeaWorld 1404-18 Higashi-cho, Kamogawa, Chiba, Japan to Sea World of California. The applicant requests this import for the purpose of public display. The receiving facility, Sea World of California, 1720 South Shores Road, San Diego, CA 92109-7995 is: (1) open to the public on regularly scheduled basis with access that is not limited or restricted other than by charging for an admission fee; (2) offers an educational program based on professionally accepted standards of the AZA and the Alliance for Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums; and (3) holds an Exhibitor’s License, number 93-C-0069, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 – 59).

Source (21 Sept 10): http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/

The permit stipulates that the whale must have been stranded. Driving a pilot whale up onto the beach at Taiji is effectively stranding it.

Fifteen pilot whales were slaughtered in the Cove yesterday and yet Sea World has no problem importing a pilot whale from a nation that slaughters thousands of dolphins every year.

This makes every person who purchases a ticket to Sea World complicit in the horrifically cruel slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins.

These dolphins, so cute and so intelligent that spectators applaud and cheer as they perform tricks at marine aquariums around the world, are literally dying a slow death of agony for the amusement of a jaded public that simply does not care what the price of their entertainment costs in suffering and death.

Every time a dolphin jumps through a hoop at Sea World or any other facility that enslaves dolphins, there is a history of horror that brought that dolphin to perform for their amusement.

Not much different really than the animals that died in the coliseum for the amusement of Romans two thousand years ago.

The dolphins of Taiji are just dying to amuse us.

Captain Paul Watson, a co-founder of the Greenpeace Foundation, is director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

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