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Earth Island Reports

The International Marine Mammal Project

Keeping Up the Fight in Greece and Japan

The International Marine Mammal Project is working with grassroots activists in Japan to stop dolphin killings and keep in place a Greek ban on captive dolphin performances.

photo of dolphins as seen from above the surfacephoto Steve JurvetsonWith help from IMMP, Greek activists defended a Greek ban on dolphin shows.

Dolphin shows are cruel and numbingly repetitive for dolphins, as well as bad education for viewers, because they are more about dominance of animals than about the natural history of dolphins. In 2012, Greece passed a far-reaching ban on using wild animals in performances such as circuses and dolphins shows. But the Attica Zoological Park in Athens is attempting to carve out an exemption to the law. The park persuaded several Greek ministers to submit an amendment proposal to Parliament during the 2013 Christmas holidays.

With the help of IMMP, Greek activists posted an online petition urging members of Parliament to reject the proposal. IMMP activist Ric O’Barry’s letter was read out on the floor of the Parliament, and opponents to the exception cited the online petition. The Greek Parliament voted down the proposal, so the ban on dolphin performances remains in effect. But some ministers may try to introduce it again.

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Meanwhile, with the help of several very generous donors, IMMP has been working to provide funding for Japanese activists to visit Taiji, Japan and witness the dolphin hunts at the infamous “cove” for themselves. Japanese activists have been getting more involved in marine mammal protection issues. In the past few years, several new organizations have cropped up in Tokyo that are protesting Japan’s whaling program and the dolphin slaughters in Taiji.

With the documentary Blackfish making headlines, IMMP is conducting a major campaign against keeping orcas and dolphins in captivity. The effort will include school programs, demonstrations, and concerts.


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