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Japanese Aquariums Break Ties with Town Known for Dolphin Slaughter

posted: 05/20/15
by: Danny Clemens
Bottleneck dolphin raises its head out of water.
Jeff Foott/DCL

The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) has effectively voted to cease acquiring dolphins from Taiji, a small Japanese town infamous for its controversial dolphin hunting methods.

The Taiji dolphin hunt takes place annually over the summer, and involves a small group of fishermen who herd entire pods of dolphins into a secluded cove. After fisherman close off the entrance to the cove, they individually slaughter the dolphins by severing their brainstems with a pin, causing near-instant death.

Activism group whales.org estimates that up to 17,000 dolphins are killed annually as part of the practice, many for their red meat. Against the membership rules of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), however, JAZA member institutions habitually purchased exhibit animals from fishermen involved in the drive.

After negations to end the practice stalled, WAZA voted unanimously to suspend the JAZA's membership earlier this year, citing Japan's "cruel and non-selective methods of taking animals from the wild".

Earlier today, a majority of JAZA's membership voted to reaffirm the organization's membership in WAZA, The Guardian reports. Although no official announcement has been made regarding the Taiji drive, JAZA's vote effectively confirms that it will comply with WAZA's directive and cut ties with the town.

Learn more about dolphins:

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Race to the Dolphin Dinner Table
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