An alliance of animal welfare groups led by Australia for Dolphins (afd.org.au) has initiated legal proceedings on behalf of dolphins caught in the bloody drive hunts in Japan and in particular Angel, an extremely rare albino dolphin calf kept in ‘appallingly inadequate’ conditions in Taiji.
The groups say the Action for Angel lawsuit will, for the first time, compel the Taiji government to defend its globally-condemned dolphin hunts.
Action for Angel takes aim at the Taiji town government as the owner and operator of the Taiji Whale Museum, the aquarium that holds Angel and which brokers wild-caught dolphins from the drive hunts to aquariums in Japan and around the world.
The lawsuit asserts that the museum behaves illegally by denying entrance to dolphin welfare experts and observers on the basis of their opinion and race. This conduct is in breach of the Japanese constitution, which protects equal access to public places for all law-abiding people.
Angel was swimming in the Pacific Ocean off Taiji when she was ripped from her mother. Her mother was killed in a mass slaughter so violent it made global headlines, and prompted the US government to condemn the Taiji hunts. Angel is now a highly-valuable ‘freak’ show on display for tourists.
Australia for Dolphins CEO Sarah Lucas said, ‘I was able to briefly observe Angel and it was heartbreaking to see her, without her mother, floating in a tiny, filthy pool.’
‘The Taiji Whale Museum tries to hide its cruel treatment of Angel in a dark indoor tank from the world’s cameras. We hope this action will open up the museum to the sunlight of public scrutiny, and bring about improvements to Angel’s living conditions.’