By Michelle Helou
After a long battle, AFD’s billboard displaying real footage of the Taiji dolphin hunts finally aired and played to thousands of people in Japan. The ad played above a busy intersection in Osaka – the closest major city to the dolphin-hunting town of Taiji.
Local Japanese animal protection groups like Animal Rights Osaka helped spread the message even further by demonstrating in front of the billboard and speaking with passersby about the Taiji dolphin hunts.
This is the first time the uncensored truth about the dolphin hunts has been shown on a billboard in Japan. It is also likely the first time many Japanese people are learning about what goes on just a few short hours away in the small town of Taiji.
Animal Rights Osaka also conducted a poll with people passing by and asked their position on the issue of dolphin hunting. Every sticker on the board represents a member of the public they talked to. The side full of stickers represents all the people who said they are against the hunts, or would stop visiting aquariums now they know where captive dolphins really come from.
Visiting aquariums is a part of life for many Japanese people. Just a few short trains stops from the billboard is Osaka Aquarium – one of the largest public aquariums in the world. Unfortunately, it is number 2 on the “list of things to do in Osaka” on TripAdvisor. But what many don’t know is that Osaka Aquarium currently has one finless porpoise dolphin and four pacific whitesided dolphins captured from Taiji.
The dolphins are kept in a tiny tank about 4 metres wide. They bob lifelessly on the surface of the water, bored and frustrated. In a misleading move by the aquarium, signs near the dolphins’ tank has information about the “Tasman Sea”, when these dolphins are not from there at all.
This world-first billboard will help ensure the Japanese public know the sad reality about where many aquarium dolphins really come from, ensuring they think twice before buying a ticket.
AFD would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who pitched in to the crowdfunding campaign and made this exciting world-first billboard a reality!
If you’d like to watch the English version of the billboard, please click here to see it: https://www.facebook.com/AusForDolphins/videos/1318232588259977/