By Honey Gillard
In recent news, the Japanese government has agreed NOT to follow through on their controversial plans to hunt humpback whales during this year’s annual Antarctic whaling expedition.

 

Every year the Japanese whaling fleet sales to the offshore oceans of Antarctica to kill an intended 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales – a goal always striking a controversial view in the media, but this year in addition to the 985 already planned kills they planned on killing up to 50 humpback whales. As you could expect, this did not go down easily to the animal right protestors, as well as many of the general public – atleast those with a heart anyways.

“Japan has decided not to catch humpback whales for one year or two,” Japanese Politician Nobutaka Machimura told reporters.

This was to be the first major hunt of humpback whales in over 40 years. Commercial hunts of humpbacks have been banned worldwide since 1966, as the World Conservation Union considers the species to be facing a high but not immanent risk of extinction in the wild. Japanese whalers had argued that the hunting ban wasn’t relevant to them as their hunt was for the sake of science.

WWF claims that Japan’s so-called “scientific whaling” is nothing more than commercial whaling in disguise – the whale meat actually ends up in supermarket shelves in Japan, even though few people eat it anymore. In the opinion of the environmental organization, Japan’s scientific whaling programme is unnecessary and unscientific, making a point that there are many non-lethal research techniques available that provide nearly all relevant data on whale populations.

Critics say that the program is nothing more than a shield intended to keep the Japanese whaling industry alive until it can overturn a the 1986 ban of commercial whaling.

Karli Thomas, leader of Greenpeace’s current expedition heading to the southern Pacific said:
“This is good news, indeed, but it must be the first step towards ending all whaling in the Southern Ocean, not just one species for one season.”

Though this may be good news to not only our ears but the humpbacks who
s lives have just been saved, there is still much more action that needs to come about as the fleet still intends to kill 958 whales between now and april. All won’t be at peace till that figure is 0 and till then we will keep fighting.

For more information on whaling and how you can help visit: Greenpeace.org

For more from me visit my blog – Makethisabetterplace

Source: WWF
BBC News

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