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Earth Island Institute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 18, 2007
3:06 PM

CONTACT: Earth Island Institute
Richard O'Barry, Phone: (305) 668-1619 Cell: (786) 973-8618 E-mail: ricobarry@bellsouth.net David Phillips, Phone (415)788-3666 x145 E-mail: davep@earthisland.org

 
Dominican Republic to Import 12 "Show" Dolphins from Japan Slaughter Pens
Aquarium Industry Subsidizes the Japanese Dolphin Slaughter
 

WASHINGTON - January 18 - Environmental organizations revealed today that two American aquarium specialists are poised to transfer of twelve bottlenose dolphins from Japanese slaughter pens to a Dominican Republic aquarium, Ocean World Adventure Park.

The environmental groups of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition are attempting to stop transfer both because it is grossly inhumane and because it violates provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The twelve dolphins are being held in Taiji, Japan pending the granting of import permits to the Dominican Republic. Stefan Meister, (a German national and vice president of the Ocean World Adventure Park in the Dominican Republic), Dr. Michael Briggs DVM, (an American citizen associated with the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago), and Dr. Ted Hammond, (an American dolphin dealer and marine mammal veterinarian) are brokering the sale and transfer of the twelve dolphins.

The Save Japan Dolphins Coalition has obtained rare broadcast-quality video footage of the cruel, bloody capture of these twelve dolphins in Japan's waters in the port of Taiji.

"This was one of the most violent dolphin captures that I have ever witnessed in my 45 years of working with dolphins," said Richard O'Barry, a marine mammal specialist with the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition. "12 dolphins out of the pod were manhandled out of the water only to be isolated from their pods mates as those pod mates were butchered. And I saw aquarium representatives help with the killing as well as the captures."

Japan kills more than 20,000 dolphins annually, most of which are butchered for sale in meat markets. Coalition representatives claim that the international aquarium industry subsidizes the slaughter by paying $45,000 (US) or more for prime dolphin specimens for dolphin shows and swim-with-dolphins programs.

Ric O'Barry continued: "If the international aquarium industry ceased buying dolphins from the slaughter pens, the dolphin slaughter would be crippled, as dolphins sold for meat on the market only bring the equivalent of a few hundred dollars."

"We are calling on the Dominican Republic's President, Mr. Leonel Fernandez Reyna, to immediately block import of the 12 Japanese dolphins into the country," said David Phillips, Director of Earth Island Institute's International Marine Mammal Project. "It would be unfortunate to have the Dominican Republic's reputation as a environmentally friendly tourist destination wrecked by subsidizing the Japanese dolphin slaughter."

The Save Japan Dolphins Coalition is a group of four environmental and animal protection organizations In Defense of Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Earth Island Institute, and Elsa Nature Conservancy of Japan dedicated to ending the slaughter of dolphins authorized by Japan's Fisheries Agency.

Visuals: Broadcast quality video of Japan's brutal capture of bottlenose dolphins available.

Footage sample available for viewing at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCx0ORuDZFE

Further info on the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition is available at: www.SaveJapanDolphins.org

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