Tag Archives: Sea Shepherd

Taiji: An unsustainable and inhumane dolphin hunt

Between September 26 and September 28, in Taiji, Japan, an entire family of pilot whales was eradicated from the face of the planet.

Pilot whales fighting for their lives and losing, in Taiji, Japan.  Photo by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians

Pilot whales fighting for their lives and losing, in Taiji, Japan. Photo by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians

UnsustainableThis kind of removal of entire components of a gene pool is unsustainable, and is addressed under the laws of certain countries, if not Japan’s.  Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, 16 U.S.C. §1361- 1421 (MMPA), the term “population stock” or “stock” means “a group of marine mammals of the same species or smaller taxa in a common spatial arrangement, that interbreed when mature.”  Under the MMPA, stocks are protected.  The term “strategic stock” means “a marine mammal stock . . . for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level.”  The Taiji hunters exceed this mortality level in nearly every single encounter they have with dolphins during hunt season, because they are the proximate and direct cause of the kill and capture of significant portions of, if not entire, stocks of dolphins, even if some of the cause is less visible.

While the US law, and its notion of “strategic stock,” does not impact how the Taiji hunters conduct the drive hunt, it does impact U.S. aquariums.  The concept of “strategic stock” clearly prevents the importation into the United States of any dolphin captured in Taiji because the capture techniques there violate the concept of “stock”, and no animal so caught may be imported into the United States.  So, it is convenient for a U.S. aquarium that the public is largely unaware that such importation into the United States would never be permitted (assuming the proper decision is rendered by the permitting agency) when it “denounces” such drive hunts.  One wonders how the U.S. aquarium industry would view such hunts if it had a prayer of obtaining a dolphin from one.

Inhumane. For purposes of humaneness, the way in which this family was eradicated fails by any measure:

  • Two of the younger ones were taken for a “life” of captivity in the aquarium/marine park/swim-with industry either in Japan or internationally.  The life of a wild dolphin when it is restricted to a concrete tank or even to an “encounter cove” is so far removed from a natural life – devoid of natural family units, natural hunting behaviors, natural food and water, natural movement in straight lines over many miles and to much more varied (greater) depth – that it would be recognized in any ethics-based evaluation as “inhumane”.
  • Fifteen were killed, and their flesh sold as food. Whether food for humans or for some other, the flesh is recognized to contain toxic levels of contaminants, chiefly mercury and PCBs. The knowing and volitional spread of such contamination within Japan or to citizens of other nations is a reckless endangerment to others, and it must end.
  • Approximately 10 were driven back out, after two days of being traumatized by noise, food and water deprivation, watching family members taken from them and others killed, as the “survivors” watched.  These 10 or more pilot whales, likely the smaller whose bodies wouldn’t fetch poundage sufficient to include in the “kill/capture” quota, are believed to have become trapped in the Taiji harbor nets, having been unseen since they neared the nets. These air-breathing mammals would have then drowned. So killed they were, and should be accounted for in the “kill/capture” quota.

We can hope that the “survivors” will be spotted today, but even if they survive the immediacy of drowning in the nets, their chances for survival, without the matriarch and the other mature members of the family, are significantly diminished. The young have lost their protectors, their mentors, all the members who hold the majority of necessary survival skills. So whether they survive the nets, they have been, at least decimated in the short term, and quite likely eradicated in any meaningful, longer view.

Include all in the kill/capture quotaAn immediate call can and must be made by a decision-maker to include all the casualties, all captures, whether killed or “released” in the quota.

Caroline Kennedy got it right. The U.S. State Department backed her up.  But it's been crickets since then.

Caroline Kennedy got it right. The U.S. State Department backed her up in its January 21, 2014 briefing.  But it’s been crickets since then.

After Ambassador Kennedy made this statement, she was supported by the U.S. State Department.  But there has been no word since the eight months since.

Excerpt from U.S. State Department briefing, January 21, 2014.

Excerpt from U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing, January 21, 2014.

