In 2012 I made a life-altering trip to Japan, where I witnessed the Taiji dolphin hunts first-hand. A few weeks later I left my job, moved to Melbourne, and founded a tiny charity called Action for Dolphins.
Since that time, with the help of our amazing supporters, AFD has worked on a number of campaigns. We’ve brought legal actions in Japan, Switzerland, and Australia, and in 2015 we were successful in stopping more than 60 Japanese aquariums from buying dolphins captured in Taiji.
The whole time, we’ve never stopped working on a plan to end the drive hunts, and for the past six years we’ve been putting together a lawsuit to challenge the dolphin hunts head on.
We teamed up with lawyers and barristers from Japan, New York, and Australia to build the case, and found a brave Japanese plaintiff willing to stand up and speak out for dolphins. With the generous support of The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, we were finally able to make our legal action a reality.
Today, six years of work paid off when, at a press conference in Tokyo, we officially announced we have filed a world-first legal action against the Taiji dolphin hunts.
Announcing the legal action with our incredible plaintiff from LIA, at a press conference in Tokyo.
Dolphins have historically been viewed as “fish” in Japan, and the laws protecting mammals from cruelty have not been applied to them. However, our lawsuit argues that dolphins are biologically mammals, and the horrific cruelty inflicted on them during the Taiji hunts is therefore illegal.
We will also present evidence in an effort to prove Taiji fishermen flout the conservation quotas stipulated in their hunting permits, and have illegally captured more than 400 dolphins in excess of their quotas in the past five years.
Some of the best legal minds in animal law have been working on this case, and we are so excited it has finally launched. If we win, the dolphin hunting permit will be declared invalid, and the hunts will come to an end.
The Japanese legal system is entirely different from Australia’s, so there is no precedent for what we are embarking upon. There’s no guarantee we will win, but we believe if there’s any chance at all, we owe it to the thousands of dolphins suffering and dying in the Taiji hunts every year to give it a go.
We’ll be sure to keep you posted every step of the way as the action progresses through the legal system. But in the meantime, I want to extend a massive thank you to everyone who made today possible.
It has been a long time coming, and the only reason we’re here is because of the kindness and determination of passionate animal welfare supporters.
You’ve been with us every step of the way, and I can’t thank you enough for standing up and fighting for dolphins.