Stop Futo dolphin drive hunting!


For Immediate Release

October 21h 2019

As a protest against Ito City Futo district resuming dolphin drive hunting,
over 200ganizations from around the world urge UNESCO to cancel the “Izu Peninsula Geopark” designation

It has been announced that dolphin drive hunting by the Futo Branch of the Ito Fishery Cooperative “Ito Gyokyo”, which had not been performed for the last 15 years since 2004, will resume from this year. The Izu Peninsula was certified in 2018 by the official UNESCO programme “World Geopark”, but resuming dolphin drive hunting is against its philosophy. In response, we are informing you that the following actions were taken today at the request of two organizations, the certified NPO Animal Rights Center Japan and PEACE.

  • 23 organizations operating mainly in Japan jointly sent a request document to UNESCO’s International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP), requesting revocation of the Izu Peninsula World Geopark designation.
  • An international alliance of animal welfare organizations, “Asia for Animals” (21 main organizations), and another alliance working on whale rearing issues in mainland China, “China Cetacean Alliance” (9 organizations), jointly sent a request document for the same purpose to UNESCO IGGP. Including endorsements, more than 183 groups are represented.
[Background and Purpose]

The Geopark designation was suspended once in a screening in 2015, and one of the reasons was that dolphin drive hunting was being carried out. The dolphin drive hunting to have resumed from the fishing season on October 1 this year is trying to avoid criticisms of killing dolphins by making it only for the purpose of selling live bodies to aquariums. However, although the last hunting was conducted for the purpose of capturing live bodies, dolphins who died during the hunting operations were butchered as meat.

Even if hunting is aimed at capturing live bodies, dolphins get injured and die in panic. Above all, it is still an act of capturing and exploiting wild animals. Dolphins are used simply for people’s easy temporary entertainment and will be confined to small, shallow pools for many years.

With the growing international criticism of dolphin exhibits and dolphin shows, the controversy surrounding the aquarium business in Japan continues to heat up. In accordance with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ code of ethics, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums also bans dolphin captures from the wild. Capturing more alive from the wild when they die, or “consumption of wildlife”, is supported by the popularity of dolphin shows, and UNESCO must not approve this.

Protesting that dolphin drive hunting, which is significantly contrary to the Geopark concepts of “nature conservation”, “education”, and “sustainable development”, is to be conducted in the Izu Peninsula Geopark, we have requested cancellation of UNESCO World’s Geopark designation for “Izu Peninsula Geopark”.

* Please refer to the attached request document for the full text and a list of sponsoring organizations from Japan.

Certified NPO Animal Rights Center Japan
PEACE “Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation”

Request letter

October 21th 2019

Mr. Kristof Vandenberghe
Secretary of the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) , UNESCO

Request: “Ito Fishery Cooperative” in Futo, Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture, has resumed dolphin drive hunting for the purpose of selling live animals. As Futo will no longer be in compliance with UNESCO Geopark standards, we request that the Izu Peninsula Geopark designation be rescinded immediately.

We are animal advocacy organizations operating in Japan. In Japan, the Izu Peninsula received the Geopark designation in 2018. Within this Geopark, the Ito-city fishery cooperative “Ito Fishery Cooperative” announced that it will resume dolphin drive hunting, an activity that has not been carried out for 15 years. Previously, the hunting was also for food, but the dolphin drive hunting to be resumed on October 1, 2020 is intended solely for the sale of live animals to aquariums. However, this does not change the act of capturing and using wild animals. Captured dolphins will not be used for research purposes but for people’s simple entertainment. Being confined to small and shallow pools for years, their animal welfare issues are significant. This is probably an even worse form of environmental destruction and animal abuse than using them for food.

Dolphin drive hunting performed by Ito Fishery Cooperative is similar to hunting performed in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, where fishermen use metal rods inserted into the water to create a wall of sound to herd dolphins into the harbor. By banging on these metal rods with a hammer or other object, fishermen create noise, causing acoustically-sensitive dolphins to flee in extreme fear and panic.

Captured dolphins often die from shock after being handled and traumatized by the chase and capture process. They are then subjected to the stress of being restrained and then transported long distances between facilities. After they reach their destination, they are placed in artificial tanks at aquariums, where dolphins often die premature deaths, suffering from diseases such as stress, pneumonia, and infections.

With the growing international criticism of dolphin exhibits and dolphin shows, the controversy surrounding the aquarium business in Japan is only heating up. UNESCO should not be complicit in this lifecycle of suffering and exploitation: dolphins will die during the capture process, and those that survive, are destined for a deprived life in captivity, traded between facilities and separated from their families. These activities are also depleting wild dolphin populations, and are far from sustainable. In addition, catching dolphins whose numbers have decreased due to marine pollution and bycatches can cause serious damage to the marine ecosystems.

These hunts violate all basic UNESCO principles and standards regarding education and sustainability, and should be openly condemned, or at least not rewarded or endorsed through Geopark status.

Dolphin drive hunting that is significantly contrary to Geopark’s concept of “nature conservation”, “education”, and “sustainable development” will take place within Izu Peninsula Geopark. In response to this, we request the cancellation of UNESCO Global Geopark designation for Izu Peninsula Geopark.


Certified NPO Animal Rights Center Japan
PEACE “Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation”

Sent on behalf of the following organisations:
Aira’s Community Cats in Nagoya
All Life In a Viable Environment(ALIVE)
Animal Life Station (alis)
Animal Rights Chubu
Animal Welfare Promotion Network
ARAM Project
Association to Protect the Northernmost Dugong
Choices for Tomorrow (CFT)
Farm Sanctuary OPEN SESAME
Heal The Oceans Japan
Help Animals
Hogo Cat Cafe Nekokatsu Home Animal Society
Hot Pink Dolphins, marine ecosystem conservation action group in South Korea
Japan Anti-Vivisection Association(JAVA)
Juridical Foundation Animal environment & Welfare Association Eva
Okunohara Park Clean Project
Tier Heim KOKUA
Toyota Community Cats Group
Veglife Promotion Club

>PEACE stands for “Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation”.

PEACE stands for “Put an End to Animal Cruelty and Exploitation”.

PEACE campaign to raise awareness of the terrible animal suffering and exploitation taking place behind the scenes in out modern, convenient and comfortable world.