Comments on Japanese Drive Fisheries
From Jim McBain, Director of Veterinary Service, Sea World Inc. and Brad Andrews, Vice President, Zoological Operations, Sea World, Inc. [Excerpted from the FRONTLINE interview]



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WHAT IS THE POLICY ON ACCEPTING OR COLLECTING ANIMALS FROM THE JAPANESE DRIVE FISHERY NOW?

Right now we don't have any plans to collect any animals from the Japanese drive fishery. And part of that is, it's complicated right now too, because the Japanese are beginning to talk about small whaling again--which is going beyond the realm of the International Whaling Commission's scientific whaling. And they're complicating the issues with all of their programs. And again, going back to the original issue, I think saving the animal's more important, and not interfering with what happens in other parts of the world.

I THINK THERE WAS A COURT DECISION IN THE UNITED STATES THAT RECOGNIZED THAT IPSO FACTO, THE JAPANESE DRIVE FISHERY IS INHUMANE, AND THEREFORE ANY COLLECTION THROUGH THE DRIVE FISHERY WOULD PUT YOU OUTSIDE OF THE LIMITS OF THE MARINE MAMMALS.....

I'm not aware of any lawsuit or court ruling. I do know that one of the conditions of an import from the National Fisheries Service would be that the animals were collected in a humane manner.

IS THAT NOT A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS, WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE JAPANESE DRIVE FISHERY? HOW COULD YOU CALL THAT HUMANE IN ANY WAY?

Well, it's not humane, because they're going to kill them and eat them. But to save them is humane. We used the same technique in Barnes Lake, Alaska, two years old, and saved nine killer whales that had been trapped in a fresh water lake. We used the same technique. We were called--again, why didn't somebody else-- get called? We got called. We went up there and used the same type of techniques, with boats and pipes over the side, driving the animals towards an opening to save their lives. And it's unfortunate--of those nine, two didn't make it because they'd been in that fresh water lake for too long--they died.

I don't have any answer for you in terms of the Japanese, and if what they're doing is right or wrong. I'm not going to judge them. There's people all over the world right now, that are eating endangered --for delicacies, and catching small (unclear) and eating them. And the river dolphins in Amazon--their genitals are being used for aphrodisiacs. I mean, there's things that go on outside the realm of what we feel is acceptable here, in the United States.

IT'S A LAW OF THE UNITED STATES THAT THERE HAS TO BE A HUMANE COLLECTION, NO MATTER WHETHER IT'S IN ICELANDIC--

That's right.

--OR JAPAN, OR WHEREVER?

And that's part of the condition for an import permit--if they don't give a permit, then you're not going to import the animal.

AND HOW DO YOU PERMIT--I MEAN THE JAPANESE DRIVE FISHERY BY ANYBODY' S--GRANTED KILLING THEM IS INHUMANE-- BUT DRIVING THEM UP INTO A POSITION WHERE THEY CAN BE CAPTURED IS ALSO--INHUMANE.

It's a definition of how you collect an animal, and what your purpose is going to be, and if you' ve ever seen of those processes, you would know the differences. You know, we're getting into the discussion now of a slaughterhouse, and how humane it is to drive the cows through the chute before their last step. I mean, what's humane and what's not? You--expect the food to show up all packaged in the supermarket the next day.

So we're going into, sort of again, a resource issue here on what's right in one country is not right in another. I don't know today, if we applied for a permit, which we're not going to, if the U.S. government would accept the humaneness or non-humaneness of that collection process, or not. Because I'm not sure what court case you're talking about.

HOW MANY ANIMALS HAVE COME HERE THROUGH THE DRIVE FISHERY?

In our collection right now, we have false killer whales. And three of the animals came from drive fisheries, one of them came from a drive fishery that went to the Indianapolis Zoo on a permit, the animals now in our park on a breeding loan. We've had two offspring from that group, so there's six total within the..

NOW I THINK THERE'VE BEEN A LOT TOO THAT JUST DIDN'T SURVIVE VERY LONG... SO THERE HAS BEEN A LARGER ACQUISITION THAN THREE.

There.. over the years there have others that have been in part of the collection, sure, that passed away.

SO CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME KIND OF A NUMBER...

..There's been 15 total. 'Course that information is public information through the National Fisheries Service. It's not like it's a secret that Sea World has.




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