Archive for Animal Cruelty
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has organised the world’s first symposium dedicated to how animal welfare is affected by entanglement in marine debris. Arranged between the 4th to the 6th of December this year in Miami, Florida, the symposium differs from other marine debris conferences as it looks specifically at the problem from an animal welfare perspective. Marine debris, particularly plastic pollution, causes numerous problems in the world’s oceans, several of which cause the death of aquatic species. The UN has estimated that around 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds die every year because of entanglement and ingestion of marine debris, although accurate figures are impossible to calculate. A commonly cited example of how this happens is with turtles mistaking floating plastic bags for jellyfish. The bag then either suffocates the turtle, or causes its stomach to produce excessive amounts of digestive gases so that the creature ends up floating to the sea’s surface, unable to dive for food thereby dying of starvation.
www.independent.co.uk 28th August 2011
Torrential rainfall in eastern Australia has caused the destruction of 1,000 miles of sea-grass fields, the natural habitat and food for the country’s most endangered species the dugong, or sea cow as it more commonly known. At least 100 are known to have died so far as they travel further from their natural foraging areas to find food, putting themselves more at risk to disease, injury and death. The beds of sea grass, which makes up the largest part of the sea cow’s diet, takes 2 to 3 years to recover, and that is only if there are not any severe weather conditions in between. Sea cow populations are already in rapid decline due to pollution, escalating industrial activity and over-fishing by local populations. A new TV campaign is about to be launched to tackle the latter cause of the dugong decline. Activists believe that an overhaul of Australia’s Native Title laws should occur to prevent over-fishing and cruelty by aboriginal communities. Campaign organiser for Australians for Animals Colin Riddell says: “We have a confirmed report of a dugong calf being tied to the back of a boat, its cries bringing in the mother so they can both be killed. We have reports in our office of indigenous groups going out in motor boats with a GPS to find dugongs. Once found, they radio their mates and entire pods of dugongs are slaughtered.” Turtles also rely on sea grass as an important source of food and several hundred have been found washed up dead.
www.latimes.com 4th August 2011
Oregon has joined Hawai’i and Washington to become the third state to pass legislation against the sale, trade, and possession of shark fins. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed bill HB 2838 on Thursday (4th August) making California the last of the mainland Pacific coast states not to have similar legislation (it is currently being held up in the state Senate). President Obama has also made steps to tighten up a ban on shark finning in the US by signing federal legislation earlier this year. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in Chinese communities and is viewed as a status symbol served particularly for weddings and banquets. Defenders of the practice claim it is a cultural tradition and banning it is tantamount to an “attack on Asian culture.” Many sharks have their fins removed while still alive and are then thrown back into the ocean to die a slow and painful death. Marine experts claim shark finning has led to the global decline in shark populations (around 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins and meat).
www.bbc.co.uk 14th July 2011
The final day of the 63rd annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Jersey came close to chaos as pro-whaling countries walked out. Japan, Iceland, and several others left the room when 14 Latin American countries, known as the Buenos Aires Bloc, tried to force a vote on the creation of a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic. The latest drama to hit the IWC brought criticism from environmental groups who have claimed that issues of whale conservation were neglected. A compromise was finally made with delegates told to come to some sort of agreement over the coming year, or the next IWC annual meeting will begin with a vote on the South Atlantic whale sanctuary. When asked about the walkout, Japan’s deputy commissioner Joji Morishita said
“this was not a hostile move to the Latin American countries – our effort is to try to save this organisation, and it turned out ok.” This year’s meeting did have some good news however with France, Italy, and some non-governmental organisations pledging £80,000 for the research of small cetaceans such as the critically endangered Mexican vaquita.
The Agriculture Minister of the Bahamas Larry Cartwright has approved this Tuesday a ban on the sale, import and export of shark products. The move sees the island chain join other countries such as Honduras, the Maldives, and Palau in banning shark fishing. Roughly 73 million sharks are killed annually, mostly to supply the heavy demand from China where sharks’ fins are used in traditional soups. The ban in the Bahamas, as well as the increase in shark-fishing fines from $3,000 to $5,000, will effectively make its 243,000 square mile territorial waters a safe haven for the ancient group of species. Although long-line fishing has been banned in the country since 1993, shark-fishing was still legal until conservationists launched a campaign in response to a local company announcing its intentions to export shark meat to Hong Kong. Tourism brings in $80 million to the Bahamas annually and each reef shark, according to the Pew Environmental Group, is worth about $250,000. This is compared to the $10,800 market value of a dead shark.
