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Call to stop use of captive dolphins at Sochi Olympics

Bottlenose dolphins, like the two pictured above, are due to be used in a display at Sochi next week. Credit: DPA

Animal welfare groups are calling on the International Olympic Committee to stop the planned use of captive dolphins at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games next month.

Endangered Black Sea bottlenose dolphins are due to be used in a display during the Olympic Torch relay in Russia, the Born Free Foundation said.

“Keeping whales and dolphins in captive conditions, where their biological and behavioural needs are compromised, is extremely detrimental to their long-term survival," said Born Free spokesman Daniel Turner.

"The IOC must give full consideration to the welfare of animals in this Olympic Games.”

Japan defends dolphin hunts after criticism from US

Fishermen in wetsuits seen hunt dolphins at a cove in Taiji, western Japan, on Monday. Credit: Reuters

Japan has defended its dolphin hunts after US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy said she was "deeply concerned" about the practice where local fisherman corral dolphins in a secluded bay before killing many for meat.

"I believe dolphin fishing is one of Japan's traditional fishing industries and is carried out appropriately in accordance to the law," said Japan's cabinet secretary Yoshihide Duga.

"Furthermore, dolphins are not within the management of the International Whaling Commission and it is left to the respective nations to manage this resource."

Taiji Whale Museum staff veterinarian Shinji Sakamoto added: "People are just thinking too emotionally about the dolphins. They want to protect them just because they're cute and clever."

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Hunting dolphins for shark bait 'barbaric'

Alison Wood from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group has condemned the practice of using dolphin meat as shark bait as "wasteful and barbaric".

Whale and Dolphin Conservation said the practice was barbaric. Credit: Jim Wickens/Ecostorm/ITV News

In an interview with ITV News, she said it was completely unnecessary to butcher the animals in this cruel, inhumane way.

"You can use fish guts, and all sorts of things to bait your hook, you don't need to use a sentient, intelligent animal like a dolphin. It is an awful waste. We are talking about a highly intelligent, social, feeling animal, and to see them hunted like this, is barbaric.

Dolphin meat 'cheap alternative' to other shark bait

Slaughtering dolphins at sea is a cheaper alternative to other forms of bait for sharks, and the method of killing, harpooning, means that the dolphin can bleed for up to 15 minutes. The blood of the dolphin, then attracts sharks.

The blood from the harpooning of the dolphin attracts sharks. Credit: Jim Wickens/Ecostorm/ITV News
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