Celebrities Demand President Make Japan’s Dolphin Slaughter “a Key Factor” in Next Round of TPP Negotiations

[LOS ANGELES, CA]  Dozens of celebrities and activists have joined hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons in calling upon Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to pressure President Barack Obama to refuse signing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) until Japan abandons its practice of drive hunt slaughter and capture of dolphins and porpoises. The letter does not assert a position in regards to the TPP, rather, it attempts to inject the growing concern over Japan’s wanton slaughter of cetacean species into the next round of trade talks scheduled to be held from February 17 – 19, 2014. News of the letter, sent to Ambassador Kennedy’s office yesterday afternoon, was broken by the Associated Press at 12:00pm in Japan, and triggered an avalanche of international news coverage overnight.

taiji cove

Sean Penn, Jennifer Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Oliver Stone are among a portion of the laundry list of undersigned celebrities, each expressing outrage over the slaughter. The letter specifically focuses on the seasonal drive hunt held annually in Japan’s Taiji Cove.

“Since the start of the Taiji drive hunt season on September 1, 2013, over 600 dolphins have been slaughtered,” states the letter “…and over 149 were taken captive, slated to live lonely, degrading, psychosis-inducing lives analogous to enslavement at amusement parks, as chronicled in the film ‘Blackfish’. The drive hunt and slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales that occurs throughout Japan each year is Japan’s shame. These barbaric drives, that began in 1969, must be stopped immediately.”

The TPP and the process in which any agreement will be reached has remained largely shrouded from public discourse. The letter expresses some of the groups frustration regarding the TPP’s lack of transparency and avoidance of democratic process…

“Corporations have spent the past two years marking-up the language of the TPP to serve their interests, should human compassion not be afforded the same privilege as business interests?”

The full text of the letter can be read below. A Japanese translation of the letter is available to share HERE.  A copy of the original can be viewed HERE.


*

Russell Simmons
February 5, 2014
*
*
Dear Ambassador Kennedy,

*

We, the undersigned, ask you to personally deliver this petition to President Barack Obama urging him to NOT sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) until Japan bans the slaughter and capture of Dolphins in Taiji.

Following the graphic news reports on January 17th that five pods of Bottlenose dolphins were driven into Taiji’s infamous killing cove, leaving 40 slaughtered and 51 captured, people watching from around the world were left heartbroken. In the wake of this massacre, thousands expressed their gratitude to you for expressing your opposition to these killings and captures on social media. We join them in gratitude for your concern for the dolphins of Japan.

Images of the panicked Bottlenose (more than 250 in total-including a very rare white calf who may be blind and/or deaf) broke the hearts of millions, as they watched the live-streamed coverage, or viewed photographs taken by those present during the drive hunt. The widely-shared video documenting terrified families of dolphins clinging together as Taiji fisherman ran them over with their boats, cordoned them off with nets, and drove them towards the killing cove, has sparked an international outcry to end this brutality.

Since the start of this Taiji drive hunt season on September 1, 2013, over 600 dolphins have been slaughtered, and over 149 were taken captive, slated to live lonely, degrading, psychosis-inducing lives analogous to enslavement at amusement parks, as chronicled in the film “Blackfish”. The drive hunt and slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales that occurs throughout Japan each year is Japan’s shame. These barbaric drives, that began in 1969, must be stopped immediately.

We, the undersigned, are not using this petition to assert a position in regards to the TPP, rather we are underscoring that your influential voice in defense of the dolphins of Japan is instrumental in expressing to the White House the importance of making their slaughter and captive trade a key factor in the negotiations ahead. Corporations have spent the past two years marking-up the language of the TPP to serve their interests, should human compassion not be afforded the same privilege as business interests? Although we understand that the negotiations have been quite lengthy, at this point, we feel the only way to end these heinous crimes against dolphins migrating through Japan’s waters is to inject our position into the current conversation regarding the trade agreement.

The world is looking to you, Ambassador Kennedy, and to our government to send a clear message to Japan that this atrocity must be banned NOW.

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For the dolphins, For all of humanity,
*
Russell Simmons & Simone Reyes
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with
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Sean Penn
Mia Farrow
Sam Simon
Cher
Moby
Ann Wilson
Emily Deschanel
Ingrid Newkirk / PETA
Diane Warren
Courtney Love
Captain Paul Watson
Susan Sarandon
Chris DeRose / Last Chance for Animals
Jennifer Hudson
Nick Cannon
Melissa Carbone / TTO Productions
Shannon Elizabeth
Oliver Stone
Trevor Neilson / Global Philanthropy Group
Nathan Runkle / Mercy for Animals
Ellen DeGeneres
Gene Baur / Farm Sanctuary
Ian Somerhalder
Olivia Munn
Kellan Lutz
Shannen Doherty
Charlize Theron
Cameron Diaz
Alicia Silverstone
Channing and Jenna Tatum
Woody Harrelson
Pamela Anderson
Sharon Lawrence
William Shatner
Tony Kanal
Gwyneth Paltrow
Jennifer Aniston
Josh Gad
Nancy Wilson
John Salley
Denise Richards
Ric O’Barry / The Cove / The Dolphin Project
Reverend Jesse Jackson

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To arrange an interview with Simone Reyes or Russell Simmons regarding this initiative please contact Andy Stepanian at andy@sparrowmedia.net or 631.291.3010. information about how to take action to stop the Taji dolphin drive-hunt is available via The Cove Guardians HERE as well as from The Dolphin Project HERE 

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Comments

8 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. SHARAIN ZUBAIR,

    In the name of the creator,please help to save these harmless living breathing creations of GOD. Sir please intervine and stop this slaughter.

  2. While I whole kindheartedly agree with the intention of this letter to help stop the senseless abuse of dolphins, I have a hard time agreeing with the idea that it is tied to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

    This quid pro quo gives the impression that if Japan agrees to stop abusing the dolphins that it is then okay for President Obama to sign the TPP. Really? It is NOT okay for President Obama to sign the TPP in exchange for anything! The TPP is an unfair trade agreement that destroys the national sovereignty and the lives of the citizens of any participating nation including Japan and the United States of America.

    The celebrities that signed this letter now need to make a state against the passage of the TPP or any free trade agreement that have been authored by the trans/multi-national corporations in secret without one Congressman present to represent “we the people.”

    Japan needs to stop the abuse of dolphins because it is the right thing to do period.

    • Author admin,

      D’Marie, This effort is by no means a silent nod to the TPP. Moreover, it is not a quid pro quo. Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (who have signed onto this letter) have been outspoken about opposing Fast Track & multiple issues raised in the TPP chapters released by Wikileaks in November. The Sparrow Project has worked to support several efforts to quash Fast Track and has consulted with several groups regarding TPP. We would not trade one harm for another, period.

      To think that a celebrity petition would derail talks that leverage 40% of the worlds GDP is quixotic at best. What this DOES do is send a powerful message to Japan that their practice of cetacean slaughter has created such an outcry that it is now posing a potential threat to Japan’s economy. We need to be firm when asserting that morally bankrupt practices can render you, literally, bankrupt.

  3. karen,

    thank you ALL for all you are doing to bring awarness to the world~xo

  4. There is no excuse to do what TaiJi is doing to these sentient and highly intelligent creatures. That human beings continue to do this, in this day and age is a sad indictment of how far we have come as a species and supposedly the stewards of the planet.
    Not only Japan but every country involved in the wanton slaughter of these magnificent creatures need to seriously sit back and reevaluate themselves and their place as keepers of the planet..I support every effort to stop the slaughter of these wonderful, highly intelligent and sentient creatures.

  5. Simona rinz,

    This has to stop!!!

  6. Ocean,

    Murdering Dolphins is genocide of a species we know little about. We have virtually destroyed their habitat. They have been good to we humans despite our atrocious flaws. The dolphins are loaded with Mercury but the food is still sold to Japanese children and sold to unsuspecting public.
    This atrocity must stop. The planet belongs to all who live here. It was not solely made for humans. We/they have no right to obliterate dolphins for any reason.

  7. jim evanhoe,

    Work with the Surfrider Foundation
    and start a stop buying Japanese products campaign with the Surfrider Foundation

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