The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) applauds a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson to maintain the standards under which the dolphin-safe label can be used on tuna sold in the United States. The ASPCA is a co-plaintiff in the case, of Earth Island Institute v. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans.
Judge Henderson ruled that the U.S. Commerce Department's ruling which proposed to weaken the standards that must be met to use the dolphin-safe label on tuna must be overturned because it illegally ignored substantial scientific evidence that failed to show that dolphins would not be harmed or killed from the netting of tuna. The judge additionally ordered a new rule that would prohibit the use of dolphin-safe labels on tuna caught by inadvertently killing dolphins.
"This ruling is a great victory for the dolphins whose populations in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) still have not fully recovered due to the commercial fisheries' practice of using purse seines to catch tuna, which swim above dolphins." says Lisa Weisberg, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy. "In addition, consumers will now be able to rest assure that the tuna they believe to be cruelty free, is cruelty free."
The dolphin-safe label provides consumers the opportunity to select tuna that has been caught without using the "chase and net" method. In addition to harming dolphins, chasing and netting also separates the mother from her offspring, which often results in the death of the calf, who cannot survive on its own. The mortality rate decreased by 97% with the advent of the "Dolphin Safe" label.
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