[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.
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?”