Due to profit-driven policies of global financial powerhouses, dolphin viability has “taken a dive” this month. With recent actions, the World Trade Organization and the Mastercard Corporation have added greater jeopardy to the status of dolphins. Activists, however, are fighting back in the dolphins’ defense.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled this month that dolphin-safe tuna labels constitute illegal restrictions on trade. They handed a victory to Mexico in a long-standing dispute with the US over the issue. The ruling essentially opens the US market to Mexican tuna, which are harvested in ways that potentially kill dolphins.
Mexico's tuna harvest last year was 131,000 tons with a market value of US $426 million, making Mexico the world's 12th largest producer. The US Commerce Department may challenge the ruling, though no decision has yet been made, reports the Mexican Solidarity Network.
Meanwhile, Mastercard is offering discounted tickets to Singapore’s infamous Resorts World Sentosa, notorious for recently kidnapping 27 wild dolphins for an exhibit. Two of those dolphins have already died, and the other 25 dolphins are held in brutal conditions until construction of the exhibit is complete, reports Change.org. The surviving dolphins' risks of illness and death increase with each day of captivity.
Dolphin activist Barbara Napoles is sponsoring a petition on Change.org calling for Mastercard to stop offering discounted tickets to Resorts World Sentosa. Organizers hope that if Mastercard can be convinced to cancel its ticket promotion it will add financial pressure that could push the resort to finally take action.
Captive dolphins live bleak, short lives. Unlike their counterparts in the wild that usually live for 45 years, more than half of all captured dolphins die within their first two years of captivity. In tanks, dolphins are unable to hunt and can only swim in circles. Bacteria in their tank environments cause blindness and death.