In January 2014, Angel the albino dolphin calf was captured in the Taiji drive hunts in Japan. While Angel was being hauled away in a sling to the Taiji Whale Museum, her family was brutally slaughtered.
A month later, AFD’s CEO Sarah Lucas and others tried to enter the Museum in order to check on Angel’s wellbeing. They had not yet asked for tickets before they were presented with a laminated sign informing them in English text that they were not allowed to enter. Other dolphin welfare observers have reported similar treatment.
In May 2014, AFD filed legal action in Wakayama District Court in Japan. The Action for Angel lawsuit asserted that the Taiji government, as the owner and operator of the Taiji Whale Museum, was behaving illegally by refusing entrance to law-abiding people based on their appearance. AFD argued that this conduct was in violation of the Japanese Constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race.
The museum’s closed-door policy allowed it to hide Angel’s appalling conditions from the scrutiny of animal welfare observers and their cameras.
In March 2016, following a two-year legal battle and multiple trips to appear in court in Japan, the judges ruled in AFD’s favour.
This was a momentous victory against the Taiji Whale Museum – the institution at the heart of Japan’s dolphin hunts.
While we have sadly not yet been able to have Angel transferred to a more humane sea pen sanctuary, we (and the animal welfare observers who can now freely enter the museum), continue to advocate for her. Most recently, AFD sent an influential negotiator with connections to the local government to Taiji to lobby for Angel to be moved.
After everything she has been through, a life of peace in the sea is the least Angel deserves.
Please help us keep fighting for her by becoming an AFD Dolphin Defender - we thank you sincerely for your help.