Tuesday, March 23, 2010

U.S. Helping Japan Expand Whale Hunting?

Reports are that the U.S. is on board to help expand whale hunting. WTF? New Zealand is also reportedly planning to go along with the whale hunt changes as well. I was really glad to see the U.S. back the attempts to ban fishing of Atlantic bluefin tuna which made good sense but what are they thinking?  Granted the the U.S. position is about supporting the Inuit hunting in Alaska, which is regrettable but understandable, but expanding the whale hunts that use massive fishing fleets is wrong on multiple levels. At least the Inuit are going after whales using traditional hunting methods and the whales have an even chance. Research has shown repeatedly that whales and dolphins are at least intelligent as humans and some research has even suggested that they are even more intelligent. Just because that intelligence is not land based and tool using doesn't mean we should hunt and eat them. I am just flabbergasted that they are even having this discussion about expanding whale hunting and in a marine sanctuary no less. The discussions should be about banning whaling altogether. The arguments that it is part of Japanese culture to eat whale meat are bogus and the consumption of whale meat has declined in Japan markedly over the last 30 years. A lot of the whale meat brought in goes to waste as people aren't buying it anymore. This is just so stupid.
The moratorium on commercial whaling, one of the environmental movement's greatest achievements, looks likely to be swept away this summer by a new international deal being negotiated behind closed doors. The new arrangement would legitimise the whaling activities of the three countries which have continued to hunt whales in defiance of the ban – Japan, Norway and Iceland – and would allow commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary set up by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1994.

Conservationists regard it as catastrophic, but fear there is a very real chance of its being accepted at the next IWC meeting in Morocco in June, not least because it is being strongly supported by the US – previously one of whaling's most determined opponents.

Should the deal go ahead, it would represent one of the most significant setbacks ever for conservation, and as big a failure for wildlife protection as December's Copenhagen conference was for action on climate change.
Let's hope the discussion gets redirected by a little pressure from conservationists.

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