When pressed on the matter by Elsa, Gerald Dick, Executive Director of WAZA, said, "As you know, in some Japanese communities these drives have been part of the culture for centuries." Elsa met Dick's comments with a scathing rebuttal:
In fact, the history of dolphin hunting in Taiji is short. According to The History of Taiji, edited and published by Taiji town in 1979, the first recorded dolphin drive was in 1933, with subsequent hunts occurring in 1936 and 1944. It was not until 1969 that dolphin drives have been conducted on a large scale.
In a statement published by WAZA regarding dolphin capture in Japan, the organization says that it is working with JAZA to implement new rules and improve conditions. But in the same document, WAZA says, "The only WAZA member institution to have taken wild caught dolphins from the drive fishery has now left the association" -- a statement that has been called into question by the inclusion of the Taiji Whaling Museum as a "linked" facility.
Now, conservationists in Japan and abroad are calling for WAZA to cut ties with JAZA, writes activist Ric O'Barry in The Huffington Post: