Australia activist takes Japan dolphin slaughter town to court

Jul 04, 2014
A photo on July 4, 2014 shows Sarah Lucas, head of the "Australia for Dolphins" group, speaking to reporters after the first hearing on the lawsuit against the Taiji Whale Museum in Wakayama prefecture

A court case pitting an Australian activist against a Japanese town known for its annual dolphin hunt got under way Friday with allegations that the campaigner was thrown out of a marine museum.

Sarah Lucas, head of the group "Australia for Dolphins", is seeking seven million yen ($69,000) in damages over claims that include she and her father were "rudely and aggressively escorted" from the Taiji Whale Museum in February.

The regional court in Wakayama prefecture heard that the pair were watching a dolphin show when the alleged incident happened in the town of Taiji, about 450 kilometres (280 miles) south of Tokyo.

The activist had been on her way to check on the condition of an extremely rare albino dolphin calf which had been captured a month earlier.

Lucas said she and her father returned again several days later when a ticket officer showed them a sign with large English letters that read: "No anti-whalers are allowed inside the museum."

"It is unforgivable for them (the museum) to accept only those whose thoughts are likable for them," plaintiff lawyer Takashi Takano told the court, according to a press release issued after the hearing.

"It is against various statutes including the constitution and international covenants on human rights."

Factfile on the minke whale, main target of Japanese hunters

The lawsuit claimed that the museum's barring of "foreign-looking visitors" violated Japanese law, which prohibits discrimination based on race or creed.

"I believe the museum had no right to assume, based only on a single glance, that my father and I are troublemakers or bad people," Lucas told the court, the statement said.

The defendants' lawyer declined to comment on the case when contacted by AFP.

However, the museum's director, Katsuki Hayashi, earlier said that "we welcome (foreigners) who are clearly tourists.

"We aim to protect the town's culture, assets and fishery," he added.

Taiji, which garnered international headlines after its appearance in the 2009 documentary The Cove, has become a flashpoint in a fight by activists to stop Japan's whaling programme and the town's dolphin slaughter.

In the annual hunt, local fishermen corral hundreds of into a secluded bay to kill them for meat or sell them to aquariums.

Defenders of the bloody hunt say it is a tradition and point out that the animals it targets are not endangered, a position echoed by the Japanese government.

They say Western objections are hypocritical and ignore the killing of other animals for food, including cows and pigs.

The next hearing is set for mid-September.

Explore further: Japan whaling town sued by dolphin activists

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan whaling town sued by dolphin activists

May 15, 2014

Animal rights activists said Thursday they had sued a major Japanese whaling town internationally condemned for its dolphin hunts for banning "foreign-looking" visitors from its whale museum.

Japanese fishermen capture dolphins ahead of slaughter

Jan 18, 2014

Fishermen and divers caught at least 25 dolphins in a controversial Japanese fishing village Saturday, according to environmentalists, who said the process was captive selection ahead of a mass slaughter.

Japan 'Cove' town plans dolphin park

May 01, 2012

The dolphin-hunting Japanese town of Taiji, made infamous by the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove", plans to open a marine mammal park where visitors can swim with the creatures, a media report said.

Japan dolphin-killing town to open marine park

Oct 07, 2013

The Japanese town made infamous by the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" will open a marine park where visitors can swim with dolphins, but its annual slaughter of the creatures will continue in a nearby ...

Fishermen kill 30 more dolphins in Taiji

Jan 23, 2014

Fishermen in the small Japanese town of Taiji killed more than two dozen striped dolphins on Thursday, campaigners said, as global outrage over the slaughter grows.

Recommended for you

Team defines new biodiversity metric

22 hours ago

To understand how the repeated climatic shifts over the last 120,000 years may have influenced today's patterns of genetic diversity, a team of researchers led by City College of New York biologist Dr. Ana ...

Changes in farming and climate hurting British moths

Aug 29, 2014

Britain's moths are feeling the pinch – threatened on one side by climate change and on the other by habitat loss and harmful farming methods. A new study gives the most comprehensive picture yet of trends ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jonseer
2 / 5 (2) Jul 04, 2014
1/3 of Australian Mammals are facing emminent extinction.

It could be a matter of just a few more years before the Tasmanian Devil is functionally extinct in the wild thanks to the wait and see attitude adopted by Australian wildlife managers towards the 100% fatal contagious cancer that is killing Tasmanian Devils so rapidly, that in just 3 years their #s have dropped almost 80%.

In light of such a modern record of wholesale, utter neglect and complete disregard for the wildlife of her own nation, that she goes to Japan to lecture them on protecting wildlife is beyond ludicrous.

IT DOES HOWEVER explain why the state of Australia's very unique, one of a kind life is facing extinction across the nation.

The people who say they are environmentalists are shilling for the government shifting focus overseas so corporate interests can continue their efforts to rid Aus. of it's bothersome wildlife that stands in the way of cutting the few forests and surface mining.
Sinister1812
5 / 5 (1) Jul 04, 2014
^ That is absolute crap!

There are people working around the clock to protect our wildlife. No one wants to see it disappear. Ask any Australian.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2014
All the "animal rights activists", "anti fur" demonstrators, vegetarians. If you look, you will see that, despite their proclaimed concern for "all living things", they will have an abnormally high preponderance, if it isn't universal, of support for abortion. They bleat sentiments from, "It can't think", "it can't feel", to, "It's dependent on its mother, so it doesn't qualify as 'living'", to, "We got the law to accept abortion and the law is always right." Even the amoeba can sense and understand its situation. If being connected by an umbilical makes a fetus "not alive", why do abortionists kill it while it's still inside the mother rather than extract it and kill it then? They're following the law. But, then, the law also said blacks were not humans, too, As with all supporters of a lie, abortion advocates will not discount these points, only mock. And that includes those who give every comment I make a "1" rating, without even reading it,
ugosugo
1 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2014
Bloody Australians GO HOME!
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (1) Jul 07, 2014
Bloody Australians GO HOME!


I think the same sort of thing when I see busloads of Japanese tourists in the Rockies.