What you can do to end the Taiji drive hunt:

Reach out to the U.S. State Department, requesting that it clarify what it promised on January 21, 2014: to find out at what levels the U.S. government is having discussions with the Japanese government; main phone number (202) 648-4000.

Fax the Japanese embassies and ask if the Prime Minister has been briefed on the faxes, phone calls, letters and emails that the Japanese embassies and consulates around the world are receiving.  Include what you know about the inhumaneness and unsustainability of the drive hunt.  A selection of Japanese Embassy fax numbers:

US: 202-328-2184
Canada: 613-241-4261
Australia: 2 6273 1848
Malaysia: 03-2145 0126
India: 00-91-11-2688-5587 (trouble getting through 9/27)
Philippines: 02 551-5780 (trouble getting through 9/27)
Singapore: 6733-1039 (trouble getting through 9/27)
Solomon Islands: 677 21006
Chile: 2 2232-1812 (trouble getting through 9/27)
Costa Rica: 2231-3140
Trinidad & Tobago: 622-0858
UK: 020 7491 9348
Ireland: 01 283 8726
Germany: 030/21094-222
Russia: 495 229-2555
Denmark: 33 11 33 77
Sri Lanka: 11-2698629 (trouble getting through 9/27)
Thailand: 02-207-8510
Bangladesh: 2-984-1591
Peru: 463-0302 (trouble getting through 9/27)
Venezuala: 0212 262 3484,

All other Embassy and Consular info: http://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/mofaserv.html

Fax Service (allows two free faxes per day, with restrictions): https://www.gotfreefax.com/

An excellent summary of what you can do to help end the Taiji Dolphin Drive Hunt, including other phone numbers, email addresses, in addition to other actions that you can take: http://www.seashepherd.org/cove-guardians/what-you-can-do.html

Follow the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians on Facebook, Twitter and on their livestream for current and accurate information every day of the six-month Drive Hunt, scheduled to end on February 28.

A reconsideration of the human entitlement to gawk

I grew up in a world that objectified nonhuman animals, a world that had captured and displayed these other animals since we began exploring the world in our new boats, a world that encouraged humans’ infantile fascination with a “new world” of wild animals.  I grew up in a human culture with a convenient capacity to enslave, encouraged by a religious zeal to reproduce with abandon at the top of some mythical dominance pyramid, to consider that other animals were here “for” us.

In that world, humans taught me to think that this little nonsense rhyme by Gelett Burgess was funny:

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

That world is the one in which a family of Rissos dolphins was just slaughtered in Taiji, Japan, and in which humans drive pilot whales onto a bloodied shore in the Faroe Islands.  It is that world, our collective culture of objectification, not some subculture of food on one island or in one theme-park-based city, that is responsible for this act.  This culture is the vestige, however powerful in forming our opinions, of ancient misunderstanding that all of us must throw off.  We must throw it off because it was never true in the first place, and it will kill the planet and most of the creatures that found their lives formed here.

A family of 8-9 Rissos dolphins killed on September 16, 2014, in Taiji, Japan.  Photo by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Operation Infinite Patience.

A family of 8-9 Rissos dolphins killed on September 16, 2014, in Taiji, Japan. Photo by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Operation Infinite Patience, on Facebook and Twitter.

The cloak of this entitlement can be thrown off.  It can, because many of us have learned to abandon a sense of entitlement to seeing any of them, even as we acknowledge the wonder at being in their presence. It can and must be left as a relic of the misinformed past if we are to advance into the promise of humanity.

So I’m rephrasing Burgess’ poem, and hoping that this resonates with a few of you and that we grow a world in which our greatest aspiration is to leave the wild ones in their homes, unharassed by our prying eyes:

Be the purple cowI never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather BE than SEE one.

I don’t advocate literally never seeing them.  There are many opportunities for interacting with the wild ones, many of whom feed and rest in our gardens, who dig nests to bury their eggs right in our yards.  There are many as close as the nearest park or mountain trail.  There are others, like orca, who can be viewed from shore, although it is quite true that one loses some of the “front row seat of the theater” convenience when doing so.  But we also lose our dangerous entitlement.

