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Ban Japanese Whaling

This petition had 3,135 supporters


Japan is dead set on hunting whales—international critics be damned. In 2014, the International Court of Justice ordered the country to stop hunting whales. But at the beginning of this month, Japan announced it would send a small whaling fleet into the Antarctic Ocean to kill 333 minke whales under the guise of a scientific program.

As you can imagine, the announcement inspired swift condemnation. "We do not accept in any way, shape or form the concept of killing whales for so-called 'scientific research,'" thundered Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt. "Japan makes no secret of the fact that the meat resulting from its so-called scientific whaling programme ends up on the plate," the BBC reports.

"Japan makes no secret of the fact that the meat resulting from its so-called scientific whaling program ends up on the plate."
And yet Japanese consumers aren't exactly clamoring for whale meat. As Wired's Sarah Zhang recently pointed out, whale meat was only that popular across the island nation during a short period following World War II. Nowadays, consumption stands at 4,000 to 5,000 tons annually. That may sound like a lot—until you consider that the nation consumes about 600 million tons of total seafood each year, meaning meat from the charismatic sea mammals occupy a vanishingly small place on the nation's dinner plate.

What's more, Japan's whaling program is miniscule. According to the American Cetacean Society, the global population of minke whales stands at more than 1 million. The BBC reports that Japan has harvested 3,600 minkes since launching its current "scientific" program in 2005. As rotten as it is to envision 333 more being added to the carnage, Japan's controversial harvest isn't likely to result in a major shift in the minke's fate. Norwegian whalers also hunt minkes, with a quota of roughly 1,000 a year, as do the Iceland.

 



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