She might be small but this former photo double and stunt driver for Catherine Zeta-Jones is a feisty activist. Leilani Münter, an ARCA Racing Series driver will be joining event hosts in Tempe, Arizona, for Japan Dolphins Day.
The three hosts of the event, Patricia Cady, Stephanie Hanson and Phoenix native, Jessica Ciantar, are planning to campaign and educate the public on the annual dolphin drive hunts that are held each year in Taiji, Japan.
For Cady, a native of San Diego, California, now living in Phoenix, this event is the third year in a row that she has hosted it.
Cady became interested in cetaceans as an employee of SeaWorld San Diego in the 1980’s. "After witnessing firsthand, the horrific aftermath of an orca death in the late 80s," she said, she left their employ, and soon, "began to realize that all animals in captivity deserved freedom from cruelty and exploitation."
The Tempe event is just one part of a global awareness campaign numbering some 102 events. It is is timed to coincide with the beginning of the dolphin drive season in Taiji, Japan. The season which runs from Sept. 1 through the end of March, was featured in the 2009 documentary, The Cove. Last year, fishermen with Isana Fisheries Union drove almost 1,500 dolphins into the Cove.
For Stephanie Hanson, who grew up visiting SeaWorld San Diego, the ethics of captivity hit at a very young age. Engaged as an activist in animal welfare issues for about 12 years now, her passion for cetacean rights was cemented after viewing live footage from Taiji captured by Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians. The direct link between the
drive hunts and captive marine parks she said, "was impossible to ignore."
New to the campaign this year is Jessica Ciantar. Despite being what she describes as a 'desert dweller,' Ciantar has always had her sights on the ocean and its marine life. Although this will be her first informational demonstration, the activist is adamant that it will not be her last. Ciantar says she, "plans to keep fighting this battle until the Cove forever runs blue."
Supporting the hosts will be environmental activist, Leilani Münter. A veteran of the Cove in Taiji, Japan, Münter has captured some of its bleakest footage. As a volunteer for Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project, Münter has traveled to Taiji, on three occasions, spending several weeks there during 2010 and 2011 and documenting the dolphin slaughter. One of the videos she captured during her 2010 visit, appears below (warning: graphic images).
Leilani Münter: "Never underestimate a vegetarian hippie chick with a race car."
No lightweight in the field of activism, Münter practices what she preaches and is completely dedicated to the environment.
In 2010 Discovery's Planet Green named her the #1 Eco Athlete in the World. In 2011, the biology graduate organized for the Empire State Building to be lit up red for the dolphins dying in the Cove, and at Daytona in 2012, Münter drove the first ever ocean awareness race car by carrying the colors of "The Cove" on her race car.
The Tempe, Arizona event is planned for Friday, Aug. 30th, 2013, from 6PM - 9PM at Final Friday’s Art Walk event in Tempe; 500 S. Mill Avenue near the Post Office: corner of 5th Street and S. Mill Avenue.
For further details on the event, visit the Arizona event Facebook page, Save Japan Dolphins.org, or for global events, Japan Dolphins Day.net.