I adopt this position because I don’t yet trust humans to understand their impacts on the others, even with the ever-increasing numbers of humans who choose a vegan lifestyle.  Even with veganism, humans still have a desire for love and a curious bent.  When these two attributes are coupled, the other animals can pay too high a price.

Join me in a life of choice, of imagining what it is to BE rather than SEE a purple cow, or an orca or other dolphin, or wolf, or bear, or box turtle, and give them a wide berth, their berthright and birthright.  Find out what you can do to raise your voice in support of an ethical world based in respect.


It’s up to you.

Obstruction is Justice by Madison Stewart

One of the most pointed and poignant statements that lies behind the motivation of every animal activist:

The day we begin to back down in the face of injustice and not expose the negligence of the very people appointed to protect the animals they have now been hired to kill is the day we lose more than our sharks; we lose our ability to distinguish right from wrong.

And in a world full of so much wrong, where the rules are made to justify the decay of our last wild things, that is not a trait our society can afford.

Kudos to Madison Stewart, Sea Shepherd Australia and Animal Amnesty.

The Taiji dolphin drive hunt is not a “cull”: ALERT THE MEDIA

The Taiji dolphin drive hunt is not a cull.  Alert the media.

If the captivity industry found that they had “bad breeding stock” and decided to kill the bad ones in order to “improve” their stock, that would be a cull.

If SeaWorld decided that it needed to separate orca mothers from calves, the chief husbandry officer might, indeed, “cull” his collection.  But of course, SeaWorld says that it doesn’t do that. <WINK>

If a “wildlife manager” found that one species was diseased or was truly overtaking another species, that might be a cull.

The Taiji drive hunt has nothing to do with removing dolphins for the fishing industry, rumors by the dolphin hunters to the contrary.  AND EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE that they were killing dolphins to restore fish stocks, it is human overfishing that has impacted the fish stocks of Japan, not the activity of dolphins.  And the response of humans to restore a balance among wildlife that we caused (when we really need to stop the offending human actions) should not be termed a “cull”.

Even if properly used, the term “cull” is just another of those words we’ve made up to insulate ourselves from the reality of our actions.  “Cull” is just another name for “kill” when we don’t want to see the blood on our opposable-thumbed hands.

Striped dolphins captured, not culled, for the aquarium industry.  Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians

Striped dolphins captured, not culled, for the aquarium industry. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Cove Guardians

But, of course, the reality of the drive hunt is that it is financed, underwritten and generally made lucrative by the large sums paid by the aquarium industry for a few men to capture, kidnap and otherwise steal dolphins, to prop up a 20th Century industry that should be dying and dwindling, instead of swindling us all by taking the lives of the wild ones.  ALERT THE MEDIA.

The Sea Lion and the Dam “Power”ful Alliance of His Enemies

If “politics makes strange bedfellows,” when politics turns into finding a scapegoat, and then waging a war against that scapegoat, the alliance is even stranger.  But not necessarily stronger.

The scapegoat of the Columbia River is the sea lion, but to understand why any interests need a scapegoat, one must understand the “target” that is intended to be protected by this scapegoating.  That target is the salmon that find their way up the miles and miles of the Columbia River to their mating and spawning grounds.

The numbers of salmon in a natural system. Excerpt from presentation by Dr. Mandy Cook, Adjunct Professor, Portland State University

Numbers of salmon in a natural system and numbers killed by humans. Excerpt, presentation by Dr. Mandy Cook, Adjunct Professor, Portland State University

As indicated in this presentation by Dr. Mandy Cook, the numbers of “salmon and steelhead” alone in the Columbia River system in 1850 – the natural river system – ranged from 11 million to 15 million individuals each year.

What this slide also shows is that the height of intentional predation, by fishing, of the Columbia River Chinook salmon, and likely other fish stocks, occurred in 1883, when almost 43 millions pounds of salmon were removed from that river system.  No system with that kind of intentional removal of a natural and necessary part can thereafter be considered “natural”.  But the system might have rebounded had the system been so allowed.

