A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Whazzup with WAZA?

Here’s an excerpt from the newsletter of the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA), a sister organization to the American AZA. While claiming to protect dolphins in the wild, WAZA in fact simply suggests different ways of “herding” and “acquiring” them. Note also that the dolphins are referred to as “livestock.”

“There has been strong liaison between myself, WAZA Council, Committees and other stakeholder regarding concerns on ethical and welfare issues, notably including the issue of acquisition of livestock for aquariums through dolphin drive fisheries.

“In July 2009, Gerald Dick, Chris West (Chair, Ethics & Welfare Committee), and I travelled to Tokyo in order to discuss aspects of dolphin welfare and conservation with the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and others. We felt that we made real progress in discussions with our Japanese colleagues with regard to a commitment to begin a separate, gentler ‘herding exercise’ as a means of acquisition of wild dolphins for aquariums. This stands in contrast to the controversial drive fisheries currently used for acquisition.

“We also placed emphasis on the need to develop new, progressively more demanding, benchmarks in dolphin breeding in JAZA and other aquariums. This is to learn more about dolphin reproduction and also gradually decrease the pressure on wild populations. Subject to detailed discussions, it is hoped that a new Dolphin Management Protocol will be jointly agreed between JAZA and WAZA by time of WAZA 2009 Congress in Saint Louis, USA.”

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society campaigns officer Courtney Vail notes that this policy “will only serve to add more pressure to the dolphin populations around Japan, and will merely be another source of dolphins in addition to the drives in Taiji.

“This will do nothing to diminish the kills in Taiji, and serves only as a weak attempt by the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria to disassociate itself from the drive hunts there.

“Furthermore, it does nothing to address the demand from foreign facilities who will continue to source from these hunts.”

Incidentally, there’s a segment in the movie The Cove where Ric O’Barry shows up at a meeting of the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria with a TV showing footage of a massacre of dolphins that’s tied to the entertainment industry. When you see the movie, watch those delegates flee from the camera like vampires from sunlight!