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Lawsuit forces world's peak zoo body to suspend dolphin-hunting aquariums

April 23, 2015 by Australia for Dolphins  


For immediate release

Following the IWC’s rejection of Japan’s new whaling plan, the nation has suffered another major international embarrassment this week after being thrown out of the world’s leading zoo association over dolphin hunting.

Due to legal action by animal welfare charity Australia for Dolphins (, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has suspended its Japanese member JAZA in relation to its involvement in the globally-condemned Taiji dolphin hunts.

According to the CEO of Australia for Dolphins, Sarah Lucas, “The suspension of JAZA following AFD’s legal action is great news. It is a significant first step towards ending the horrific annual dolphin hunts in Taiji.

“Up to 40% of total demand for Taiji dolphins comes from WAZA network aquariums. WAZA’s decision to suspend its Japanese member for involvement in the hunts is a major blow to the world’s largest dolphin trade.

“This means Japan has been thrown out of the world’s peak zoo organisation. Following the IWC’s recent decision, this is another huge embarrassment to the global reputation of Japan, and another nail in the coffin for the Taiji drive hunts.

“Animal welfare groups have been pleading with WAZA to stop its member organisations taking dolphins from the brutal Taiji drive hunts for more than a decade. After years of maintained pressure and numerous protests, these efforts are gaining global momentum.

“However this is only a first step. WAZA needs to do more. At this point JAZA’s membership has only been suspended, and it could be reinstated at any time.

“Not only that, but the organisation still has members in Korea that source dolphins from the Taiji drive hunts, and others around the world that engage in terrible acts of animal cruelty. This includes chaining, beating and abusing elephants and other animals.

“Australia for Dolphins is continuing with our legal action against WAZA. We’re asking WAZA to enforce it’s own Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare across the board, which would benefit thousands of animals all around the world.

WAZA represents a worldwide community of 1300 zoos and aquariums, with 700 million visitors annually. Some of Australia’s most prominent zoos and aquariums are members, including Taronga, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide zoos.

Australia for Dolphins’ continuing legal action ( alleges that WAZA is misleading the public by claiming its members are committed to the "highest standards of animal welfare."

A number of celebrities and well-known animal welfare advocates have already voiced their support of AFD’s campaign, including international entrepreneur Richard Branson, and world-renowned philosopher Peter Singer.

Contact: Angie Plummer. Ph: 0427 399 056 E: [email protected]

Please note: Sarah Lucas is available for media interviews.

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