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Dolphin and Whale Products Should Be Banned At 2020 Tokyo Olympics

| Mark J. Palmer
Topics: Dolphins, Slaughter, Taiji, Japan, Whaling

On October 11th, the International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute, supported by 27 global environmental and animal welfare organizations, issued a challenge to the International Olympics Committee to ban products of whales and dolphins from being offered or sold at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“The Olympics are about fair play and international cooperation,” stated David Phillips, Director of the International Marine Mammal Project.  “The Japanese hunters’ ways of killing these intelligent, social animals is anything but fair, and the Japan Fisheries Agency has for years flaunted international efforts to protect whales and dolphins.  

“Indeed, the International Court at the Hague has ruled against Japan’s whaling practices in Antarctica, calling on Japan to end the hunts,” Phillips added, “and the International Whaling Commission has repeatedly condemned Japan’s whaling and slaughter of dolphins.”

The letter cites the Olympic Committee’s own policy of humane treatment of animals.  The killing of whales and dolphins by the Japanese industry is done in the most inhumane manner imaginable, using exploding harpoons, spikes shoved into the necks of dolphins, and attacking young as well as old animals.  The bloody slaughter of whales and dolphins by Japanese hunters has been depicted in recent documentaries like The Cove and Whale Wars.

IMMP and other groups have previously sent letters to Japanese Prime Minister Abe urging him to end dolphin and whale hunting in keeping with the spirit of the Olympics.  With a global media focus turned on Japan during the upcoming Olympics, it is clear that the Japanese government and its people will suffer embarassment if the small minority who slaughter whales and dolphins continue to control the issue.

The 32nd Olympiad will be held in Tokyo, Japan, from July 24th to August 9th, 2020.


For more information, see here.


Mr. Thomas Bach, President                    

International Olympics Committee

Olympic Studies Centre

Villa du Centenaire

Quai d’Ouchy 1

1006 Lausanne


RE: Request from Environmental and Animal Welfare Organizations for the International Olympics Committee to ban sales of whale and dolphin meat at Tokyo 2020 Olympics


Dear President Bach:

    Thank you for your response to our letter dated December 5, 2016.  In your response (December 20, 2016) signed by Mr. Mark Adams, Director of Communications for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), it was stated that: “the welfare of any animal that participates in either the Olympic Torch Relay or the Olympic Games is of the highest priority for the IOC.”  We appreciate your expressed public concern for animal welfare.

    While we recognize that the IOC cannot dictate any policies to the sovereign government of Japan, we encourage you to share our animal welfare concerns against whaling and dolphin hunting in our letter related to the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, including the Paralympics, with the authorities in Japan and the Japanese Olympic Committee.

    Furthermore and on behalf of the undersigned organizations, we respectfully request that the IOC seek agreement with the government of Japan and the Japanese Olympic Committee to ban the sale, availability, and consumption of any whale or dolphin products, including any supplements containing such products, at any athletic venues, Olympic villages, or by any other vendors associated with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.  

This ban could be addressed by adding relevant language to the agreement between the IOC and Tokyo (often referred to as the host city agreement) for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.  

Banning the sale and availability of such products would ensure that the IOC is in keeping with international law and that it recognizes and respects the welfare of these intelligent marine mammals.

    Thank you for your consideration of our request.


The Following Organizations Endorse this Letter:


Animal Welfare Institute

Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari

Augusto Carneiro Institute

Black Cove

Brazilian Humpback Whale Institute

Cetacean Society International

Change For Animals Foundation

Dolphin Encountours Research Center

Fundación firm

Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine/German Society for Dolphin Conservation

Green Vegans / The New Human Ecology

Ilha Blue Lda

In Defense of Animals

Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society

M.E.E.R. e.V.


Nantucket Marine Mammal Conservation Program

Natural Resources Defense Council

No Whales In Captivity


Orca Conservancy

Origami Whales Project

Pro Wildlife

Project Jonah New Zealand

Whale and Dolphin Conservation

World Animal Protection International


Photo credit Oceanic Preservation Society.