Open Letter to the Mayor of Taiji


December 1, 2010

Mayor Kazutaka Sangen

Taiji-cho Town Hall

3767-1 Taiji-cho


Wakayama Prefecture

649-5171 Japan


I hope you and the people of Taiji are doing well.

As you know, I chose not to take part in your meeting in Taiji on November 2nd, because I felt the restrictions placed on participants and media were unfair and restricted the dialog that we both are seeking.

I would, as an alternative, propose that you and I meet in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club for an open meeting without restrictions on either the participants or the media.

I would like to come in the spirit of mutual understanding and free flow of discussion.

I and my organization have a long history of engaging in peaceful efforts to save dolphins around the world.  We believe hunts of this nature are not good for dolphins or humans.  We have long expressed our concerns for people who eat dolphin meat, including those in Taiji, the Faroe Islands, and the Solomon Islands.

We have great respect for the people of Taiji and the people of Japan, and we have never broken any laws.  Nor do we support a boycott of Japan, unlike other organizations.

We believe open discussion and finding alternatives for the hunts is the best way to address these issues.

We still believe that it would be constructive at this time to have a dialogue.  Thank you for your consideration of having a meeting with me in Tokyo at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club at a time we can mutually agree on.


With respect and humility,


Richard O’Barry

Campaign Director

Dolphin Project

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About Ric O'Barry

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Ric O’Barry, Dolphin Project Founder & Director has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, making him an invaluable asset in the efforts to end exploitation. He worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 40 working against it.

In the 1960s, O’Barry was employed by the Miami Seaquarium, where he captured and trained dolphins, including the five dolphins who played the role of Flipper in the popular American TV-series of the same name. He also trained Hugo, the first orca kept in captivity east of the Mississippi. When Kathy, the dolphin who played Flipper most of the time, died in his arms, O’Barry realized that capturing dolphins and training them to perform silly tricks is simply wrong.

From that moment on, O’Barry knew what he must do with his life. On the first Earth Day, 1970, he launched a searing campaign against the multi-billion dollar dolphin captivity industry and has been going at it ever since.

Over the past 40 years, Ric O’Barry has rescued and rehabilitated dolphins in many countries around the world, including Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, the Bahamas Islands and the United States. He is a leading voice in the fight to end brutal dolphin hunts in Japan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands, and wherever else they occur.

O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” O’Barry received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program. He has done countless interviews with such prestigious news programs as Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, the Mike Huckabee Show, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

His book Behind the Dolphin Smile was published in 1989; a second book, To Free A Dolphin was published in September 2000. Both of them are about his work and dedication. He is the star of the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove and the Animal Planet television series Blood Dolphin$.

Author: Ric O'Barry


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