Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Message From Ric O'Barry

It's hard to believe the year is drawing to an end, and what a year it has been!

Your support has led to some of our most important successes - things that just two years ago I wasn't sure would be possible: Here are just a few of the highlights:

We opened "The Cove" in Japan despite intense opposition, and received unprecedented coverage of the issue. Before "The Cove" came out, I was beating down the doors of media in Japan begging them to cover the story. After "The Cove," they met me at the airport and followed us to almost every location. Our press conference was attended by over 100 media representatives, including every major broadcast outlet. We still have a lot of work to do, but the secret is now out!

Japan is one of three nations hunting dolphins. The other two are The Faroe Islands and The Solomon Islands. Because of your support, we were able to negotiate a deal that ENDS the majority of hunting in The Solomon Islands. We estimate that around 2000 dolphins will be saved each year.

You all took unprecedented actions. Almost 100 of you went back to Japan with me at the beginning of the hunting season to present our petition signatures (1.7 million at the time.) More still called or showed up at Japanese Embassies and Consulate offices in Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Dublin, Cape Town, the Philippines, Canberra, Hong Kong, and more. Activists from all over the world and many different organizations are now on the ground monitoring the fisherman daily.

We were called to Egypt, where we found four dolphins from Taiji languishing in someone's backyard pool. Working with local activists from HEPCA we were able to get them moved and the city passed a ban on all imports from Taiji.

Again, and I can't say this enough, we couldn't do any of this without YOU. And we still have a long way to go - in Japan especially - but know that with your continued support we'll be able to do much more.

Thank you for all that you do!

Ric O'Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins

An Open Letter To The Mayor of Taiji

December 1, 2010

Mayor Kazutaka Sangen

Taiji-cho Town Hall
3767-1 Taiji-cho
Wakayama Prefecture
649-5171 Japan

I hope you and the people of Taiji are doing well.

As you know, I chose not to take part in your meeting in Taiji on November 2nd, because I felt the restrictions placed on participants and media were unfair and restricted the dialog that we both are seeking.

I would, as an alternative, propose that you and I meet in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club for an open meeting without restrictions on either the participants or the media.

I would like to come in the spirit of mutual understanding and free flow of discussion.

I and my organization have a long history of engaging in peaceful efforts to save dolphins around the world. We believe hunts of this nature are not good for dolphins or humans. We have long expressed our concerns for people who eat dolphin meat, including those in Taiji, the Faroe Islands, and the Solomon Islands.

We have great respect for the people of Taiji and the people of Japan, and we have never broken any laws. Nor do we support a boycott of Japan, unlike other organizations.

We believe open discussion and finding alternatives for the hunts is the best way to address these issues.

We still believe that it would be constructive at this time to have a dialogue.Thank you for your consideration of having a meeting with me in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club at a time we can mutually agree on.

With respect and humility,

Richard O’Barry
Campaign Director
Save Japan Dolphins
Earth Island Institute

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