news.sky.com 1st June 2011
Shocked rescuers, acting on a tip-off about three dogs whimpering in cages, have discovered a stray collie buried alive on the Mediterranean island of Malta. The dog, nicknamed Star, had been bound, shot in the head 40 times with a high-powered pellet gun at close range, and buried. Her snout had also been wired shut. Star was whisked off to the local veterinary hospital and is now said to be in good health. A facebook page dedicated to her, called Star:the dog that lived, and already has 50,000 members. It also hopes to raise awareness to animal cruelty in general. The police are now searching for the people responsible for Star’s awful experience.
www.guardian.co.uk 19th May 2011
The argument over whether to ban animals performing in circuses has become even more contentious as, it appears, the lawsuit that Environment Minister Jim Paice used to justify not enacting the ban doesn’t even exist yet. Following a campaign by The Independent newspaper to stop animals in circuses, galvanised in part by the horrific beatings experienced by Anne the Asian elephant at Bobby Roberts Super Circus (pictured), Mr Paice MP claimed that a ban was not possible due to a lawsuit between the European Circus Association and the Austrian government. He also added that it could be against the UK Human Rights Act. Fearing a similar legal issue in the UK, a ban was not possible. With the new revelation that the case does not actually exist, Mr Paice made the extraordinary statement that if you don’t like watching lions and elephants performing in circuses, then don’t go. MPs from all parties rounded on Mr Paice with Caroline Lucas branding the government ‘cowardly’ on the issue. There are 39 animals used in UK circuses today including lions, tigers, crocodiles, zebras and camels. There are no elephants after the retirement of Anne.
www.independent.co.uk 13th May 2011
The Independent newspapers campaign to ban the use of animals in circuses seems to have lost a bit of momentum due to worried politicians. The campaign has passed 15,000 signatories in the space of a week but a crucial Commons Question Time yesterday (Thursday 12th May) saw Mr Paice, the animal welfare minister, express his doubts about whether a ban would actually be legal. He cited the example of the Austrian government who had been taken to court over a similar ban. “Our government can hardly recommend something that might not be legal,” he said when tackled on the issue by Labour frontbencher Gavin Shuker MP. Mr Paice’s words brought angry criticism from animal right’s groups with David Bowles, director of communications at the RSPCA, saying, “The RSPCA is furious that the Government appear to have done a complete U-turn on the issue of whether wild animals are to be banned in circuses. The UK hiding behind a challenge to the Austrian government ban is a complete red herring as the European commission have said they are happy with bans on use of wild animals in member states.” The Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are also behind the ban.
news.sky.com 10th May 2011
The animal rights charity, Animal Defenders International, has announced that the elephant used in the film ‘Water for Elephants’, starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, was beaten and given electric shocks by the company that supplied it for the film. 6 year old footage has been produced of Tai, a 42 year old Asian elephant, being abused by a group of people believed to be from the Have Trunk Will Travel company. An elephant that is believed to be Tai is shown crying out when being shocked with hand-held stun guns in order to make her perform a headstand. A baby elephant also cries out when its lip is caught with a metal hook. The producers, stars, and trainers involved with ‘Water for Elephants’ have all come out to say Tai was treated ‘with kindness and positive reinforcements’ while on set. To support their statements, the charity American Humane, who watched how animals were treated during filming, awarded the production the highest mark for animal welfare. The producers of the film also said that they toured the Have Trunk Will Travel facility and “never once witnessed any abuse or even heard a verbal command given to the elephants that was above a whisper.” Have Trunk Will Travel also denied the claims saying, ”the video shows heavily edited and very short snippets, obviously taken surreptitiously six years ago, purporting mistreatment of our elephants. If there was truly any abuse going on, why wait six minutes, much less six years?”
