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Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010

O'Barry takes peaceful tack; Taiji on hunt


Staff writer

Animal rights activist Ric O'Barry, who starred in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove," stressed Wednesday in Tokyo he will use peaceful methods to press Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, to stop its annual dolphin slaughter.

News photo
He comes in peace: Ric O'Barry, the former dolphin-trainer for the 1960s "Flipper" TV show, speaks during a reception for 100 animal lovers at a Tokyo hotel Wednesday. AP PHOTO

The port's annual hunt started the same day.

In an event organized by Earth Island Institute, a nonprofit organization, O'Barry said he has heard of calls for a boycott, but he wants to "antiboycott Japan."

"We want people to go to Taiji, go to souvenir shops and restaurants and spend money to stimulate the economy there," he said, noting that would give the town alternative sources of revenue to selling dolphin meat.

Some 110 people participated in the event, including 50 from outside Japan.

O'Barry, event participants and volunteers plan to visit the U.S. Embassy on Thursday to present a 1.7 million-signature petition against Taiji's dolphin hunt.

At the event venue, an Aug. 4 letter written by O'Barry to Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen requesting that they meet was handed out.

"I would like to request a meeting with you for a quiet, off-camera discussion to develop alternatives to the continuation of the annual dolphin hunts in Taiji," O'Barry said in the letter.

His visit to Japan coincides with the start of seasonal dolphin hunting in Taiji, the town documented in "The Cove."

The town's fishermen set out after dolphins Wednesday but did not catch any, an employee at the Taiji fisheries cooperative told The Japan Times.



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