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World Love for Dolphins Day on February 13, 2016, marks the third year of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s protests to bring dolphin defending voices together. In 2014 and 2015, Sea Shepherd held protests outside Japanese embassies and consulates across the world. For World Love for Dolphins Day 2016, Sea Shepherd shifted the focus to those who profit from the dolphin captivity industry the travel agents, cruise lines and other businesses that sell swim with dolphin packages and dolphin captivity centers.  Although Sea Shepherd is not a protest organization, World Love for Dolphins Day serves as a reminder that the captive dolphin industry cannot be separated from the slaughter of wild dolphins.

In 2003, Sea Shepherd made Taiji, Japan infamous. This small coastal village on the Pacific coast is the site of one of a few hunts during which dolphins are driven from the open ocean into a small cove to be selected for a life of captivity or to be slaughtered. Sea Shepherd launched Operation Infinite Patience dolphin defense campaign in 2010. As the only organization with a full-time presence on the ground for the six-month killing season, Sea Shepherd’s team of Cove Guardians document the slaughter and captivity process and ensure that the name Taiji is synonymous with dolphin captivity.

After five campaigns of being infinitely patient, Sea Shepherd launched Operation Henkaku on September 1, 2015. Instead of just drawing attention to the slaughter and capture of dolphins, this new campaign focuses on the money that funds the captive dolphin industry. Since September 1, 2015, more than 500 other dolphins have lost their lives in the Killing Cove in Taiji. And as of early February 2016, 100 dolphins have been taken captive. They will live their lives away from the open ocean and away from their families; and be forced to perform tricks for food.

As a three-time veteran Cove Guardian, I have seen more slaughtered dolphins than I care to remember and, even more, dolphins torn apart from their families. The sight of the blood, the smell of the blood, and the sounds of dolphins thrashing in the waters are individually horrific. But perhaps the most horrific thing is to see a dolphin’s spirit broken. Training a dolphin starts with starving the dolphin. Food is used as a reward. But sometimes, a dolphin refuses to eat. That is when I saw the utter depravity of dolphin captivity: a dolphin trainer sticking their arm into the stomach of a dolphin to force feed or force medicate them. Seeing this action should not be surprising. The blood from the dolphin slaughter is literally on the hands of anyone who participates in or benefits from the dolphin captivity industry.

World Love for Dolphin Day is your day to say no to captivity. It is your day to give your voice to the dolphins being captured in Taiji, Japan and around the world, and to give your voice to the dolphins already in captivity. The dolphins captured in Taiji are no different than the dolphins in swim with dolphin programs and in dolphin amusement parks like SeaWorld. In fact, any wild-caught dolphin most likely came from the Taiji dolphin drive. Every single dolphin in captivity has been starved as a training tool. Every single dolphin in captivity needs your voice.

Click here to learn more about World Love for Dolphins Day and please join us on February 13, 2016, at the following locations:

Atlanta, GA

Georgia Aquarium
225 Baker St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30313

12 PM – 2 PM

Baltimore, MD
11 AM – 1 PM
National Aquarium
501 E Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Boston, MA
12 PM – 2 PM
Liberty Travel – Boston
467 Washington St, Boston, Massachusetts 02111

Brookfield, IL
12 PM – 3 PM
Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, Illinois 60513

New York, NY
12 PM – 2 PM
Liberty Travel Union Square Mega Shop
25 West 14th Street
New York, NY 10011

Philadelphia, PA
1 PM – 3 PM
Liberty Travel Philadelphia
1524 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

Portland, ME
10 AM – 2 PM
Monument Square
Portland, Maine 04101

San Antonio, TX
11 AM – 1 PM
SeaWorld San Antonio
10500 Sea World Drive
San Antonio, TX 78251

San Diego, CA
10 AM – 12:45 PM (taking place on Feb 14th)
SeaWorld San Diego
399 Sea World Drive
San Diego Ca 92109

San Francisco, CA
12 PM – 4PM
Pier 27 Grand Princess Cruise Terminal. San Francisco
San Francisco, California 94111

Los Angeles, CA
12 PM – 2 PM
Across from the Beverly Hilton
9925 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA. 90210

Toronto, ON
10 AM – 1 PM
Dundas Square
1 Dundas Street E
Toronto, ON M5B 2R8

Vancouver, BC
1 PM – 3 PM
Vancouver Aquarium
845 Avison Way
Vancouver BC

Melbourne, Australia
12 PM – 2 PM
GPO Steps, Bourke St Mall
Melbourne VIC 3000

Perth, Australia
10 AM – 12 PM
Northbridge Piazza
Corner of James and Lake Streets
Northbridge WA 6003

Berlin, Germany
1 PM – 3 PM
Japanese Embassy Germany
Hiroshimastr. 6
10785 Berlin, Germany

Düsseldorf, Germany
12 PM – 5 PM
Japanese Consulate General – Dusseldorf
Immermannstr . 45 , D-40210
40233 Dusseldorf , Germany

Barcelona, Spain
11 AM – 1 PM
Japanese Consulate General in Barcelona, Spain
Avda. Diagonal, 640- 2ºD.
08017 Barcelona
Spain

Madrid, Spain
11 AM – 1 PM
Japanese Embassy in Spain
C/ Serrano, 109
28006 Madrid
Spain

Lead image source: Alessandro Caproni/Flickr



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