Legal Defense Appeal: Urgent Message from Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project

The Japanese government is cracking down on those who oppose their war on dolphins.” ~ Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director, Dolphin Project

On January 18, Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project was detained by Japanese immigration officials at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. After arriving into Tokyo at approximately 4:45 p.m., O’Barry was repeatedly interrogated and placed in a deportees’ facility, similar to a jail, where he has been held for over 10 days.

Expounding on their premise that his tourist status wasn’t able to be “fully proven,” immigration officials accused O’Barry of making false claims on his Facebook page. They also took issue with him attending an independent event in Tokyo for Japan Dolphins Day on August 29, 2015, when, during one of his regular interrogations, he told immigration officials he would not attend.

Then, on January 21, the Japanese Ministry of Justice denied an appeal from Dolphin Project’s legal team for O’Barry to enter the country. Immigration officers also issued an order of departure for the same day. O’Barry refused to leave, vowing to fight the deportation order.

O’Barry is no stranger to two hour interrogations. Since the 2009 release of the Academy award-winning documentary “The Cove,” he is regularly detained for questioning every time he visits Japan. But nothing of this magnitude has ever happened before.

Our legal team, represented by The Law Offices of Takashi Takano, has initiated a formal administrative suit and injunction of the deportation warrant. Should O’Barry voluntarily leave the country, he would be banned from entry for a minimum of five years. For a man who has traveled to Taiji for 13 years, exposing the brutal dolphin drives taking place there, this option was unacceptable. .

This is a desperate attempt by the Japanese Government to hide the atrocities in Taiji. My dad is being held as a political prisoner. They have run out of excuses on why the slaughter and sale of mercury contaminated dolphin meat continues. Dolphin hunting in Taiji began in the 1950’s and is hardly cultural or traditional. The dolphins that aren’t slaughtered are sold to dolphin abusement parks around the world.” ~ Lincoln O’Barry

How you can help


Dolphin Project has mounted a legal defense fund, as our legal costs are rapidly escalating. All donations are greatly appreciated and urgently needed.

I will never voluntarily go back home and will try my best to enter Japan. I am not an enemy of the Japanese people.” Ric O’Barry, as told to his lawyer.

Please help with our legal defense fund

Click here to Donate



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About Cara Sands

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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.

A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.

It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.

Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!

"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands

Author: Cara Sands


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