This week, we’ll be setting the stage for the international day of protest against the dolphin slaughter in Japan. Every year from September through April, fishermen in Japan hunt and kill about 20,000 dolphins and other whales in the largest dolphin slaughter in the world. The hunt is vicious but is justified for many reasons including “pest control”, it is tradition, and marine theme parks pay well for capturing star attractions. Joining us to share their first-hand accounts of the hunt are two of the most outspoken activists against the dolphin slaughter, former dolphin trainer turned advocate Richard O’Barry and, speaking from Japan, author and environmentalist Sakae Hemmi/Fujiwara. We’ll learn more about the industry, the dolphin hunters, why the hunt continues, and why we need to stop it.
More on Richard O’Barry: In the 1960s, O’Barry captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the TV series. When Cathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong. He founded the Dolphin Project, dedicated to freeing captive dolphins who were viable candidates and educating people throughout the world to the plight of dolphins in captivity. To recognize his contribution, in 1991 O’Barry received the ‘Environmental Achievement Award’ presented by the Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program (US/UNEP). In January, 2004, he was appointed Marine Mammal Specialist with One Voice-France, a leading French animal rights organization. His books include Behind the Dolphin Smile and To Free A Dolphin.
Sakae Hemmi/Fujiwara, writer, has been working in Japan as a director of the Institute for Science and Culture, Inc. since 1985. She has served as a volunteer to Elsa Nature Conservancy for 29 years and has worked to create awareness for animal conservation including that of whales and dolphins. She has advocated for nearly 30 years that “wild animals should be left as they are in their habitats and should not be exploited for the sake of human greed.” She has published 18 books on animals including the acclaimed The Shore Where Dolphins Come and We Want to Return Keiko to the Ocean: An Orca Who Made the Longest Journey in the World.
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