But the onslaught continued.  After that time, the numbers of salmon in the Columbia River experienced continued decline.  From a 1968 report by the Department of Interior*, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), contrast the 43 millions pounds taken in 1883:

Evidence of impending decline occurred as early as 1889, when only 8.2 million kg [18 million lbs] were taken.  Catches fluctuated between 7.7 and 16.8 million kg [17 and 37 million lbs] in 1890-1920, and gradually declined between 1921-66.  The average annual catch during 1962-66 was about 2.3 million kg [5 million lbs].

But nowhere in that 1968 report are sea lions even mentioned as playing even a bit part in the drama of the decline of salmon.  This report makes it clear that human overfishing, not sea lion predation, had decimated the salmon population,  even prior to the other stressors on the numbers of salmon in the Columbia River.  But what else has turned the Columbia River system into an unnatural one, one in which the salmon are struggling to maintain their ability to spawn and survive?

A list of threats to salmon in the Columbia River. Excerpt, presentation by Dr. Mandy Cook.

A list of threats to salmon in the Columbia River. Excerpt, presentation by Dr. Mandy Cook

The 1968 USFWS paper noted that the first 60 years of the 20th Century resulted in the construction of those “river structures” and “flood control measures,” as-named in the figure by Dr. Cook.  Both the 1968 report and Dr. Cook’s presentation list the other stressors:

  • irrigation
  • logging
  • mining
  • dam construction

The 1968 report recognized that the construction of dams, if left unchecked, would sound the death-knell for salmon in the Columbia River.  The report notes that measures had been taken to provide salmon with “ladders” around or over the dams to assist in their recovery.  The USFWS noted, however, that although these measures were locally effective, the “[r]esolution of the problems of safely passing migrating salmonids  – particularly of young downstream migrants – has not kept pace with dam  construction in the Columbia River drainage.”

While efforts to restore the Columbia River have continued after 1968, it is clear that in 2013 as 1968, the efforts to address the multiple stressors are not keeping pace with the damage that they inflict on the salmon population.

Salmon threats presentations crop8

The enemies of salmon life are truly not that many.  But “power”ful, they are.

Instead of forming an alliance to scapegoat the sea lion, the following need to develop a plan to do their part to allow the system to recover and the salmon to find their home once again in a natural system.  Everyone can find themselves in this alliance:

  • commercial fishermen – Stop conducting fishing that is unsustainable under TODAY’s threats, and fish consistent with the purpose of treaties.  Reduce your take levels. End farming of fish on salmon runs.  Stop introducing farmed salmon into the wild population.
  • fish consumers – Stop eating salmon.  Period. Wild. Farmed. Canned. Whole. Smoked.  Step up.
  • farming interests – Anywhere you extract water, ensure that there is an effective fish ladder around the dam impacted by your river span that benefits and makes possible your income.
  • power companies – Anywhere you generate power, erect effective fish ladders, or deconstruct the dam.
  • energy consumers – Take reasonable steps to reduce your energy consumption.
  • manufacturing – Clean up the pollution in the Columbia River.  Ensure that the permit for your water discharge is protective of salmon; heck, go a bit further than the standards required by law, because those standards don’t take into account lots of unregulated substances, like, pharmaceuticals, for instance, that threaten wildlife in ways that we do not yet know.
  • consumers – Find out who has manufacturing plants on the Columbia River and insist that they participate in cleaning it up, or refuse to purchase their products.
  • development – Good grief, please follow the law and ensure that sediment entry into the Columbia River is minimized to the maximum extent possible.  This one is not rocket science.
  • all citizens everywhere
    • Call your Member of Congress right now and urge him or her not to sign or co-sponsor Doc Hastings’ (R-WA) repeated attack on the scapegoated sea lions in his newly proposed H.R. 1308.
    • Call Governor Kitzhaber and Governor Inslee and tell them you oppose the arbitrary action to scapegoat the sea lions.  Contact information is on the Sea Shepherd Dam Guardian web page.
    • Support the Sea Shepherd Dam Guardian campaign.
    • Rock the Dam Tweet to spread the word to the Twitterverse about this cruel, inhumane, and arbitrary action to punish the sea lion for the actions of humans!