Watch the ADI’s clip here.
www.independent.co.uk 7th May 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Thousands of people have backed The Independent’s call for a ban on wild animals performing in circuses. As we revealed yesterday, Downing Street is understood to have blocked advanced plans by the Department for Environment for a ban. Almost 3,000 readers signed our online petition, while hundreds more left messages of support on the social networking site Twitter and our website. Among the comments on Twitter was “animals belong in the wild, not in the circus”. Around 20 animals perform in British circuses, including five tigers. All three circuses which use them – the Great British Circus, Peter Jolly’s and Circus Mondao – say the animals are well cared for by their trainers. Animal welfare groups and vets say enclosures are smaller than those in zoos, constant travel and performances in front of loud crowds make wild animals unsuitable for the big top. Their suspicions the Government would not agree a ban intensified last month when it failed to announce one during the row about pictures showing Anne the elephant being beaten at Bobby Roberts Super Circus. Virginia McKenna, who played the conservationist Joy Adamson in the film Born Free, said: “If the Government hasn’t thought it through, the public has – more than nine out of ten of us say a resounding no to the continued exploitation of wild animals in circuses in the name of so-called ‘entertainment’.”
To sign The Independent’s petition, visit independent.co.uk/circusanimals.
www.lemonde.fr 23rd April 2011
A thousand protestors gathered in Paris on the 23rd April to protest against vivisection, or the use of animals in scientific experiments. The gathering was part of World Laboratory Animal Day, of which a counterpart was held in the UK. The protest outside City Hall in Paris was the largest though and saw people travelling by bicycle from the neighbouring countries of Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland to attend. Associated groups to the event included the Fondation Brigette Bardot, Antidote Europe, Gaia, Animaux en péril (Belgium), and EquiVita (Italy). The crowd held coffins bearing the names of different animals commonly used in scientific experimentation along with the words ”utilisés et sacrifiés” (‘used and sacrificed’). The protest centred around what the crowd perceived as a lack of political will within European governments to regulate the practise of vivisection or to find an alternative. Protestors finished their day of protest outside the house of Victor Hugo, the “First president of the French League against vivisection”, and held a moment of silence for the animals.
The banning of shark finning off the coast of California in December last year has been called ‘largely symbolic’ as most of the fins sold in the state come from outside its territorial waters. As a result, two Californian assemblymen Paul Fong (Cupertino District) and Jared Huffman (San Rafael District) have proposed a new law (AB 376) that would see the complete ban of the sale and distribution of shark fins within the State of California. Fong and Huffman have claimed public support for their bill has been overwhelming but State Senator Leland Yee has branded it “an attack in Asian culture”. Shark fin soup has been a delicacy in manly Chinese culture for millennia and it is because of this that Senator Yee believes that the law discriminates against Chinese cuisine. Despite this, he insists that he is concerned about the welfare of sharks.
LMV: if approved, the California ban on shark fins would reduce the overall global demand and have a significant effect on the industry, which sees the killing of between 26 and 73 million sharks a year. With many shark populations on the verge of collapse, shark fin prices have soared to US$500 a pound ($50 a head for the soup). Something needs to be done and the actions of assemblymen Fong and Huffman are trying to do it. It is non-sensical to reject an outright ban on the grounds that one item on the menu of a Chinese restaurant would be removed. As Senator Yee argues, there are sustainable shark finneries around the world but they are very much in the minority and their fins make up a tiny portion of the market. The practice is barbaric and commonly sees the sharks finned while still alive. California is taking an important step. Is it really worth turning down this landmark law that will help protect numerous species in favour of ‘tradition’.
LMV warning, violent and bloody scenes.
Quoted from source:
‘Lesley Rochat spent 2 years researching the subject and securing an opportunity to film on a longline vessel. Lesley goes out on a limb, single-handedly, to investigate both legal shark longlining and illegal shark finning off the coast of South Africa. Armed with her camera and the passion to make a difference, she boarded a shark longline vessel for two days and captured disturbing, high quality footage of mass shark slaughter. In good journalistic style she uncovers that the threat to shark populations in South Africa lies with the local governments inadequate management and compliance of this resource. Though South Africa is a small contributor to the world slaughter of over 100 million sharks each year, Sharks in Deep Trouble is indicative of the global plight of sharks. General inertia of governments worldwide in taking responsibility for their natural resources is driving many fish species, including many shark species to extinction. The documentary was broadcast on 50/50 in South Africa to over 1 million people. It contains footage rarely seen which shocked viewers, bringing many to tears.’
www.smh.com 2nd February 2011
A court inquiry has been called into the slaughter of 100 sled-dogs in Canada following the 2010 Winter Olympics held at the ski resort of Whistler. The case came to light after the killer was awarded compensation for post-traumatic stress following his two-day rampage with a shotgun and knife. Due to a fall in demand following the end of the Olympics, the dogs were no longer needed by sledding companies Outdoor Adventures and Howling Dogs so an order for their execution was issued. The killings took two days to complete last April and there are reports that wounded dogs were found crawling from mass graves. After the discoveries, Canada’s Society for Prevention of Animal Cruelty took the case to court. Marcie Moriarty of the Society said: ”The way he describes [in the board's report] multiple shots and faces blown off and coming back on a second day is gruesome.” Compensation was awarded to the unnamed worker by the British Columbia’s working board.
