Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Despite Protests and the Law, Japan Launches New Whale Hunt

  Here we go again. Again defying the international law and the sense of compassion and killing whales. All to satisfy a desire for whale meat. Sick as their neighbors.


Despite protests, Japan launches new whale hunt

Tue May 23, 1:19 PM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan has launched a new whale hunt that has been opposed by environmentalists ahead of an international meeting which Tokyo hopes will end a ban on commercial whaling.

Environmentalists have long fought to stop Japanese whaling, saying the mammals are endangered and point to a glut of whale meat on the Japanese market.

But Japan says the number of whales is on the rise and that the meat is part of its traditional diet.

Five government ships left for northwestern Pacific waters to kill 260 whales, a fisheries official said.

The latest hunt comes ahead of a meeting of the
International Whaling Commission starting on June 16 in the West Indies, where Japan is due to make its latest push to legalize commercial whaling.

Australia, which strongly opposes whaling, has accused Japan of using financial aid to poor countries in exchange for their votes on the commission.

Japan officially stopped whaling in the 1987-1988 season and reluctantly accepted an international moratorium supported by Western countries. Norway is the only country that explicitly defies the ban on commercial whaling.

But Japan uses a loophole that allows the killing of whales for "research," even though the meat usually ends up in grocery stores and restaurants.

The latest hunt is necessary to study whales' behavior, their role in the environment, feeding patterns and how they may be impacted by pollution in the ocean, the government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research said.

Japan last year doubled its annual kill to about 850 minke whales and extended the hunt to other species considered to be endangered.

It has studiously ignored international protests, including Greenpeace and other environmentalists who dogged the Japanese fleet in the Antarctic from December.

In a rare victory for activists, fishing giant Nissui and four other firms recently donated their shares in a whale company to the government after Greenpeace launched a pressure campaign targeting the companies' products.

But Japan has also launched a new marketing drive which aims to encourage more people to eat whale by selling it at cheaper prices to hospitals, bars, restaurants and schools.

No comments:

Search for More Content

Custom Search
Bookmark and Share

Past Articles