THE JAPANESE DOLPHIN HUNTS: IN QUEST OF INTERNATIONAL LEGAL PROTECTION FOR SMALL CETACEANS (.pdf file - 161.38 KB)
By Rachelle Adam
This article sets out to explore the international legal status of those dolphins targeted by the Japanese drive hunts. It is estimated that over 2,500 small cetaceans—dolphins, porpoises, and small whales—will be killed as a result of the drive hunt, out of a total of over twenty thousand killed annually in Japan by direct catch. Since humans have literally pushed dolphins to the brink of extinction, humans have an ethical duty to stop the cruelty perpetrated against them and to ensure the survival of their species. This ethical duty should be turned into an international legal duty, with a correlated legal right for dolphins to international protection. Inseparable from and interwoven with the absolute and devastating cruelty of the drive hunts and the excruciating suffering of the dolphins, are the implications from a conservationist perspective on the targeted dolphin populations. For cetacean diversity, like biodiversity worldwide, is declining at a rapid and increasing rate. Action must finally be taken by international environmental institutions to bring an end to these inhumane practices.