Today, Japan’s peak zoo body (JAZA), and all its member aquariums, in a historic decision agreed to stop buying dolphins from the Taiji fishery, thereby complying with WAZA’s Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare.

OceanCare welcomes this decision, because drive hunts are very cruel as such, and the captured dolphins are condemned to struggle in captivity where they are deprived of everything: their natural behavior, their complex family ties and their freedom.

The decision shows that JAZA accepted that the live captures from the drive hunts violates WAZA’s Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare. This sends a strong message internationally and, importantly, to other non-JAZA member aquaria and thus, will positively influence on the future situation of the drive hunts in Taiji. It also shows that the excuse, that the drive hunts are allowed by Japanese law does not uphold and is rejected internationally.

The trade in dolphins, and with this, the captivity industry, are the drivers for the cruel dolphin drive hunts. OceanCare is confident that today’s decision by the JAZA members is one of the first, but most important steps to end the violent drive hunts.

However, today’s decision shouldn’t mean that now that it is chosen no longer to source from the drive hunts in Taiji, JAZA members will source elsewhere (e.g., in other coastal round-ups), thereby pushing the capture process elsewhere around Japan through other methods.