Oct 24th, 2015, 06:08 PM

On the Front Lines of Animal Activism

By Daniela Moreno
Protester Ric O'Barry at the Japanese embassy in London
Daniela Moreno was in London earlier this month to protest the slaughter of dolphins in Japan.

Earlier this month, on Oct. 17th, more than a thousand activists gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy in London to protest the Japanese slaughter of dolphins. I was one of the protestors -- and I got arrested.

Japan has been in the media spotlight for a long time now due to its indifference towards the cruel slaughter of thousands of dolphins and porpoises in Taiji. Thanks to the media attention, people around the world are protesting against this inhumane and senseless slaughter.

We took our protest directly to the Japanese embassy in London. My fellow protestors were well-equpped with megaphones, floating dolphins, pamphlets, red roses, and red paint as fake blood. But something was missing. That something was a little bit of what I like to call “chaos”. Chaos attracts attention, especially media attention. 

Realizing that, as activists we are defined by our word and acts, I decided to create a little chaos. I put a fake blood handprint on the Japanese embassy gate. Red paint on the protesters hands symbolizes the blood money that the Japanese government has been receiving for the past half century at the expense slaughtered dolphins. My gesture was strong message that many might not agree with. It crossed the line between activism and vandalism. But it was a necessary act to attract attention to this shocking slaughter. I wanted to raise more awareness among the people walking down the street and for the tourists who were in the park in front of the Japanese embassy. 


My mission was accomplished, but it came at a cost: getting detained.

I must emphasize that the British police were extremely cooperative, patient, respectful, and helpful. They gave me the option to clean the wall or go to jail. I decided to stand up for my beliefs. I refused to clean the wall. As a result, I was arrested and taken into custody.

My detention didn’t last long. The police were sympathetic to our cause and did not want to see me go to jail. After one long hour of negotiating, we finally agreed that someone from the protest organization  would clean the blood from the embassy. It made me appreciate the support we had from the police present that day. 


My position has always been clear: I am completely against the dolphin slaughter and use of these animals as entertainment. Yes, I did cross the line by vandalizing private property. However, it was an act done for a greater purpose. The Japanese embassy did not want to have any relationship to any arrests or disturbances, so they decided to bring the Japanese flag down as well as drop charges against me.

Now, you may ask me, did my strategy work? Absolutely.

Five policemen told me they would do further research on this subject. At least twenty people that walked by to take my picture learned about the Japanese slaughter of dolphins. I received over 100 messages from people that evening, most of them thanking me for standing up for dolphins, others stating how unhappy they were with my actions. Overall, this experience was worth it. I am aware I can be passionate for certain causes and this might get me into trouble. But when you believe in something strongly, wouldn’t you stand for your beliefs even if it means jail time?

A brave and wonderful soul once said: “You haven’t lived until you’ve found something worth dying for.” It was Martin Luther King.

Have you found your cause?   

[Photo Credits: Daniela Moreno, PeacockPlume]