09/13/13 Protest Note to the Ambassador of Japan
EMBASSY OF JAPAN
His Excellency Mr Tetsuhisa Shirakawa
Josipa Rudjera Boskovica 2
September 10, 2013
We are writing to you as citizens of the European Union who join campaigns in over a thousand locations throughout the world, with over a hundred non-government organizations that are against dolphin killings in Japan.
Every year from September to April in the bay of Taiji town in Japan around 20,000 dolphins are slaughtered, despite the International Whaling Commission (IWC) having declared commercial whale hunting against the law back in 1986. The purpose of the hunt is catching live dolphins for aqua parks and aquariums, as well as slaughtering dolphins for their meat. In coastal areas dolphins are hunted in small boats by forcing them into nets with loud banging noises that ruin their sensitive sonar, leaving them in the state of panic. After they’ve been caught in the net, they are dragged to the coast or kept in shallow water of the bay where they stay until they are slaughtered.
After a live dolphin has been chosen for an aqua park or aquarium, he is separated from his family that he is closely connected to, transported by lorries and planes, and thrown into pools where he faces difficult chances of surviving. He has to adjust quickly to his new environment where he can no longer swim the usual 40 miles per day in the open sea, socialize with his community nor correctly use his sonar. Over half of captive dolphins die within two years of being captured. Dolphins that fishermen kill for their meat experience a brutal death in shallow bays where they are killed with spears, knives and hooks.
The primary economic driver for dolphin hunting is the multi-million dollar aqua park business, which provides the fishermen with resources for additional slaughter for meat. Most citizens in Japan are not aware of the dolphin hunt and the serious toxicity of their meat which contains high levels of mercury and Polychlorinated bipheny (PCB). The international attention and protests are trying to stop this shameful practice in the 21st century.
There are multiple threats to dolphins and whales today - deaths due to entanglement in fishing nets, confinement industry, whale hunting, pollution of the sea and military use of high sonar waves. As the Ambassador, you have the power to forward this message and concern to your government as a request to ban dolphin slaughter, as well as live dolphin trade for the needs of the captivity industry in Japan and export to other countries.
We think that Japan should build its country's reputation on respect of these intelligent creatures, and not cause outrage from the whole world with animal slaughter. If Japan does not stop this bloody practice, it can also expect an international boycott of the import of Japanese products, which will have a negative impact on Japan’s economic development.
In hope that this appeal for civilised treatment towards animals in Japan will encounter your understanding and thoughtfulness, we thank you for all the steps you will take in order to protect the dolphins.