Wakayama, May 17 (Jiji Press) — An animal rights activist has filed a lawsuit against Wakayama Prefecture, demanding that it revoke fishing licenses for dolphin fishers in the town of Taiji in the western Japan prefecture.
The suit was filed with Wakayama District Court by Ren Yabuki, head of the nongovernmental organization Life Investigation Agency, based in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan. A man from Taiji joined as a suitor.
The plaintiffs claim that the traditional drive fishing method used by Taiji fishers, violates the animal welfare law, which stipulates that animals must be killed with as little pain as possible.
The method, which inflicts unnecessary pain to dolphins, is beyond the scope of permissions given to the fishers and is therefore illegal, they say.
The prefecture is calling for the plaintiffs’ demand to be dismissed, claiming that they lack the qualifications to sue.
“There are many dolphins that die from panic induced by drive fishing or suffer for a long time due to being stabbed repeatedly,” Yabuki, 45, said at the first hearing held at the court on Friday, demanding that the licenses given to the Taiji dolphin fishers last August be withdrawn.
The Taiji man said that whaling had been familiar to him since when he was a child. But he added that interactions with Japanese and foreign protestors have made him oppose whaling and dolphin fishing. Taiji is traditionally known for its whaling culture.
“I started to feel very strongly that it is wrong to catch and sell dolphins and whales to put in aquariums for show,” the man said.