HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4016
State of Washington 55th Legislature 1997 Regular Session
By Representatives Morris, Blalock, Gombosky, Cody, Veloria, Kessler, Keiser, Costa and Anderson
Read first time 02/24/97. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY KUNIHIKO SAITO, AMBASSADOR OF JAPAN TO THE UNITED STATES:
We, Your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, Ten Orcinus orca whales, more commonly known as orca or killer whales, were captured by fishermen February 7, 1997, in Hatajim Wan Bay at Taiji on Japan's southeast coast, of which five remain in captivity; and
WHEREAS, The remaining whales are likely to be sold for the purpose of putting them on public display; and
WHEREAS, Orca whales in captivity live shorter life spans than orca whales left in the wild; and
WHEREAS, Orca whales maintain family ties for life which are torn apart by capture; and
WHEREAS, Orca whales have a system of dialects for communication, unusual to mammals other than humans; and
WHEREAS, Orca whale captures in Washington State waters in the 1960's and 1970's captured one-third of the area's orca population and has taken twenty years to replenish; and
WHEREAS, Keiko, the orca whale star of the movie "Free Willy" has brought international attention to the issue of whale capture and demonstrates strong public sentiment for returning such creatures to their natural environment;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that the government of Japan take steps to release the Taiji whales from captivity and return them to the ocean.
BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to His Excellency Kunihiko Saito, Ambassador of Japan to the United States.
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