Taiji dolphin hunt

Leading travel companies complicit in gruesome Taiji dolphin hunts, new report reveals

Press release

A new report reveals leading travel companies complicit in gruesome Taiji dolphin hunts

Major travel companies are selling tickets to venues who have sourced dolphins from the notorious Taiji hunt, in Japan, which sees the slaughter of hundreds of dolphins and the brutal capture of wild dolphin pods.

Trip.com, Klook, Traveloka, GetYourGuide, and Groupon are among those found to be still selling tickets to over 100 tourist entertainment venues across 17 countries that have links to dolphins from the six-month-long Taiji hunt, which takes place annually between September and March.

A new report, Waves of Profit: How the Tourism Industry Profits from the Taiji Dolphin Hunts by World Animal Protection and Action for Dolphins, shows how the tourist entertainment industry remains a key economic driver of the Taiji hunts, indirectly fuelling demand for the wild capture of live dolphins, which can fetch upto US$150,000 each.

This is despite many travel companies and governments heeding recent campaigns and public demands to ban the use of dolphins as entertainment.

Those remaining tourist companies still profiting from the brutality must take urgent steps to protect wild dolphins and cut all ties with the Taiji hunt.

Nick Stewart, World Animal Protection’s Wildlife Campaign Director, said:

The brutality involved in these hunts make it completely indefensible for global travel companies to continue sending unsuspecting travellers to venues who have sourced dolphins from Taiji.

Those travel companies that continue to sell tickets to dolphin entertainment venues are cashing in on the suffering of these intelligent marine mammals.

Hannah Tait, CEO, Action for Dolphins said:

The trade of wild dolphins from Taiji to venues across the world is a secretive business. This report exposes which travel companies are profiting from this outdated and brutal practice.

With this report, these travel companies are on notice to implement animal welfare policies and stop contributing to animal cruelty.

World Animal Protection's polling reveals that 79% of travellers would prefer to see dolphins in the wild rather than in captivity, with 82% saying companies should not be selling activities that cause suffering to wild animals.

The two organisations are calling on travel companies to take immediate action by implementing robust animal welfare policies and ceasing the promotion of all dolphin entertainment venues. By not purchasing tickets to dolphin entertainment venues, travellers can play an important role in keeping dolphins in the wild, where they belong.

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To organise an interview or speak to a spokesperson, please contact: Peter Simpson, Global Media Manager tel: +44 (0) 7803 051 848 email: petersimpson@worldanimalprotection.org

Editor’s notes:

Read the full report here: Waves of Profit: How the Tourism Industry Profits from the Taiji Dolphin Hunts

Imagery can be found here.

Globally, there has been a shift away from dolphin entertainment:

  • 22 countries around the world have banned the import wild caught dolphins.
  • Australia implemented a ban on the wild capture of dolphins in 1991. This prohibition was enforced under the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act.
  • In 2021, French parliament passed a bill that bans dolphin shows as well as wild animals used in circuses.
  • Mexico has a ban on the capture, import and export of all cetaceans.
  • While the UK has no ban on keeping cetaceans in captivity, due to strict regulations the country has no cetaceans in captivity.
  • In 2022, Sweden’s Kolmården zoo, the largest zoo in Scandinavia, announced it will end its dolphin shows. A similar ban has been in place in Canada since 2019.
  • Thanks to World Animal Protection’s global campaign Don’t be Fooled by a Smile and over 350,000 of our supporters, Expedia became the latest among travel agencies to stop selling tickets that include dolphin shows.
  • World Animal Protection co-founded Wildlife Heritage Areas, which promote highest quality, responsible and community-led wildlife watching experiences. There are presently 10 areas including seven offering whale and dolphin watching locations: https://www.wildlifeheritageareas.org/explore-areas/

About World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection is the global voice for animal welfare, with more than 70 years’ experience campaigning for a world where animals live free from cruelty and suffering. We have offices in 12 countries and work across 47 countries. We collaborate with local communities, the private sector, civil society and governments to change animals’ lives for the better.

About Action for Dolphins

Action for Dolphins has been working to impact the economic viability of hunting dolphins in Taiji, Japan, for 12 years. In 2015, Action for Dolphins brought a legal action against the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums which led to 62 Japanese aquariums cutting ties with the dolphin hunts.

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