The captive dolphins in Taiji are kept in miserable conditions (which is by no means unusual). The pens in Taiji harbor are right next to the entrance to the harbor, where boats pass within a few feet of the dolphins, who hear every throb and growl of the engines. As the harbor is also enclosed with a sea wall, circulation of the water is very poor, so leaked engine fuel and oil and their own excrement floods the pens. Brian Barnes, our Save Japan Dolphins representative in Taiji, filmed one of the pens – you can see the scum floating on the surface just in back of the net in this sequence:
Brian further photographed one of the trainers injecting something into the fish fed to the dolphins. Dolphins in captivity get all kinds of illnesses – bacterial infections, especially when living in dirty water like the Taiji pens, ulcers from the stress, and other diseases brought on by their captive situation. The trainer is probably providing prophylactic drugs to stave off sickness in these captive dolphins.
Captivity is a dirty deal, in more ways than one!
Please sign our pledge to stop attending any aquarium that keeps live dolphins for shows or swim-with-dolphins programs. Don’t buy a ticket: