OceanCare, was a member of the Save Japan Dolphins Coalition for many years and alongside the former "Flipper" trainer Ric O'Barry, has fought for an end to the Japanese dolphin hunt. Ric O'Barry’s mission in Taiji was filmed in the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove" and, for the first time, the general public were made aware about the dark side of dolphinaria.
The film also promulgated the fact that high levels of pollutants (such as mercury, PCBs and DDT) contaminate the dolphin meat. Since 1997, OceanCare has been involved with and supported the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in the examination of whale and dolphin meat sold in Japan. The results were horrendous: the mercury content of the examined samples, inter alia, exceeded the limit values for mercury set in Japan by 5,000 times.
Spoiling the Appetite for Dolphin Meat
In 2009, OceanCare and the EIA issued a report "Poisonous Policies", informing the Japanese government and Japanese embassies around the world about the scandal and demanded that the meat of whales and dolphins be taken off the market or, at least, provided with a health warning. The appeal went unheeded. The poisonous "delicacy" is still being sold in Japan and even served in school canteens and retirement homes.
OceanCare has joined forces with renowned organisations* in “the Toxic Team” which warns consumers against the health risks. OceanCare has launched, together with Pro Wildlife, an online database which solely incorporates scientific publications. The database www.toxic-menu.org is designed for decision makers, scientists, human health authorities as well as the concerned public in whaling nations. The site shows relevant data as to the level of toxic substances in whale meat as well as associated contamination levels in consumers including human related health risks.
Further, under www.suigin-iranai.jp information is continually published in Japanese on mercury contamination. Also, consumer protection organisations - including the Consumers Union of Japan – make sure that consumers are being informed.
The falling demand for dolphin meat takes away the economic incentive for the drive hunt in Taiji. While the mortality rate in 2008 was at almost 1,800 animals, by the end of 2012, the number dropped to around 400 dolphins. The strategy (to drive down demand) is working.
OceanCare also stays on top with regard to live catches – for more details see section "dolphinaria".
Raise your Voice for the Dolphins
Since 2004, OceanCare has circulated about 400,000 protest cards in Switzerland which were subsequently submitted to the Japanese Embassy in Bern. The campaign will continue until the dolphins are safe from the hunters.
Order Protest Cards now:
Tel. 044 780 66 88 or email@example.com
* Members of the Toxic Team: OceanCare (CH), Animal Welfare Institute (USA), Campaign Whale (UK), Elsa Nature Conservancy (JP), Environmental Investigation Agency (UK), Pro Wildlife (D), Whale and Dolphin Conservation (D/UK)
Actions against Japanese Dolphin Hunt
Each year during the months of September to February, schools of dolphins, numbering a hundred or more, migrate through Japanese coastal waters. Fishermen of the fishing village of Taiji track the animals and drive them into a cove where representatives of the dolphinaria industry select future "show stars" often purchasing them for up to CHF 150,000. The remaining animals are slaughtered and their meat ends up on the shelves of Japanese supermarkets.