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Fabriq Spa practitioners are great at keeping their private and professional lives as separate entities, and we respect that. You respect that. And normally, we are happy to keep it that way. But every once in a while, one of our own is up to something so amazing outside of the spa that we can’t just keep it to ourselves.

Many know of Fabriq Spa’s Kevin Starbard as a talented massage therapist. Calm, light, even-keeled. His clients drift out of the spa on the dreamiest of zen-lit clouds and return again and again. This month, Kevin’s passionate work as an animal rights activist carries him to Japan on, well, exactly the opposite of a zen-lit cloud.

Kevin arrived in Taiji this morning as a Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian volunteer. For the next two weeks, Kevin will monitor and report on all dolphin-related activity in the cove. And, okay, that doesn’t sound so bad, right? Like a dolphin-watching vacation, right? Wrong. Says Kevin: “The townspeople will see us as terrorists, the nationalists will look at us as a foreign menace and want to harm us, the police will follow us everywhere we go, looking for any reason to arrest us if we cross a line… and there is always an earthquake and tsunami risk being that we are in Japan… Other than that, no risks!” Says us: Good lord.

An Oscar award-winning documentary on this particular cove in Taiji brought international attention to the capture and slaughter of more than 20,000 dolphins each year. Those that are not killed are sold into captivity (you guessed it, to aquatic theme parks), where they spend the rest of their lives in veritable misery. Since the Sea Shepherd organization’s ongoing presence at the cove, this number has seen a steady decline.

As co-organizer of Philadelphia’s Sea Shepherd chapter, Kevin has raised money and advocated for the protection of wild dolphins with the organization for more than four years. His work as an animal and human rights activist began during his early vegetarian punk rocker years, as a Greepeace fundraiser in San Francisco. For many, that is a phase. For Kevin, it would become his life’s work.

The dolphin-hunting season in Japan goes from September 1st to March 1st, and Cove Guardian volunteers like Kevin have maintained a constant presence during the season for over four years. Says Kevin: “Since Sea Shepherd has started keeping Cove Guardians on the ground every day of the hunt since 2010, the number of dolphins killed each year has gone down. They used to kill 20,000+ dolphins each year, and now that total is much, much lower. But, we won’t stop until the total is zero.” Says us: “Thank you, Kevin.”

Kevin will be back in Fabriq Spa to massage work February 21st. Until then, you can follow his work with the Cove Guardians here.

Four ways you can help:
1. Call the Japanese Embassy in D.C. and voice your opposition to the hunting and killing of dolphins: 202-238-6700
2. Donate to Sea Shepherd
3. Donate to Save Japan Dolphins
4. Dolphin captivity fuels the hunts, so please don’t visit a marine park that has captive marine mammals, and if you want to swim with the dolphins, make sure you do it in the wild!

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