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Taiji JAZAFishermen during the annual dolphin hunts in Taiji / Aaron Hall - Sea Shepherd

Japan's Aquariums Refuse Taiji Dolphins

The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) has banned its members from buying dolphins captured during the infamous drive hunts in Taiji

The Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums on Wednesday voted to stop buying dolphins captured during the infamous drive hunts in the samll town of Taiji.

The decision comes after the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) suspended the Japanese organisation's membership, ordering them to cut all ties with the Taiji hunts which first were exposed in the 2009 award-winning documentary The Cove.

The JAZA members voted 99 to 43 to remain a WAZA member and announced not to purchase any dolphin captured during the annual slaughter. 'JAZA will prohibit its members to acquire wild dolphins caught by drive fishing in Taiji and to take part in their export and sale,' the group’s chairman, Kazutoshi Arai, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Whether the ban will be extended to other drive hunts in the country is unclear.

The Japanese organisation oversees 37 of the 54 aquariums that house dolphins, the other 17 are not bound by the decision. 

Speaking to The Guardian, Australia for Dolphins, a dolphin conservation group, described Wednesday’s vote as 'the beginning of the end of dolphin hunting'.

'We are absolutely delighted to hear Japan’s peak zoo body has voted to uphold international animal welfare standards and stop purchasing Taiji dolphins,' Sarah Lucas, the chief executive, said.

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