Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Groups call on WAZA to expel members that support dolphin drive hunts

Posted: 19 February 2014. Updated: 21 May 2015


ADI and 40 other groups have signed up to a joint letter spearheaded by Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Cetacean Society International which calls on the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA) to take action against those that support dolphin drive hunts in Taiji, Japan.

Although the Association has publicly condemned the hunts and its members are not permitted to accept animals obtained in this way, members of the Japanese Association of Zoos & Aquariums (JAZA) – itself affiliated with the Association – continue to acquire dolphins in this way.

In the WAZA Code of Ethics, it states that “Members must adhere to the WAZA Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare and ensure that they do not accept animals obtained by the use of methods which are inherently cruel. An example of such a practice is the catching of dolphins by the use of a method known as ‘drive fishing’.”

Based on a recent inventory of Japanese zoos and aquaria conducted by Elsa Nature Conservancy, 37 of the 54 facilities that hold nearly 600 dolphins nationwide are JAZA members. JAZA members for which it has been verified that dolphins have been sourced from the Taiji drive hunts include Taiji Whale Museum, Izu Mito Sea Paradise, Shinagawa Aquarium, Oita Marine Palace/Dolphin Island, Katsurahama Aquarium, Aomori Prefectural Asamushi Aquarium and Suma Aqualife Park.

The groups have asked that JAZA be immediately expelled from WAZA until all members comply with its ethical policies and guidelines.


  • April 2015: WAZA suspends JAZA after it rejects proposal on a two-year dolphin hunt moratorium. Following a unanimous vote by its council WAZA states “Jaza has violated the Waza code of ethics and animal welfare….members of Waza must confirm that they will not acquire dolphins from the Taiji fishery”.
  • May 2015: In a move described by WAZA as a “welcome breakthrough", JAZA announces its members would be banned from obtaining dolphins from the Taiji hunts.

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