What to Do about Japan Dolphin Day?
Tuesday, August 8, 2006 Posted: 09:44 AM JST
Dolphin activist Richard O'Barry is organizing another Japan Dolphin Day to protest what he calls the 'Japanese Dolphin Slaughter', for September 20th. In his latest article he asks for input on ideas: "Sign another petition? Protest? Or pack?"
(by Richard O'Barry) - There is only so much that one can do with all the various marine mammal issues. The question is: How do we budget our time and money so that we can be more effective in our attempt to stop the Japanese dolphin slaughter? Do we simply sign another petition and get on with our life? Or show up on September 20th for Japan Dolphin Day and protest in front of a Japanese embassy or consulate office? Or pack our bags and head for Japan to do something more about the problem?
(Does anyone have any new ideas for other options? Please let us know, we are willing to try almost anything as long as it's peaceful and lawful.)
Let's take a look at the three options we have so far:
1. Sign a petition: Petitions are always a good thing. Sometimes, however, they can be counter-productive. Once you sign it -- and that takes about four seconds -- you may be reluctant to do more than that. After all, you did sign a petition that clearly states that you are against this barbaric practice. So you did your part, right? Do you really need to do more than that?
The dolphin captivity industry has a new petition floating around. Several marine mammal scientists and others in the industry have signed it. We did, too. Everyone feels good about that, and it would be helpful if the one million signature goal is reached and government officials in Japan actually respond to it. But the question remains: Will any of those who signed on do anything else to stop the annual dolphin slaughter and the related captures for dolphinariums? Or did their involvement stop with a signature? The answer is blowing in the wind.
2. Protesting the dolphin slaughter: Here's another option you might consider. Showing up at the international Japanese embassies every year is one sure way to let the Japanese government know that we will not go away until the dolphin slaughter has been abolished. Protesting puts a face on the petition that we all signed. Actually, one can participate in both actions. You can sign a petition and show up for a few hours to express your opinion. We are talking about investing a few hours for just one day in the entire year. Total time invested: Two hours and four seconds.
We have invited the authors of the new petition to join us for Japan Dolphin Day. We sent the invitation to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The WCS are the "owners" of more captive wildlife than any other corporation in the world. They own tens of thousands of animals at the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo Central Park Zoo, among other holdings. If their industry showed up for Japan Dolphin Day, it could be the start of something big. WCS is associated with the American Zoological Association and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Their home-page states that they are "concerned about wildlife and conservation," yet there is no mention of the Japanese dolphin captures and killings.
We also requested that WCS contact others in their industry, such as the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA.) We would like to invite them to the demo. Check out their website to see how serious IMATA is about this issue. IMATA's video is quite revealing.
3. Pack your bags and head for Japan is the third option. Not enough people are considering this one. The Japanese whalers told us that they do not want westerners showing up to witness the dolphin slaughter or the related dolphin captures. So why not give them exactly what they don't want? Let's show up in full force!
We need more creative ideas. We all need to work together on developing a long-term strategy that will bring attention to the problem. We need more people who are willing to show up in Japan. We need to commit more money to this issue. You may not realize it, but this issue is actually bigger that the whaling issue. It's even bigger than the tuna/dolphin issue. In spite of this, it's still an obscure issue due to the fact that most NGOs are not really thinking about this problem -- it's not on their agenda. By the way, we are including the dalls porpoise slaughter in this. Most NGOs who work on marine mammal issues don't even have a budget set aside for this issue. Amazing but true -- check it out. Think about it -- how much is your NGO spending on this particular issue. Don't know? Ask!
As of this writing, 32 NGOs have pledged to show up and give the dolphins a few hours of their time on September 20th. They have also pledged to ask their families, friends and members to show up, too. This is helpful indeed. Thank you very much.
If I have left anyone off the list by a mistake, please contact me: ricobarry [at] bellsouth [dot] net
Animal Welfare Institute - Washington DC
Begley's Best - Los Angeles
Born Free Foundation - London
British Divers Marine Life Rescue - London
Captive Animals Protection Society - London
COMARINO - Mexico City
Committee for a Dolphinarium-free Belgium - Brussels
Dolphin Project - Miami
Earth Island Institute - San Francisco
Environmental Investigative Agency - London
Friends of Dolphins - Toronto
Global Ocean - London
GAIA - Brussels
Society for Conservation of Marine Mammals - Berlin
HSUS - Washington DC
HSI - International Cities
In Defense of Animals - National Cities
International Animal Rescue - London
Last Chance for Animals - Los Angeles
LINC - Hong Kong
Marine Connection - London
Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition - Boston
No Whales In Captivity - Vancouver
Nomades des Oceans - Paris
NY Whale and Dolphin Action League - New York
One Voice - Paris
Orca Network - Seattle
Rattle the Cage - Miami
Responsible Animal Care Society - Vancouver
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - International Cities
WDCS - London
WSPA USA - Boston
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