The highly controversial drive hunting of dolphins that occurs in Taiji, Japan annually is raising some issues for a small number of aquariums in the region.
Image Credit: DeanLof/Pixabay
It was in 2015 that the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) agreed to stop the gory hunt and slaughter of dolphins after it was pointed out as cruel by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Any aquarium that was a part of JAZA and found going against this new rule would consequently be expelled from the organization.
Had they not have agreed, JAZA as a whole would have been expelled from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which would have a negative impact on aquariums and other related attractions in Japan.
On the other hand, a few aquariums have now voluntarily left JAZA so that they can continue their ritualistic behavior without JAZA or the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums regulating what they can and cannot do.
Among those are Enoshima Aquarium, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Shimonoseki Marine Science Museum, all of which are outspoken about opposing JAZA’s 2015 decision.
“There are ways to breed and we have been focusing on (promoting with members) such methods at our study sessions,” an official from Enoshima Aquarium reportedly said to JAZA in response to their decision to leave the organization.
The aquariums cite that their drive hunting methods are a necessary step for their breeding practices, as it allows the strongest of the bunch to thrive. Instead of using wild animals, the aquariums are putting internally-bred animals in their crosshairs, which can allow them to skirt around the current rules and regulations without consequence.
It’s indeed quite a sad move for the animals, since the officials were trying to put a cap on this cruel behavior once and for all, but now that the aquariums are no longer officially listed under JAZA, they’re also no longer required to follow JAZA’s rules.
The aquariums have not made any mention of whether or not they will continue to practice the behavior, but it’s assumed that they will due to leaving JAZA to dodge regulation.
Since these aquariums are no longer members of JAZA, on the other hand, they will have much less support from international agencies that deal primarily with endangered species and wildlife, so the decision not to comply didn’t come without its karma.
Bred or not, the act of slaughtering the creatures with sharp objects inside of enclosed hunting grounds with nowhere to run is far less humane than simply releasing the creatures they don't want into the wild. For whatever reason, the aquariums have tunnel vision and do not see it that way.