The bottom line is that we cannot continue to treat the Columbia River and its natural inhabitants as if they are expendable expedients for our unsustainable consumption or as if they are the enemies of sustainable salmon populations.  The sea lions are neither of these.

And I’ll close with the observation that no 150-year-old treaty was designed to protect the “right” to send salmon, packed in ice, to restaurants or to stores around the country.

The salmon are our brothers, my brothers, and we know that diners in restaurants who consume our brothers do not see the brother.  They see pink flesh that could as easily be mine or yours with the right seasoning.  Stop fishing to feed those who care not for our brothers.

Join an alliance of friends of the sea lion and begin taking actions, every day, to end the strength of the Alliance of his Enemies.

Our brother, the sea lion

Our brother, the sea lion

* I noticed on April 22, 2014, that the link at the NOAA website was no longer available.  The report that I cited, Spawning Areas and Abundance of Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Columbia River Basin — Past and Present, USFWS Special Scientific Report, Fisheries No. 571, 1968, is also available HERE.

Because dolphins are not fungible, we will Follow The Six

We shall follow The Six, wherever they go, under whatever name or number the system gives them.  OR we shall identify that the system does not give them unique names and numbers, but instead, treats them as fungible as the dollars that paid for them.

One of The Six, packaged for transport, having been purchased by ASPRO International, one of the world's largest operators of "leisure parks." Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

One of The Six, packaged for transport, having been purchased by ASPRO International, one of the world’s largest operators of “leisure parks,” with purchasers, sellers and trainers making it happen. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

As written by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, ASPRO International, whose foundation’s motto involves “living creatures coexisting in harmony,” has acquired The Six – six bottlenose dolphins snatched by the Taiji Fisherman’s Union from their families in the seas of coastal Japan – and intends to ship them to a destination in Europe.  Since ASPRO owns 41 “leisure parks” in eight countries, following The Six may require some diligence.  Sea Shepherd has urged that individuals begin immediately contacting ASPRO.  A petition being circulated will include the ability to quantify the numbers of people who are reaching out to ASPRO to say, show that you mean what you say about “coexisting in harmony” and stop buying dolphins from the Taiji Drive Hunt.

Unnamed dolphn at ASPRO International

Unnamed dolphin at one of ASPRO International’s leisure parks. Photo credit: ASPRO website

While not specifically embodied in either the Sea Shepherd piece or the petition, the right thing to do, ASPRO, is to return The Six to the waters of Taiji and release them together while they can find their families and their lives.

Barring a release, we will follow them wherever you send them, ASPRO.  Wherever you send them among your 41 leisure parks in 8 countries to be part of your “gateway to [a] world of fun, leisure and entertainment” or outside your leisure park system, for the rest of their lives.

The Six, like all dolphins everywhere, are not fungible.  They are unique individuals, with unique histories, and names, whether you or I or we know them or not.  Do the right thing, live by your motto, and ensure that The Six are returned to their families.

Until that day, we will Follow The Six.

Why is it hard to stop the dolphin capture? Half a $million $reasons.

On October 9, 2012, the weather kept the boats in port in Taiji, Japan.  Many folks watching the news coming from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) Cove Guardians had gone on about their business, as the real business of Taiji transpired.  This morning, as life went on for many, over half a $million $reasons why the dolphin trade won’t stop were loaded into cargo crates, bound for destinations as yet unknown, on transport as yet unidentified.

Six dolphins, each worth, on average, over $100,000 to the Fisherman’s Union, were sold and bought, having been snatched from the ocean, where only weeks ago, they lived the life that nature gave them.  The life that mankind has now taken away.  For money.

