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From 31 July 2005 Issue

Save the Dolphins: Boycott Japan?
By Ric O'Barry, One Voice-France - ricobarry@bellsouth.net 

We have received a great deal of international correspondence lately suggesting that we "Boycott Japan" as a strategy to solve the drive fisheries problem. Although we are not telling other NGOs what their strategy should be, I wanted to clarify that we think a boycott of Japan is a big mistake. Having been to Japan and witnessed the dolphin slaughter up-close and personal, we can report with absolute certainty that the Japanese people are not guilty of these crimes against nature. From what we saw, 26 whalers in 13 boats drive the dolphins into a cove and slaughter them. The vast majority of the people in Taiji and surrounding villages are exceptionally friendly, and they should not be targeted and punished for something they are not guilty of.

I spent most of 1975-76 traveling from Coconut Grove, Florida, to several cities in the United States and eventually Japan with scores of Japanese and American musicians/environmentalists such as Fred Neil, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Shigado Izumia, Warren Zevon, Harry Hossano, John Sebastian, Governor Jerry Brown, Paul Winter Consort and a great many other concerned artists. We were known as "The Rolling Coconut Review," and we were trying to put a stop to the BOYCOTT JAPAN, SAVE THE WHALES campaign. Eventually we succeeded. The boycott was the chosen strategy of most of the well-funded US animal welfare/environmental groups who pooled their money and took out full page advertisements in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc. to get their boycott message out to the American public. This misguided campaign did not save any whales. However, as a direct result of the BOYCOTT JAPAN campaign, Japanese/American children were beaten up on the playgrounds of the USA and called "Jap whale killers." (Jap is a derogatory term) Surely, this is not a situation that we would want to create once again.

The Japanese people don’t need a boycott. They need access to the information that we take for granted. If they knew the truth about the dolphin slaughter, they would help us stop it. The fishermen who hunt and kill dolphins in Taiji agree with us. They revealed this during a meeting we had with them at Taiji City Hall. When they asked us why we had come to Taiji, we told them we wanted to document the methods used to conduct the dolphin massacres and let the Japanese people know the truth about this hunt. The fishermen’s reply was: “The Japanese people have no right to know about the dolphin slaughter. It is none of their business.” But the Japanese people have every right to know about the dolphin massacres that are carried out in their own country, and we will continue to travel to these remote fishing villages to document what is going on. The fishermen in Taiji spend most of their time hiding their activities. They have erected a roof of blue tarp over the lagoon in which the dolphins are killed, to prevent us from documenting the massacres. They cover up the dead bodied with plastic and butcher the dolphins in a slaughterhouse that is completely covered up. They are paranoid about being photographed while killing dolphins. They know that if the images reach the Japanese public, their days as dolphin hunters are numbered. They will not be able to find public support to continue the practice. I hereby urge you to approach the Japanese people in a respectful and peaceful manner. It is the Japanese people who hold the key to stopping the dolphin massacres. In order to make this happen, we need to build bridges between us, not burn them. We need to work with the Japanese people, not against them. Condemning a whole nation for the actions of a few people is simply unfair. A better strategy would be to isolate the few people who are guilty of killing the dolphins from the rest of the Japanese population who are totally unaware of the problem.

Our chance to expose these crimes against nature and to isolate the guilty from the innocent will come on October 8th. If everyone who attends the demo will bring a friend, our numbers would double. How's that for a concept?

As you can see, the list grows stronger with every passing day. This is very encouraging.

Japan Dolphin Day: List of Participants

America's Whale Alliance ~ San Francisco
Animal Friends ~ Croatia
Animalisti Italiani Onlus ~ Rome
Animals Voice.com ~ Seattle
Animal Welfare Institute ~ Washington DC
Blue Voice ~ San Francisco
Bite Back ~ Brussels
Born Free Foundation ~ London
British Divers Marine Life Rescue ~ London
Campaign Whale ~ London
Captive Animals Protection Society ~ London
Captive Dolphin Awareness Foundation ~ Huston
Catastrophes ~ London
Cetacean Defense ~ London
Cetacean Society International ~ New York City
COMARINO ~ Mexico City
Committee for a Dolphinarium-Free Belgium ~ Brussels
Dolphin Encountours ~ Mozambique
Dolphin Project ~ Miami
Earth Island Institute ~ San Francisco, Manila
ECOTERRA ~ Nairobi
EDEV ~ Den Haag
Environmental Investigative Agency ~ London
GAIA ~ Brussels
GEVHA ~ Barcelona and Madrid
Green Beings Global Animation Studio ~ San Francisco
Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society ~ Hong Kong
HSUS ~ Washington DC
In Defense of Animals ~ San Francisco
International Animal Rescue ~ London
Irish Seal Sanctuary ~ Dublin
Kepangi Makili ~ Solomon Islands
Last Chance for Animals ~ Los Angeles
Marine Connection ~ London
New York Whale and Dolphin Action League ~ New York City
Nomades des Océans ~ Paris
Ocean Care (ASMS) ~ Bern
Ocean Defense International ~ San Francisco
One Voice ~ Paris, Marseille, Miami
Philippine Society for the Protection of Animals ~ Manila
Rattle the Cage ~ Miami
Re-Earth ~ Nassau, Bahamas Islands
Reseau-Cetaces ~ Paris
Sea Shepherd ~ Vienna, Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Istanbul, London, Den Haag, Strasbourg
SHARK ~ Chicago
Sea Vita ~ Caracas
SOS Grand Bleu ~ Marseille
Vier Photen ~ Switzerland
United Action for Animals ~ New York City
WDCS ~ London
Whale Workshop ~ London
Wild Earth Foundation ~ Argentina
WSPA ~ London
Zoo Check Canada ~ Toronto

Go on to Let Me Stay
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