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Whale Hunting: Japan and Norway, again

21.05.2002 | Source:



Japan and Norway are again flouting international agreements on whale hunting, buying the votes of Pacific and Caribbean nations for a lifting of the moratorium.

Few people know about a barbaric festival in Japan, where hunters go to sea in canoes, armed with nets, drums and, ominously, machetes. Their prey is dolphins, which are herded up into a creek from which they cannot escape. They are then systematically hacked at, in abject panic, in an ever-decreasing space. All the hunters want is their beaks, which are chopped off, leaving a gaping hole as the rest of the poor animal gasps for its last breaths in a sea of blood.

The Japanese and Norwegian hunters are now, again, turning their attention towards the dolphins’ cousins, the whales. Despite a moratorium on whale hunting imposed in 1986, it is calculated that Japan and Norway kill 1,000 whales every year, for commercial purposes.

This year, Japan intends to kill 440 Minke whales in the Antarctic and a further 150 in the Pacific, along with 50 Bryde whales, ten sperm whales and to “capture” 50 Sei whales, which are in danger of extinction, arguing that the terms of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) allow Japan to “study” a certain number of whales per year. If “studying” is to perform the acts of cruelty inflicted on the dolphins, these whales could be doomed.

Norway plans to kill 674 Minke whales this year and bases its right on the fact that this country voted against the moratorium on whale hunting when it was begun in 1986.

The United Kingdom is against a lifting of the moratorium on whale hunting and is confident that this will not take place, for it is necessary to have a majority decision of 75% of the member countries in the IWC. However, Japan and Norway have been accused in the past of bribing other member countries to vote in their favour, claiming that whales eat fish stocks. Most whales eat plankton, micro-organisms in great abundance in the oceans. Greenpeace has declared that “In none of the 440 whales that the Japanese hunted last year were there found vestiges of fish”.

With stocks of whales diminishing, it does not make sense to continue to decimate animals which are in danger of becoming extinct.


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