Saturday, February 6, 2016

Dolphin Outlook Including The Breaking News Regarding the Release and Deportation of Ric O' Barry



Breaking: Japan Deports Ric O’Barry
Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project and star of the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove” has been placed on an airplane and deported from Japan, where he has been incarcerated for 19 days. Immigration officials cited O’Barry’s trip to Futo on August 27, 2015 as the official reason for his deportation, claiming he did not inform them of his travel plans.

Says Dolphin Project’s lawyer, Takashi Takano:

"My client, 76 year-old anti-dolphin hunt activist, Mr. Richard O’Barry, was detained for 19 days at a jail-like facility of the Immigration Bureau at Narita Airport, Tokyo. During this time, he lost more than 10 kilos (22 pounds) and suffered from a minor chest problem. With regards to the refusal of his entry into the country and the reason for his detention, the Bureau’s explanation seems very obscure. “Tourism” is not just “sightseeing,” but also includes such activities as visits to places of disasters or holocaust. Mr. O’Barry’s visits to “The Cove” in Taiji and his reports on dolphin hunting should be considered a legitimate tourist activity. To those who believe Japan is an open and democratic country, it must be shocking to realize this kind of experience can happen here and now."


On January 18, 2016, O’Barry was detained by Japanese immigration officials at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. What started off as a “routine” questioning – something which would typically take upwards of two hours or more, turned into a repeated interrogation. He was placed in a deportees’ facility, similar to a jail, where he was held for over three days. When O’Barry later refused to board a flight that would take him back to the United States, he was placed in a formal detention facility, where he has been incarcerated ever since.

Upon learning of O’Barry’s predicament, Congressman Ted Lieu’s office contacted the State Department, which confirmed O’Barry’s detention. Several celebrities including Matt Sorum, Slash, Maisie Williams, Tony Kanal, Drew Chadwick, Montel Williams and Duff McKagan tweeted for Japan to #FreeRicOBarry. Major media across the world ran stories about his incarceration, concurring he had already won public opinion. Even Japanese activists, during a recent demonstration in Tokyo against dolphin hunting and captivity, held up “Free Ric O’Barry” signs.

Last August, O’Barry, on his way to Taiji to mark the start of the 2015/16 dolphin hunting season, made a side trip to Futo in support of former dolphin hunter Izumi Ishii’s whale watching tours. He later went on to the infamous fishing town, where, for the past 13 years, he has been visiting to bring the notorious dolphin hunts to light. Despite testimony from Mr. Ishii, explaining that O’Barry did not know he was going to Futo until after he went through immigration, officials refused to change their findings. It would appear authorities had already made up their minds to deport him, no matter what evidence was presented, and they were within their power to do just that.

Says O’Barry:
"It is ironic that they are deporting me to keep me quiet, when they themselves have brought more attention to the dolphin slaughter than ‘The Cove’ movie. It breaks my heart to be deported from a country I have grown to love.”

O’Barry’s deportation is cause for concern, especially for other activists, including Dolphin Project Cove Monitors, who are committed to exposing Taiji’s brutal drive hunts. His work methods have been 100% peaceful, yet O’Barry has been treated like a criminal. Also last August, the 76-year old was arrested for allegedly not carrying a passport. After spending a night in jail, all charges against him were dropped when police discovered the passport in the car O’Barry was driving.

"This is a desperate attempt by the Japanese Government to hide the atrocities in Taiji. My dad is being held as a political prisoner. They have run out of excuses on why the slaughter and sale of mercury contaminated dolphin meat continues. Dolphin hunting in Taiji began in the 1950’s and is hardly cultural or traditional. The dolphins that aren’t slaughtered are sold to dolphin abusement parks around the world.” ~ Lincoln O’Barry

While he cannot enter Japan, O’Barry remains optimistic.

"This is the beginning of something, not the end. The deportation is the green light to sue the government, something we have never had before.” ~ Ric O’Barry

Dolphin Project’s legal team has already filed an objection, with a formal lawsuit to follow. This is far from over.

Dolphin Project would like to thank each and every person who has fought on Ric’s behalf. Your tweets, emails and calls made a difference!

Japanese authorities deport dolphin activist Ric O’Barry after detaining him for 19 days at Tokyo’s airport.
Dolphin trainer turned animal-rights activist Ric O’Barry has spent the past 13 years working to expose Japan’s dolphin hunts, and now the country has sent him packing.

Japanese officials on Friday put the star of the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary The Cove on a plane at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport bound for the United States. Immigration officials barred O’Barry, 76, from entering the country on his arrival in Tokyo on Jan. 18 and held him in a detention facility for 19 days.

His son, Lincoln O’Barry, said the deportation is a desperate attempt by the Japanese government to hide the ongoing dolphin drive and slaughter in Taiji. Each year, thousands of dolphins are herded by fishing boats into a cove at Taiji, where they are killed for their meat or captured for sale to aquariums and marine parks.

“They’ve failed miserably, and all they’re really doing is bringing more attention to the issue,” Lincoln O’Barry said. He said the official reason his father was deported, according to Japanese immigration, was that he supposedly lied about his itinerary on a trip to the country this past summer and wasn’t in the country as a “tourist.”

