One such captive dolphin is Angel, a rare albino dolphin captured in last year's drive hunts who is being kept in atrocious conditions in the Taiji Whale Museum. As Ric O'Barry, the former Flipper-trainer-turned-dolphin-welfare campaigner and founder of Japan Dolphins Day events, states: "The last Taiji hunting season was a brutal one. Across the globe, members of the public reacted to international headlines when hundreds of bottlenose dolphins were herded into the cove in Taiji. One of those dolphins, Angel, became a symbol of the brutality of the hunts and helped to build and galvanize worldwide opposition to the inhumane captures."
As Angel's case highlights, the dolphin drive hunts feed into myriad animal welfare and conservation issues, threatening endangered cetacean populations and causing the suffering of thousands of dolphins – not because the drives are necessary, but to provide animals to perform demeaning tricks for commercial entertainment.
Despite new research that shows dolphins have a unique language, they are still voiceless in the eyes of the law. Which is why we need to raise our voices this coming Japan Dolphins Day and speak on their behalf. The Taiji dolphin drive hunts is an issue that concerns the world, and accordingly events are being held around the globe from Miami to Santiago, London to Hong Kong, Buenos Aires to Melbourne and, crucially, in the small coastal town of Taiji.