www.telegraph.co.uk 23rd November 2010
In the past, dogs that have won major breeding competitions such as Crufts go on to produce offspring worth thousands of pounds. This gave rise to greedy breeders forcing them to produce more and more litters of puppies. Following protests by animal rights campaigners, the regulating body for dog breeding, Kennel Club, have introduced a new law that dictates bitches are not allowed to give birth to more than four litters. Although UK law allows for six litters, the Kennel Club have decided to introduce even stricter laws after a public outcry over a documentary showing the health problems caused by canine inbreeding. The reaction of the film was so strong that the BBC dropped Crufts from its programming and forced the Kennel Club to introduce tough laws banning close inbreeding. Breeding that enhances morphological features that hinder the dog walking, breathing, or seeing properly are now ‘no longer encouraged’. “The Kennel Club wants to ensure that all breeders put the health and welfare of their puppies and breeding bitches first and foremost, and this decision underlines our commitment to this issue,” said Bill Lambert, the Kennel Club’s health and breeder Services Manager. There are 7 million dogs in the UK of which three quarters are pedigree.
www.independent.co.uk 13th November 2010
In a series of secretive moves the coalition government has scrapped or delayed a host of animal rights laws that were introduced by the Labour government. The affected laws, some only weeks away from being passed, include a ban on mutilating chickens’ beaks so that they could not peck each other in enclosed environments such as battery farms. The RSPCA described the practice as “an insult to hens’ welfare.” Another law would have banned game birds from being kept in cages. An additional move has seen the Department of the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) drop a series of charges against abattoir operators for animal cruelty. Footage, caught by the environmentalist group Animal Aid, showed abattoir workers kicking cattle, pigs and sheep but DEFRA said that such evidence would not hold up in court as it was obtained by trespassing. Tim Smith, head of the Food Standards Agency, which enforces slaughterhouse standards, described the images as: “the cruelty on show is the worst I have seen.” DEFRA has also postponed a ban on using wild animals in circuses. There are currently some 40 tigers, elephants, zebras, and other animals forced to do tricks for circuses in the UK. The ban was first put forward by Labour minister Jim Fitzpatrick after a poll showed 95% of the public supported the idea. All these moves were instigated by the Agricultural minister James Paice, who owns a farm in Cambridgeshire. He is also behind the government’s overturning of Labour’s opposition to a badger cull.
To watch Animal Aid’s film please click here. Some viewers may find the footage upsetting.
www.independent.co.uk 4th November 2010
The RSPCA have released a report stating that two of the world’s biggest poultry exporters, Brazil and Thailand, have better animal welfare standards than farms in the UK. Three of the main comparisons were between the amount of space each chicken was allowed (13 chickens per square metre in Thailand compared to 20 in the UK), how long chickens were allowed to grow (42 days in Thailand, 35 in the UK), and how much rest a chicken is allowed a day (Thailand: 6 hours, UK: 4). Dr. Marc Cooper of the RSPCA said that, rather than presuming that standards are better in the UK, generally the reverse is true. This may be seen as good news by supermarkets who have increasingly imported foreign poultry to cut costs. In 1996, only £36 million worth was imported compared to the £510 million in 2009. £292 million of this amount came from Thailand. However, Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, simply retorted: “I don’t think Marc Cooper is right”. The RSPCA report coincided with video footage released by the Vegetarian Organisation Viva! showing a ‘conveyor belt of death’ for male chicks not wanted by the egg production industry. Every year between 30 and 40 million are killed in gas chambers and meat-mincers.
