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Aquariums plan new group to continue buying dolphins caught in Taiji

The Asahi Shimbun AJW logo The Asahi Shimbun AJW 17/2/2016 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Several aquariums plan to establish an organization to bypass a ban on trading wild dolphins caught through drive hunting in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, sources said.

To establish the group, the aquariums intend to disband the current Geirui Kaigi (conference of cetaceans), an organization under the umbrella of the (JAZA), the sources said July 7.

In April, , which regards drive hunting as “cruel,” suspended JAZA’s membership because its members were buying wild dolphins caught through .

In May, JAZA prohibited members from buying dolphins caught through the method and indicated that violators would be expelled.

Some aquariums now say they will leave JAZA to keep buying dolphins caught in Taiji, a town targeted by international animal rights groups after it was featured in the 2009 documentary “The Cove.”

“It is impossible to continue breeding dolphins without buying dolphins from Taiji,” said an official of one aquarium. “Remaining in JAZA has no merit.”

At least three or four aquariums are expected to join the group, which is aimed at offering a sense of solidarity among aquariums that want to buy dolphins caught through drive hunting, the sources said.

Aquariums that remain in JAZA and obey the ban for the time being can also become members of the new group, the sources said.

Geirui Kaigi, consisting of 34 aquariums, was established as a group to exchange information, including research results on the biology of dolphins. However, it has also decided whose turn it is among the aquariums to buy the Taiji dolphins.

(By YUKI EDAMATSU/ Staff Writer)

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