Press release from WAZA regarding the suspension of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquaria:
WAZA Council votes to suspend Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums following years of negotiations over animal acquisition policies
The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Council voted unanimously this week to suspend the membership of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA). The decision comes after WAZA and JAZA could not reach agreement on issues involving JAZA member zoos and aquariums taking dolphins from the Japanese drive fishery.
WAZA requires all members to adhere to policies that prohibit participating in cruel and non-selective methods of taking animals from the wild.
For a number of years, WAZA has attempted to work collaboratively with JAZA and its members to stop the collection of animals from the Taiji drives fisheries. Annually the drives draw international attention and criticism for the killing of dolphins and WAZA has previously joined other organizations in speaking out against the practice.
WAZA made ongoing attempts to negotiate the issues including during a meeting in Tokyo last year when WAZA proposed that JAZA enforce a two-year moratorium on taking animals from the drive by its members. The moratorium was rejected by JAZA. The issue was discussed again at WAZA's international conference in November with a goal to influence change in JAZA's position on members accepting animals from the drive fisheries. JAZA responded by proposing some guideline changes that would put restrictions on the method of capturing dolphins and improving animal care, but because it did not restrict taking animals from the drive, WAZA Council concluded that a satisfactory agreement could not be reached and voted to suspend the Japanese association’s membership. The basis for the suspension is a determination that JAZA has violated the WAZA Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare. Moreover, WAZA Council re-affirmed its position that members of WAZA must confirm that they will not acquire dolphins from the Taiji fishery.
WAZA’s mission is to serve as the voice of a worldwide community of zoos and aquariums and a catalyst for their joint conservation action. One of the ways WAZA accomplishes this mission is through promoting cooperation between national and regional associations. It is important to note that WAZA still remains committed to continuing discussions with JAZA and its members in an effort to end the loss of animal life through the drive fisheries.
WAZA Executive Office
IUCN Conservation Centre | Rue Mauverney 28 | CH-1196 Gland | Switzerland
Phone: +41 (0)22 999 07 90 | Fax: +41 (0)22 999 07 91