The Japanese have decided to double the country’s kill of whales for scientific research. In addition to hunting minke whales, the country is also going to be collecting specimens of other, endangered whales for its researches.
In response to Japan’s extensive ‘research’, New Zealand’s Conservation Manager, Chris Carter, said:
Where is the science from 18 years of scientific whaling? It doesn’t exist. What right has Japan got to go into the Southern Ocean and slaughter these rare animals? We say shame on Japan.
The Japanese condemn these angry words — saying they’re ‘divisive’.
The Japanese have used a loophole in the moratorium against commercial whaling to continue its whaling practices under the auspices of ‘research’. The country has also tried to claim that whaling is part of it’s traditional culture. At one point, whaling in its local waters might have been–but not the local waters of Australia and other points south and west.
In addition to its ‘researches’, Japan has also given ‘aid’ to countries who have suddenly joined the International Whaling Commission; unfortunately for Japan, they haven’t shown up to give the Japanese the ’support’ they want on the commission. So far.
(Sorry for all the quotes — if I were using my fingers, they’d be badly cramped now.)
There is no country is the world dependent on whaling, either for food or by-products. There is no culture existing on the earth today, dependent on whaling; not unless the participants are willing to row out in small books in their own coastal waters and use manual harpoons to do the kill.
Though the numbers of some whale species have increased, this could change quickly and drastically, as whales, like all large complex creatures, are fragile to changes in their environment. Whales are impacted by the engine noise and vibrations of large oil tankers and other big ships; vulnerable to the increasing pollution in our waters, as well as the ongoing climate changes; susceptible to the loss of food due to overfishing of many species they’re dependent on.
A whale species could go from a comfortable number to an endangered species within a few years, all based on many factors other than whale hunting. To add whale hunting in as yet another factor makes these large creatures of the sea that much more vulnerable.
If the whale meat was an essential item in the diet of the Japanese, the issue might be looked at differently. Except for a few communities, though, most of Japan had never even had whale meat until the middle of the last century. It was at that time that the United States, during this country’s occupation of Japan after World War II, encouraged the hunt of whales to prevent famine in Japan.
In case you’re curious, Japan is no longer starving. Whale meat is nothing more, now, than a delicacy in a land that prides itself on the esoteric. It isn’t even a popular protein source: the younger generation doesn’t care for it and has to be encouraged to like it — all in the name of ‘tradition’, you understand.
So why is Japan still pushing for commercial whaling? The BBC’s article referenced earlier has some of the reasoning behind Japan’s insistence on a continued whale hunt. It is seen, in part, as Japan standing up to the pressure from other countries. I’m all for staying by your principles when other bigger parties are putting pressure on you to change. But if you’re going to be proud enough to stick by your principles, then do so openly, honestly, with integrity and without duplicity.
When it comes to protein, Japan is more dependent on various fish; when it comes to delicacies, Japan should stick with Kobe beef and Fogu.