Monday, April 22, 2013

Upcoming Events

It's that time of year again!

This time, we're raising money for Food Not Bombs NYC. FNB generally depends on donations and reclaimed food, but volunteers often go out of pocket for non-perishables like oils and grains as well as plates and cutlery.
The details:
Where: MooShoes, 78 Orchard St, NYC
When: Sunday, April 28, 12:30-5:30 PM
RSVP: Facebook
Baker/Volunteer signup: Google Doc
AND! SAVE THE DATE! Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Galapagos Director Captain Alex Cornelisson will be in NYC on May 1. We'll be showing the short film Galapagos, followed by a Q&A with the captain.
RSVP on Facebook for updates.
After that, I'm heading to the west coast for Sea Shepherd's Dam Guardian campaign and we should have another NYC volunteer training coming up soon. To find out when that (and other events) is going to be, "Like" the chapter on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Connecting the Dots: Taiji + IMATA

IMATA is the Internatonal Marine Animal Trainers' Association. They're the people responsible for making sure marine animals kept in captivity are treated ethically and humanely*. According to their website, they are committed to

"Exercising the highest levels of respect and humaneness for all animals"


"strongly oppose the slaughter of whales and dolphins that occur in drive fisheries. We have long had a clear and definitive position opposing the slaughter, which is opposed by all international, accredited zoo and aquarium organizations."

But they

"oppose the unreasonable demand that IMATA blacklist trainers [involved with drive fisheries]. For IMATA to do so would, in fact, be counter-productive to the goal of ending the slaughter of animals in drive fisheries. IMATA's mission is to ensure that marine animal trainers -- regardless of the facility for which they work - have access to the most progressive, professional, and responsible animal training and management techniques."

So how do they hope to end these drive fisheries that they're so opposed to?

" IMATA believes that thoughtful dialogue on a difficult subject like commercial whaling (specifically drive fisheries) is important between people of different cultures, and a positive way to make changes that eventually benefit marine animals. Through IMATA membership, trainers have access to a network of professionals continually working to improve training and care techniques; access to educational publications; and can attend our professional meetings where the latest training information is discussed. The well being of marine mammals is the first priority of IMATA members, who are dedicated trainers at parks and aquariums around the world. These trainers care deeply about the whales, dolphins, sea lions and other marine mammals they interact with every day."

By taking people's money, then hoping they'll talk about it! That's bound to work, right?

Two professionals having a respectful dialog about the animals they care about so deeply

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Follow the Greedier

Early one morning this week, we arrived in Taiji expecting to see the dolphin killers doing maintenance on their boats and preparing for the regular fishing season. Instead, we found this:

Divers wrestle dolphins into slings, which the crane lifts into the crates. The crates are then loaded into the truck with a forklift.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Despite the fact that the dolphin drive hunt had pretty much ended by the time I arrived in Taiji, so much has happened that it has been difficult to keep this blog up to date. There hasn't been a single drive since I touched down, but the danger to dolphins doesn't end just because the season does.

Dolphin and whale hunting via harpoon is permitted year round, so even as the sight of boats without banger poles lifted our spirits, we knew it would not last long, as the poles could soon be replaced with harpoons. Additionally, these are just regular fishing boats, so while cetaceans are now safer than they've been for the past few months, all other species of marine life are still at risk.

 Banger poles come down
Fishing poles go up