The story unfolds for the six via a series of “tweets” from SSCS, the first, a foretelling of what was to come.

Taiji: Rain and wind have kept all killing boats in port today. However, large transfer truck at FU to transfer dolphins.

And the next with accompanying photo revealed that today was a fateful one for the six unfortunate dolphins:

Taiji: at least six dolphin transport crates are lined up at Fishermans Union. Police stand guard

SSCS Photo 1

Three of the six dolphin transfer crates are visible beyond the police standing guard at the Taiji Fisherman’s Union. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

The next messages that were sent by the Cove Guardians told of first, one, then another, dolphin being loaded into crates heading for parts unknown, but certain of a life in captivity if they survived the transport.

Taiji:! First dolphin is in truck now. Second being lifted by crane 4 more waiting to be transferred

One dolphin already loaded, the second is hoisted in its sling in preparation to be placed in a transport crate before being loaded for parts unknown. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Taiji: First captive dolphin taken from harbor pens via sling

Taiji:! First dolphin is in truck now. Second being lifted by crane 4 more waiting to be transferred

What was also disturbing as the events progressed was how unremarkable it seemed.  Minutes ticked by and more dolphins lost their lives to a future controlled by a money machine.

Taiji: Third captive dolphin being place in air cargo crate.

Taiji: Dolphin killers on skiffs and using forklifts for transfer.

Taiji: transfer 6 on skiff now. Crane is in place lifting 5th Bottlenose dolphin.

Taiji: transfer 6 on skiff now. Crane is in place lifting 5th Bottlenose dolphin.

As the fifth dolphin is hoisted toward its stowage in a cargo box, the workers transport the sixth dolphin in a skiff just off camera. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The way these events transpired with a mechanical and well-rehearsed precision masked the deep and palpable grief that they forevermore created.  For the many of you who did not witness this, it may seem like a minor “incident”.   But rest assured, that to the degree we do not stop the captivity industry, with its mindset that dolphins are “cargo”  not to be appreciated, with their own rights and intrinsic value, then we are all, my friends, buying half a $million $reasons for grief.  A grief that will last for us all until they are all free.

Taiji: A total of six Bottlenose dolphins are loaded into airplane cargo containers in transport trucks.

Six bottlenose dolphins no longer belong to themselves or to the world in which they were born. They now belong to an artifice – an artificial world with artificial people and artificial water – that regards them as a thing, not a being. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

My heartfelt appreciation to Sammarye Lewis for the theme of this piece, to Sandy Young for its heart, and to the Cove Guardians for bearing witness with their lives.

Captain Paul Watson arrested in Germany to get me to watch Sharkwater

Okay.  Not true.  Captain Paul Watson has no freaking idea who I am.  Or whether I have or have not watched Sharkwater.  But the fact remains that, as a direct result of the Captain’s arrest, I am watching Sharkwater on this rainy Sunday afternoon.

Fact on the ground:  Captain Paul Watson was arrested in Germany.  Here are reports so far from Sea Shepherd, the Cyber Whale Warrior community, Digital Journal and in Ecorazzi.

As noted in the reports, the arrest warrant issued by Costa Rica appears to be related to Captain Watson’s and the Sharkwater filmmakers’ (including the amazing Rob Stewart, whose mission was the making of Sharkwater, and who wrote, produced and directed it) encounter with some illegal fishing of sharks by a vessel flying a Costa Rican flag, or was it flying another flag in Costa Rican waters. Or were they in Galapagos Island Waters.

Clearly I don’t know much.  Which is why I went searching for how to watch Sharkwater.  What I found was that Sharkwater was accessible in snippets on YouTube, posted by Isurus3.  I had confessed earlier today to my marine animal loving cadre, the folks over at Cyber Whale Warrior and Save Misty the Dolphin, that I had only seen the trailer.  That turned out not to be true.  Today I discovered that I had, in fact, watched Sharkwater last year; I just don’t recall how.