www.msnbc.com 2nd November 2010
The annual dolphin slaughter in the quiet Japanese village of Taiji was slightly different this year. Following the release of the Oscar-winning documentary ‘The Cove’ last year, the event has attracted world-wide media attention as well as numerous conservationist groups. The attention was such that Taiji’s town council agreed to hold a conference on the subject. In Tokyo, over 400km away, the government’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku stated that he hoped the meeting would promote understanding in an ancient Japanese tradition. However, the two-hour meeting has not gone well. The Japanese fisherman claim that western societies kill other animals for food while the protestors highlight the barbarity of dolphin-killing practices as well as the high toxin levels in dolphin meat. Furthermore, Ric O’Barry, the central character of ‘The Cove’, threatened to boycott the talks due to severe media restrictions. In the end Mr O’Barry did not have to boycott as he was escorted from the area by policemen following comments about the cruelty of dolphin training (Mr O’Barry was the trainer of the original Flipper dolphins). Town Council chief Katsutoshi Mihara said to the conservationists: “It’s not right for you to force your values on us.” Every year Taiji, with a small population of 3,500, slaughter 2,000 dolphins, around 10% of the country’s total.
www.independent.co.uk 1st November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Five people were arrested and three wild elephants seized as Indian police busted an elephant-smuggling ring in north-eastern Assam, officials said today. Police official PK Dutta said documents seized during the operation showed that the gang had smuggled at least 92 elephants from the north-eastern state to other parts of India over the past five years. Selling elephants is barred under Indian law and even getting permission to move domesticated elephants between states is a lengthy procedure. Nevertheless, authorities say there remains a thriving trade in elephants, with many wealthy landowners in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh buying the animals as status symbols. Authorities said the elephants are usually transported by truck. The smugglers are suspected of colluding with forestry officials, who have checkpoints along the major roads to prevent this type of smuggling. Police investigated the ring after a local conservation group, the Green Heart Nature Club, filed a written complaint last week, Mr Dutta said. After a three-day operation, authorities arrested five people and took custody of the three wild elephants, which did not have the identifying microchip implants required of all domesticated elephants, he said. The group planned to smuggle as many as 10 elephants out in its latest operation, Mr Dutta added. The smugglers regularly captured wild elephants from the forests of Assam, trained them for a year or two, and then claimed they were the offspring of the state’s many domestic elephants, he said. Wildlife authorities in Assam, home to more than 5,000 wild Asiatic elephants, denied the existence of the illegal elephant trade. “We are examining the matter, but I can say there is no smuggling of elephants out of Assam,” said Suresh Chand, the state’s chief wildlife warden.’
www.nationalgeographic.com 21st October 2010
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has declared that the USA needs a centralised federal database to monitor tigers in captivity. According to the wildlife charity, there are now more of the big cats in captivity in the US (5000+) than there are wild (c. 3200). Furthermore, loose regulation for keeping tigers could be fueling the international black-market demand for tiger parts in traditional medicines, particularly in Asia. Among the findings of the WWF report are these comments:
- A patchwork of federal laws governs the possession, sale and exhibition of captive tigers. However, due to a host of exceptions exemptions, and loopholes, federal agencies charged with implementing these laws have no mandate to maintain a current inventory of how many tigers are in the country, where they are, who possesses them, when they die or how they are disposed of.
- 17 states allow the keeping of tigers by individuals with a state permit or registration (Iowa, Oregon and Washington recently banned tiger possession but have systems in place to regulate tigers that were grandfathered in prior to enactment of the bans).
- 8 states have no laws on captive tigers.
- 28 states have laws banning the possession of tigers in private collections.
With the gathering of global leaders for the Global Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg next month, the WWF hopes that US authorities will be galvanised into action over this relatively unknown subject. Captive tigers are frequently kept in very poor conditions and then sold off in pieces after death.
www.telegraph.co.uk 17th September 2010
A male swan in the quiet grounds of Pembroke Castle in South Wales has caused havoc by mercilessly attacking its fellows. So far the swan, dubbed ‘Hannibal’ by local conservationists, has killed 15 other swans in the castle’s ponds by beating them with its beak, wings and feet and even drowning them. Due to demands from visitors fearing that the sight of a swan killing another will have a negative impact on visiting children Hannibal is to be removed and subjected to a blood test. According to Maria Evans, an animal worker on the grounds, the polluted and brackish water of the pond can be responsible for aggressive behaviour in swans. Once the result of the blood test is returned the fate of Hannibal can be determined. But in the words of Ms. Evans: “people wouldn’t be sorry to see him go.”
A female spectator has been killed while watching a bull run in the Spanish town of Arganda del Rey, near the capital city of Madrid. The town hall have declared a minutes silence in remembrance of Maria del Carmen Lopez del Burgo but have firmly stated that the event would not be suspended in future years. Ms. Burgo is believed to have put her head through the barrier separating the participants and bulls from the spectators and was then struck in the neck by the final bull’s horns. A bricklayer from the Central Spanish town of Villaseca de la Sagra came to a similar fate on Monday bringing the total number of deaths from bull running since the year 2000 to 36. The largest bull run takes place in Pamplona where, this year, 37 people were injured.
