End the Whaling Program in Japan: No More Slaughter of Whales

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Japan has previously justified its whaling on an exemption in international law which allows the animals to be killed for scientific purposes, but Australia won a 2014 case at the International Court of Justice which ruled against the Japanese program in the Southern Ocean.

After the ruling however, Japan announced new research program, under which it would kill up to 333 Antarctic minke whales each year. The country's Ministry of Fisheries said the program is necessary to study the best methods of managing minke populations

A fleet set sail for the Southern Ocean in November, with plans to slaughter 333 minke whales, flouting a worldwide moratorium and opposition led by Australia and New Zealand.It was justified as “research for the purpose of studying the ecological system in the Antarctic Sea”.But environmentalists and the International Court of Justice (IJC) call that a fiction and say the real purpose is simply to hunt whales for their meat. Japan also caught 333 minke whales in the previous season ending in 2016 after a one-year hiatus prompted by an IJC ruling, which said the hunt was a commercial venture masquerading as science and ordered Tokyo to end it.

Under the International Whaling Commission (IWC), to which Japan is a signatory, there has been a moratorium on hunting whales since 1986.Tokyo exploits a loophole allowing whales to be killed for “scientific research” and claims it is trying to prove the population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting.But it also makes no secret of the fact that whale meat ends up on dinner tables and is served in school lunches.

A committee under an international treaty to protect wildlife will dispatch an investigation team to gather information on Japan’s research whaling program and verify any violations of the pact.The recommendation was made Monday by the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, and adopted on the first day of the standing committee’s five-day meeting held in Geneva.The secretariat for the treaty, better known as the Washington Convention, will analyze the information collected by the investigators. Any new recommendation on the research whaling will likely come at the next meeting in October 2018.

Lets continue to pressure Tokyo to end the slaughter of this majestic mammal and prevent its extinction.

Photo credit: Greenpeace USA



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