South Korea Bans Taiji Dolphins!
On March 20, the Ministry of Environment announced amendments to the Enforcement Decree of the Act on the Protection and Management of Wildlife that will prohibit the import of dolphins who are captured by “cruel methods.” The amendment appears to directly address the dolphin drive hunts in Taiji, which see dolphins driven to shore, separated from their families and either killed with a long harpoon, or kept alive and shipped to aquariums in Japan and around the world, or driven back out to sea. The Taiji hunters will no longer be able to sell dolphins to South Korea!
The group Hot Pink Dolphins, which helped spearhead the successful release of captive dolphins a few years ago, called this new law a “miracle.” This group is one among many that have been protesting the inhumane drive hunts in Taiji for years.
A separate report also calls Korean whaling into question. As a member of the International Whaling Commission, South Korea abides by the global moratorium on whaling, however the flesh from whale bycatch – where they are caught accidentally – is still permitted to enter markets. In Ulsan, a now-defunct commercial whaling town, whale meat is still a local specialty, though according to a survey, many consumers do not know whether the whale meat was caught unintentionally or not, expressing concern that the whales were caught illegally.
Further, an astonishing 88 percent of survey respondents said that whaling should be banned.
We are thrilled to hear of the increasing compassion towards cetaceans in South Korea, and we hope that our nations can work together in ending cruelty towards all animals – such as cows, chickens and pigs who are consumed in vast numbers in the United States and elsewhere, and also the dog meat trade which is present in South Korea.
Change happens slowly, but South Korea certainly appears to be moving in the direction of protecting dolphins and whales. Meanwhile, in the United States, new captive dolphin facilities continue to open up, such as the Mississippi Aquarium.