The town of Taiji caught worldwide attention as the setting for the Oscar Award-winning documentary, “The Cove,” which features dolphins culled by the local fishermen. This time, another controversy has pushed the coastal town in the spotlight with a recent lawsuit filed against its local museum because of the capture of an albino dolphin environmentalists call, “Angel.”
Some activists went to the Taiji Whaling Museum but were refused entry because they oppose the hunts. They went to file a lawsuit accusing them of violating the Japanese Constitution and are seeking ¥6.7 million in damages. The woman who filed the lawsuit was with some cast members of the documentary, “The Cove,” who wanted to see the conditions on which the albino dolphin, Angel is confined. Ric O’Barry, one of the cast members said, “She’s a symbol of the hundreds of thousands of dolphins that have been slaughtered needlessly in that cove,” in reference to the dolphin cull that happens in a cove near Taiji every year. O’Barry is one of the many activists calling for the end of the slaughter. He is also campaigning for Angel to be moved outside her current tank, as it is too dark and crowded with all the other dolphins on display. While the natural course would be to bring Angel back to the sea, her pod had already left as she was caught while migrating to another location. Leaving her alone to fend for herself would be life-threatening since she is still young. O’Barry said, “Saving Angel, bringing attention to her, worldwide attention, could end the traffic captivity of dolphins from Taiji, and stop the slaughter.”
O’Barry along with Sarah Lucas, CEO of Australia for Dolphins were among the many who oppose the dolphin hunt in by Japan. Lucas, a plaintiff of the lawsuit hopes that it would put an end to the hunts and pave the way for further scrutiny of the decades-old tradition. Taiji, on the other hand, continues to defend their stance, saying that dolphin and whale hunts have been their source of livelihood for years.
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