Sources: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment 9th September 2010
A budgerigar breeder in Cornwall has told how thieves broke into his aviary and stamped three of his birds to death before fleeing with a further 21. One of those killed was the show champion from 2009 and each was worth around £2000. The action has led the breeder, Mr. Pooley, to pull out of this years competition despite the fact that he had 40 birds left. Police are involved and attributed the crimes to a possible stolen to order cause. Whatever the reason, there is obviously a market in thoroughbred birds. Mr. Pooley has expressed his belief that the act was carried out by a rival.
Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news 8th September 2010
Four animal rights protesters have admitted waging a hate campaign on associates of Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Thomas Harris, Nicola Tapping, Jason Mullen, and Alfie Fitzpatrick have all admitted to intimidating firms with HLS contracts (Thomas Harris included blackmail in his admission). Two others, Nicole Vosper and Sarah Whitehead, admitted to a conspiracy charge. Their aim was the closure of HLS and they used abusive phone calls, threats of violence, and criminal damage to achieve this end. The maximum sentence for conspiracy to blackmail carries a jail sentence of 14 years in the UK and conspiracy 5 years.
Two Greenpeace anti-whaling activists have been jailed in Japan today after being found guilty of theft and trespassing. Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were arrested following attempts to expose embezzlement in Japan’s whaling industry. The two intercepted a 23kg box of whale meat, worth around £460, at a delivery depot in the city of Aomori in 2008. The meat was part of a larger amount that is routinely taken from whaling ships by their crew and sold for personal gain. The Institute of Cetacean Research, which organises the hunts, claim that the crew are allowed to take home meat as gifts for their families. Rather than pursuing the case put forward by the Tokyo Two, it was dropped in favour of arresting the activists. They were detained without charge for 23 days and interrogated while being strapped to chairs. There sentence was one year in prison suspended for three years.
Around 950 whales are slaughtered each year by Japanese whaling fleets in the name of scientific research.
Sources: http://www.suntimes.com 2nd September 2010
The acclaimed director of ‘The Cove’, a documentary on dolphin hunting in Taiji in Japan, has had to call off his protest to the annual slaughter due to threats from a Japanese ultra-nationalist group. The hunt, which begins every year on September 1st, consists of a small number of fishermen herding pods of dolphins into a cove then stabbing them to death. The whole event was caught on camera by Ric O’Barry, the 70 year old ex-dolphin trainer who worked on the Flipper TV series in the 1960s. The resulting documentary, ‘The Cove’, received international acclaim and won an Academy Award for best documentary.However, due to the threats received to his person, Mr. O’Barry is instead holding a reception in his Tokyo hotel for a hundred followers followed by a trip to the US Embassy to deliver a petition with 1.7 millions signatures demanding the halt of the slaughter.
The Japanese government declare that the killing of whales and dolphins is no different than the killing of cows and pigs (although each dolphin carcass can fetch as much as $150,000). A similar event occurs in the Faroe Islands between Scotland and Iceland where the local population (most of which are not trained fishermen) annually slaughter pilot whales in the name of tradition. The same argument is used by the people of Taiji and the ultra-nationalists who threatened Mr. O’Barry. But is barbarism really a tradition to be proud of?
Every year the people of the Danish owned Faroe Islands, between Scotland and Iceland, hold a festival where numerous Pilot Whales are killed for their meat and blubber. The islands, whose attempt to break away from Denmark was quashed in 2000, have attracted international attention due to the unconventional way in which the whales are culled. However, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, known predominantly for their escapades against the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic, has joined forces with the Bridget Bardot Foundation to “expose the slaughter and defend the pilot whales from the vicious and lethal assaults by the Faroese”. In fact, conservationists have turned their back on the ritual in recent years due to the integral part it plays in Faroese culture and because the Faroese themselves do not participate in commercial whaling. The Faroe Islands website insist that “the Faroese whale drive has over the years successfully adapted to modern standards of resource management and animal welfare. For the Faroe Islands – an island nation overwhelmingly dependent on what the sea can provide - the conservation and management of all living marine resources, including marine mammals is of vital importance.” The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society claim that the massacre is a violation of the Berne Convention of which Denmark is a signatory.
The undercover ship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is currently being escorted by the Danish navy.