Japan’s zoos and aquariums have publicly committed to ending their relationship with the cruel practice of dolphin drive hunts in Taiji, Japan. This move comes out of a vote amongst the leadership of the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA), which was necessary in order to decide the fate of the organization, after their suspension last month from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) over the controversial dolphin hunts.
Last month, WAZA suspended its Japanese chapter based on its refusal to stop buying dolphins caught in the cruel hunts. JAZA leaders took to a vote this week to decide whether to comply with WAZA’s demands or split from the global association. Inevitably, JAZA decided that saving face—and their WAZA affiliation—was more important than the 20 dolphins a year that are allegedly sourced from the Taiji hunt.
Despite this decision, JAZA still refuses to name the Taiji dolphin hunt as “cruel,” JAZA chair Kazutoshi Arai said in a press briefing. Regarding the vote, Arai said in a letter to WAZA: “(JAZA) will prohibit its members to acquire wild dolphins caught by drive fishing in Taiji and to take part in their export and sale.” This move won’t end the practice, which dolphin hunters consistently claim is part of a long-standing tradition used mainly to acquire dolphin meat for eating.