“They know all about my father, so every time he comes into the country he gets interrogated for about one to five hours, about where he is going, how long, and why,” he said. “They don’t do that with any other Americans coming into the country.”

Takashi Takano, a lawyer for O’Barry’s conservation group the Dolphin Project, said in a statement: “Tourism is not just ‘sightseeing,’ but also includes such activities as visits to places of disasters or holocaust. Mr. O’Barry’s visits to the cove in Taiji and his reports on dolphin hunting should be considered a legitimate tourist activity. To those who believe Japan is an open and democratic country, it must be shocking to realize this kind of experience can happen here and now.”

Americans do not need a visa to enter Japan for visits of under 90 days, according to the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C.

Louie Psihoyos, director of The Cove and executive director of the Ocean Preservation Society, said O’Barry’s arrest would only strengthen the resolve of groups like his.

“He was deported because the Taiji dolphin slaughter is a huge international embarrassment to Japan, and Ric is the most vocal protester,” Psihoyos said. “He didn’t violate any Japanese laws, but he brings worldwide attention to one of the most brutal animal atrocities in the world.”

The deportation means O’Barry must stay out of the country for five years, which the Dolphin Project is protesting.

A petition on the group’s website has garnered more than 25,000 signatures asking the Japanese government to overturn the deportation. Lincoln O’Barry said the team has filed a legal objection, with a lawsuit to follow.

“This is the beginning of something, not the end,” Ric O’Barry said in a statement. “The deportation is the green light to sue the government, something we have never had before.”

Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project and star of the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove” has been deported from Japan, where he was been incarcerated for 19 days. Immigration officials cited O’Barry’s trip to Futo on August 27, 2015 as the official reason for his deportation, claiming he did not inform them of his travel plans.

On January 18, 2016, O’Barry was detained by Japanese immigration officials at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. What started off as a “routine” questioning turned into a repeated interrogation. He was placed in a deportees’ facility, similar to a jail, where he was held for over three days. When O’Barry later refused to board a flight that would take him back to the United States, he was placed in a formal detention facility, He was finally deported from Japan on February 6th.

Last August, O’Barry, on his way to Taiji to mark the start of the 2015/16 dolphin hunting season, made a side trip to Futo in support of former dolphin hunter Izumi Ishii’s whale watching tours. Despite not having made these plans until after entering Japan, officials refused to change their findings.

"This is a desperate attempt by the Japanese Government to hide the atrocities in Taiji. My dad was being held as a political prisoner. They have run out of excuses on why the slaughter and sale of mercury-contaminated dolphin meat continues." ~ Lincoln O’Barry

O’Barry’s deportation is cause for concern, especially for other activists, including Dolphin Project Cove Monitors, who are committed to exposing Taiji’s brutal drive hunts. His work methods have been 100% peaceful, yet O’Barry has been treated like a criminal.

Dolphin Project’s legal team has already filed an objection and a formal lawsuit will follow. This is far from over.

Please sign our petition urging the Japanese Government to allow Ric O'Barry to enter the country.

Help End All Imports or Exports of Dolphins Across U.S. Borders. Captive dolphins and whales are transported across the world to aquariums and marine parks. These animals are ripped away from their families and all they know, forced to live in barren concrete tanks. Transportation is a stressful process for them. The journey itself poses significant risks. Stress-induced illnesses and health problems are an issue and, in the worst cases, can lead to death. When transported, sometimes for hours, dolphins and whales are forced to lie immobile in small containers without natural light and air.

Wild dolphins live in highly complex social structures and travel many miles a day. They use a complicated system of clicks and whistles to communicate with one another and echolocation to navigate and hunt. Captivity confines these self-aware animals to small, sterile tanks. With little to no stimulation and insufficient space to roam, they are far removed from their natural environment. Dolphins kept in captivity are known to suffer from stress-related health issues and illnesses. Confining them to tanks is inhumane and selfish.

Join us in asking members of Congress to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to stop any imports or exports of dolphins across U.S. borders. We believe that this will reduce the cruel practice of keeping cetaceans captive in the United States.
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Special thanks to Matt Sorum, Leilani Munter, Maisie Williams, Slash, Dr Brian May and Tom & Kim Schotz. Thank you to Congressmen Ted Lieu, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and The Law Offices of Takashi Takano.

Please help with our legal defense fund & help end the hunt forever:

Click here to Donate

Sign the petition to allow Ric O’Barry to enter Japan

About Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project: Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project is a non-profit charitable organization, dedicated to the welfare and protection of dolphins worldwide. Founded by Richard (Ric) O’Barry on Earth Day, April 22, 1970, the organization aims to educate the public about captivity and, where feasible, free captive dolphins. The mission of the Dolphin Project is to end dolphin exploitation and slaughter, as dolphins are routinely captured, harassed, slaughtered and sold into captivity around the world – all in the name of profit. Dolphin Project works not only to halt these slaughters but also to rehabilitate captive dolphins, investigate and advocate for economic alternatives to dolphin slaughter exploitation and to put a permanent end to dolphin captivity.  This work has been chronicled in films such as, ‘A Fall From Freedom,’ the Oscar-winning documentary ‘The Cove,’ and in the Animal Planet mini-series, ‘Blood Dolphin$.