Our beautiful seas and oceans cover about 70% of our planet's surface, with far more species living in the oceans than on land. The marine environment provides livelihoods and food for hundreds of millions of people, so it is important that we protect it. Yet, right now, millions of animals, including whales, seals, turtles and birds are being mutilated and killed by 'ghost' fishing gear - nets, lines and traps that are abandoned, lost or discarded.
Following on from my article 'Taiji Culture, Tradition or Greed' published on November 28th 2014, I would like to introduce you to Rachel Barton. In October this year she made what I would call an extremely difficult decision to travel to Taiji and witness first-hand the merciless and continuous dolphin drives that take place there.
Days ago, from a conference center perched on the edge of the bustling mountain city of Quito, Ecuador, delegates to the Convention on Migratory Species made an urgent and unprecedented call to end the live capture of whales and dolphins. This is the first time that any international body has called for this cruel and unnecessary threat to cetaceans to end.
Many facilities operate almost continuously, giving dolphins little respite from streams of tourists. Their diets may be erratic because many facilities generate additional revenue by selling fish to tourists in order to feed dolphins. Assertive dolphins can grow obese, and less aggressive animals may go hungry.
Nothing makes a good holiday brochure richer than the generic picture of a couple aloft an elephant, trekking through lush forest. What could be more authentically backpackery than that? A truly 'real' experience - just add some fire-juggling, a full moon party and copious amounts of local spirits and you have 1000 Facebook likes right there...
In a precedent-setting case, PETA US, three marine-mammal experts and two former orca trainers are suing SeaWorld on behalf of five orcas who were taken from their home by force, locked up, put to work and never allowed to leave. The case intends to prove that these orcas are being held as slaves in violation of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution. The suit is one of the most groundbreaking legal cases ever to reach the courts - the first ever to assert that a constitutional right should extend to nonhuman animals.