Activists launch lawsuit against Taiji Whale Museum

A group of anti-dolphin hunting activists announced at the Foreign Correspondents’ Cub of Japan yesterday that they had launched a lawsuit against the owner and operator of the Taiji Whale Museum.

The activists who are part of Australia for Dolphins, Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project, and Save Japan Dolphins assert in their lawsuit that the museum breached Article 14 of the constitution, which prohibits racial discrimination, by denying entrance to visitors, which include dolphin welfare experts and observers, on the basis of their race.

Although the lawsuit targets the museum’s practice of turning away foreigners, activists such as Sarah Lucas, CEO of Australia for Dolphins, hope that by winning they can pressure the museum and local government into providing better accommodations to Angel, a rare albino dolphin calf that was captured in January and is now displayed in a tank in conditions which dolphin advocate Ric O’Barry describe as “hell.”

O’Barry, who had snuck into the museum several times in disguise argued that Angel, who is kept in a tank that is “too small” with male dolphins of different species, is being “bullied” and that she has no one to talk to because the other dolphins “speak a different language.”

“What I would like to see happen is to take Angel out of that tank and just go a few hundred meters and construct a temporary floating pen where she can be in natural sea water,” said O’Barry.

Since starting a petition on change.org titled “Action for Angel” about two weeks ago, Australia for Dolphins has gathered almost 30,000 people signatures to ask the Taiji government to release Angel into a shaded sea pen.

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