So for your convenience, and mine, those snippets of Sharkwater:










So, here’s the thing.  As wonderful as YouTube is and all that, I am trying to download iTunes (I don’t freaking have iTunes on my computer? WTF!) so that I can download an HD version of Sharkwater and watch it on my big(ger) screen.  All at once.  Well, the streamy thing is, well, you know.

And besides which, I want to support more work to protect sharks, and the guys at Sharkwater are doing just that.

What can we do?  Watch the movie, sign a pledge to help spread the word about the dire situation that fishermen are creating for sharks.  And for you and me.

Let the governments know that Captain Paul Watson is the hero here and that they are prosecuting the good guys.

So, Captain Paul.  Thank you for every every everything you do; but really, next time, check to see if I’ve seen the movie.

Thank you, Hong Kong Airlines!! No more dolphin cargo!

At the risk of jumping the gun, I understand from my dolphin contacts at Save Misty the Dolphin that Hong Kong Airlines has agreed to stop shipment of dolphins.  And will never again ship these magnificent animals, who deserve our respect, not our disdain, and certainly not our ownership.

So, thank you, Hong Kong Airlines, for having gone through lots of conversations and emails, Facebook and blog posts and Twitter Tweets – and emerged a hero, a leader in this global economy at no small cost.  The shipment of the dolphins came at a ticket price of six figures, from what I understand.  When a company demonstrates that it values life over dollars, and that dollars gained by yesterday’s ethics and morals is not worth that cost.  Well.  It gives me faith.  That people will do the right thing if they know what that is.

And thank you, Save Misty the Dolphin, for being there.  For coordinating with Sea Shepherd, Sea Shepherd Hong Kong, and Save Japan Dolphins to create a petition and a groundswell to reach out to Hong Kong Airlines to tell them how this shipment was tainted with blood.

I don’t have all the facts now.  I’m too excited today.  I can’t even look for any more links.  I think I’ve gotten all the big ones I need in here.  If I left someone out, just know that this little blog ain’t what counts.  It’s what you did that matters.  For more of those pesky facts.

The last day of the Taiji hunt, and Hong Kong Airlines agrees not to ship dolphins.

This is a very good day.

For More Information:

Hong Kong Airlines Says No More Flying Dolphins

Hong Kong Airlines Grounds Plan to Ship Kidnapped Dolphins

No more flying dolphins on Hong Kong Airlines

Sea Shepherd Shows Hong Kong Airlines the Direct Action Tactic


Japanese Police Raid in Taiji Will Not Stop Dolphin Activism

Lest anyone read the accounts of the latest attacks on the Cove Guardians in Taiji (where the Japanese law enforcement manufactured a search warrant authorizing them to seize cameras and laptops of U.S. and other nations’ citizens), and be concerned that this may curtail the firm stand of dolphin activists worldwide, let me assure you that you need not worry.

There exist photographs to document the slaughter.  I repeat, one needn’t worry that activists will ever forget or will ever stop short of meeting the goal of dolphin freedom.

Photo by Brooke McDonald, prior to efforts to quash publicity about the slaughter

Neither need fear the dolphins and whales that activists will forget

  • the arrest and detainment of Dutch citizen and Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen;
  • the relentless capture and slaughter of dolphins by 26 fishermen;
  • the direct or indirect participation in the slaughter of dolphins by trainers, brokers, and aquariums by selecting from the slaughter the pretty few whom they will take into a life of captive performing and breeding; or
  • Jiyu, who did not survive the transition from freedom to captivity, from catching her own food to being force-fed by trainers;

or will be dissuaded from seeking an ethical and free life for all dolphins and whales.  No worry necessary that this will stop our efforts.  As is the case with steel, which is strengthened by fire and the hammer, the Cove Guardians and other activists worldwide are watching and learning.

But I must confess that I am worried.  It is not, however, for activists or dolphins.  It is for the casual photographer.  If having laptops and cameras justifies a search warrant . . .

When countries make photographing illegal, we're all in trouble

My camera and I will out and about today, in honor of animals and their champions everywhere, and in particular, The Cove Guardians.