US Captivity Industry Fuels Demand for Dolphin Slaughters
The annual dolphin killing season in Taiji, Japan begins every year on September 1 and runs until March of the next year. While these brutal and bloody hunts are horrific, it’s important to understand the reason they continue. The captivity industry – places like SeaWorld – is the primary motivation for the hunters to continue these hunts, since live, trained dolphins can fetch a much higher price than the ones who are butchered for their flesh.
During the hunts, wild dolphins are driven into a cove along the coast of Taiji and held, sometimes for days, while “show-quality” individuals are selected and torn away permanently from their families. These devastated individuals will later be trained and sold to aquariums in Japan and around the world. The remaining dolphins are either brutally killed and butchered for their flesh, or turned loose into the ocean where they suffer from the significant trauma of severed familial ties or from having witnessed the deaths of their podmates.
The quotas for this year’s dolphin hunting season in Taiji, set by Japan’s Fisheries Agency, total 1,940 individuals, including 414 bottlenose dolphins, 450 striped dolphins and 400 pantropical spotted dolphins, according to Cetabase.
While demand for captive dolphin entertainment may be declining in certain places within the United States, in others the industry is attempting to gain a foothold. The Mississippi Aquarium, slated for downtown Gulfport, plans on including a new dolphin aquarium.
If you haven't taken action already, please email the mayor of Gulfport and ask him to not include dolphins in the new Mississippi Aquarium!