I’m sure most of my readers are aware of the cetacean slaughters that take place all around the world, especially in Japan. (If you are unfamiliar check out this article here.) This is a very basic deciphering of the cetacean captivity industry, and how most parks within the industry are supporting the slaughter of cetaceans.
In 1993, Six Flags (then Marine World Africa USA) applied for a permit to import 4 false killer whales from a Japanese cetacean slaughter on Iki Island. The park justified their application of the permit by saying that their purchase of the whales was a…
“humane act that saved four animals from certain death.” According to the May 12, 1993San Francisco Chronicle entitled “Marine World Loses Fight on Sea Mammal Imports.”
If the permit went through, Six Flags would’ve given thousands of dollars in support of the
slaughter. Fortunately, it was denied by the US National Marine Fisheries Service due to the government’s questioning the humaneness of supporting the slaughter. The motives of Six Flags were exposed.
At the same time Marineland France was providing animals to a park that has been openly purchasing cetaceans from the Japanese cetacean slaughter for decades: Izu-Mito Sea Paradise in Japan. In my research, I found that they had bought animals from the drive fishery in October, 1999 and in October, 2011. The animal Marineland provided Sea Paradise with was an orca named Tanouk. He died 5 years after his arrival in Japan.
In 2002, Marineland and Six Flags formed a relationship that would connect them all: the transfer of orca whale, Shouka. In this we see a clear connection between marine parks in the captivity industry, and the (in)direct support of the Japanese slaughter.
Of course, being the largest, most powerful Marine Park in the industry, Seaworld has also gotten in on the action. In the 1980s, Seaworld obtained 4 whales from the Iki Island slaughter and kept them at Kamogawa Seaworld in Japan. Later Seaworld traded them to Dolphinarium Harderwijk in Holland, for the orca named Gudrun. This is further corroborated by John Hall, Former marine biologist at Seaworld. (More information about the Gudrun transaction can be read here.) Their justification was similar to Six Flags’ excuse in 1999.
“Fred Jacobs, vice president for communications for SeaWorld, says that in the 1980s SeaWorld “saved” some animals from Japanese drive fisheries” According to the Orlando Sentinel.
At this point, Dolphinarium Harderwijk, Kamogawa Seaworld, and Seaworld Orlando are all involved in stimulating the Japanese cetacean slaughter. Seaworld for directly purchasing the animals from the drive, Kamogawa Seaworld for keeping them in their facility, and Dolphinarium Harderwijk for purchasing the drive animals from Seaworld.
Some may say, “This was back in the 80s, Seaworld doesn’t do this anymore,” but their relationships with these parks still remain to this day. Due to the previous information regarding the Gudrun transaction (and confirmation by John Hall, former Seaworld biologist) we know that Seaworld in the US, has a professional relationship
with Kamogawa Seaworld in Japan. Kamogawa Seaworld has a combined breeding program with the Port of Nagoya Aquarium. (On December 15, 2011, Kamogawa Seaworld provided Port of Nagoya Aquarium with 2 orcas: Bingo and Stella.)
In turn, Nagoya Aquarium has a very close relationship with the Taiji Whale Museum; one of the most notorious aquariums involved in the Taiji slaughter of cetaceans, and involved in cetacean cruelty. The Museum has bought orcas from Nagoya Aquarium. And in 2003, the orca whale Ku, was sent to the Museum from the Aquarium on breeding loan.
This chain involves Seaworld’s support of Kamogawa Seaworld in Japan, who supports the Port of Nagoya Aquarium, who supports the Taiji Whale Museum, who supports the slaughter. You may feel like it is a bit of a stretch . Could Seaworld possibly be supporting the drive fishery that far down the line? But I am doing this to illustrate my point: the entirety of the industry is joined together. It doesn’t take long to draw connections between the parks, and this is but one single thread in the cruel tapestry of the live cetacean trade.
One recent interaction brings Seaworld closer to the slaughter than ever. In 2001, Seaworld Orlando supplied Ocean Park in Hong Kong, China with animals.
” Most of the California sea lions and all of the harbor seals arrived from Sea World in Florida in the United States last summer…” Oceanpark.com corporate information.
In fact, the only animal living in the US that came from a Japanese slaughter, was from Ocean Park in Hong Kong who obtained it directly from the slaughter itself.
“Dalian Sun Asia Tourism remains committed to updating its attractions, creating friendly relationships with many world-famous animal attractions including SeaWorld in the United States, Kelly Tarlton Arctic Encounter and Underwater World of New Zealand, Dolfinarium in the Netherlands, Ocean Park in Hong Kong and many more.” Parkworld Online.
Sun Asia Ocean Park, according to a Mainichi and Kyodo news report on March 15, 2005 (in Japanese), obtained 8 bottlenose dolphins from the Taiji slaughter. In 2005 they gave the dolphins to the Taiji Whale Museum, which the Museum then exported. Seaworld has a “friendly relationship” with a park that has in recent years, purchased animals from the drive slaughter.
“Ocean Adventure is home to several species of dolphins, all of whom are rescued animals. Some came from the drive fishery in Japan where they were literally hours away from being slaughtered.”
that silence is consent, but I have a feeling that there is a reason why Seaworld has “talked the talk” against the slaughter, but hasn’t made a move in such a direction to act against it. This could be due to their close relationship with other parks that thrive on Japanese slaughter animals.