January 29th, 2014~ WDC has given full backing to the recent announcement by Sea Life Marine Conservation Trust (SLMCT) -the newly-established charitable arm of global Sea Life centers -condemning the brutal dolphin drive hunts in Taiji, Japan.
The dolphin hunts in Taiji are fuelled by the demand from the global amusement park industry, which selects and pays huge sums for young dolphins that will appear in ‘entertainment’ shows for the public.
In its statement, Sea Life appealed to zoos and aquaria to cease any association with the hunts where thousands of dolphins may be rounded up and many slaughtered for their meat.
In November 2012, Sea Life also stated their strong opposition to the capture of whales and dolphins from the wild for any purpose following the proposed import of 18 wild-captured belugas from Russia by the Georgia Aquarium in the United States.
“These statements issued by Sea Life Marine Conservation Trust represent a strong indictment against the continuing capture of whales and dolphins from the wild to supply public display facilities in the US and worldwide,” stated Courtney Vail, WDC campaigns and programs manager. “The brutality of the capture and killing methods employed in the dolphin drive hunts is unfathomable, and we welcome the leadership of aquaria who are willing to commit to no longer sourcing whales and dolphins from the wild and phasing out their captive collections. It is time for all aquaria to follow suit and eliminate the vicious cycle of supply and demand that is perpetuating these atrocities.”
WDC believes in supporting initiatives that help end captivity. This includes opposing all sourcing and methods of collection from the wild, making the public aware of the cruelty behind captivity, and finding solutions to phase out existing captive programs through the development of sanctuaries where captive dolphins can be rehabilitated for return to the wild, or provided with retirement options if return is not possible.
“Merlin Entertainments, Sea Life’s parent company, is working with WDC to establish the first permanent sanctuary for captive whales and dolphins where they can retire from entertainment in a natural cove or bay, display behavior more natural to their species and, where possible, undergo rehabilitation for release into the wild,” stated Cathy Williamson, WDC captivity program manager.
The statement from Sea Life is part of the public record, and can be found here: http://www.visitsealife.com/news/