Jeffrey Ventre with Yaki at SeaWorld Jeffrey Ventre with Yaki at SeaWorld They even had Japanese names, "Hana, Yaki, Zori, Teri and Suki." My understanding is that the modern era of drive fisheries began in 1969, when skiffs became more powerful and maneuverable enough to be more efficient at killing. This is important, because SeaWorld first opened its doors in 1964 and was originally a direct buyer from the infamous cove. This is well known.
SeaWorld is silent because they remain a beneficiary of these drives, if not directly, surely indirectly. The last drive-fishery animal at SeaWorld was a false killer whale that was euthanized in 2005, but they have at least one living Pacific White-sided dolphin that came from drive-fishery acquired parents. And according to Dr. Naomi Rose, "The pilot whale Argo was probably drive-caught, but the claim was that he was a stranding" -- essentially a rescued beached dolphin -- "and [the National Marine Fisheries Service] wouldn't dig deeper."
Lastly, any expansion of the captivity industry, in general, grows the business. Folks that have participated in "swim with" programs around the world are more likely to visit SeaWorld's own swim-with program, Discovery Cove. Basically, SeaWorld and Taiji are opposite ends of the same billion dollar corporate driven industry. That is, cheap animals are collected at Taiji, and become commercial assets. SeaWorld is on the display side of that industry and is, even now, working with the Georgia Aquarium to import wild caught belugas caught by Russian hunters.
The company, still on it's heels from "Blackfish" is currently more concerned with U.S. public relations, and cares little about the animals killed in Japan. It's silence here is strategic, and shameful.
ACTION GUIDE: Taiji Dolphin Slaughter
Dolphin roundups and slaughter -- brought powerfully to the public's imagination by the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" -- happen every year in Japan. You can visit Sea Shepherd's site to learn more about the problem. The organization has many ways you can help -- from volunteering to simply spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter. Sea Shepherd also encourages concerned citizens to call and write to the authorities in Taiji as well as the Japanese Embassy in your country, the U.S. Embassy to Japan, U.S. and Japanese Ambassadors to the UN and the U.S. Senate members of the Committee on Foreign Relations, among others -- all of their contact information is on this page. Another group involved in the issue is Earth Island Institute's Save Japan Dolphins.