Thursday, January 29, 2009

Secret whale deal aims to reopen Japanese commercial whaling in N. Pacific

To all who are against whaling:

While, despite the plummeting meteor of global economic downturn and the hovering specter of runaway global warming, North Americans were again scurrying mindlessly in their Christmas shopping sprees, a secret closed-door meeting by an International Whaling Commission (IWC) drafting group comprising 6 nations (Australia, Japan, the United States, New Zealand, Sweden and Brazil) was held in Cambridge, UK, whose resolution, if passed in the IWC convention later in June this year, could reopen Japanese commercial whaling in the western North Pacific - a huge backslide of human civilization for the 21st Century.

In the starkest of terms, here is the deal: to allow Japan to hunt whales in its coastal waters, with IWC's blessing, openly and commercially, in exchange for its slowing or halting its "scientific research" whaling "program" in the Antarctic.

Historically, Japan has practiced three types of whaling: pelagic whaling (PW), large-type coastal whaling (LTCW) and small-type coastal whaling (STCW). While its PW has been moved south to the Antarctic and since the 1986 moratorium has hidden behind the hideous and intellectually insulting mask of "scientific research" whaling, its LTCW has been halted, and its STCW has been reduced to those species not covered by the IWC, including the Baird's whale, the pilot whale, and porpoises and dolphins of various species numbering some 22,000 per year. Japanese coastal whaling of those species not regulated by the IWC, including the Minke whale, the Sei whale, the Fin whale, the Humpback whale and the Sperm whale, among others, is regulated by Japan itself, and is open between May and November. If the secret deal goes ahead, Japan will be able to add all the IWC regulated species to the carnage. Western North Pacific waters will be red with whale blood.

And then there is the wild card of "aboriginal traditional cultural whaling". Over the last two decades Japan has been recruiting North American native tribes to reopen their own "cultural whaling" - using modern motorized watercraft and high powered firearms mind you - including the Makah tribe of Washington state regarding the Grey whale, and the Alaskan Eskimos who kill upwards of 40 Bowhead whales a year, thus justifying a "cultural whaling" of Japan's own.

Some argue that Japanese coastal whaling should not be used as a bargaining chip to end Japanese Antarctic "research" whaling, and this does make sense. But I say that it makes more sense to say that ending "research" whaling in the Antarctic should not be used as a justification for reopening Japanese commercial whaling in the North Pacific, since to me Japanese "research whaling" - with zero peer-reviewed research report and tons of whale meat in supermarkets - has no scientific legitimacy to begin with, and is illegal from a higher-law point of view.

As far as I'm concerned, whaling should be terminated totally, entirely, completely and immediately, with no exception and zero tolerance. The right of whales and dolphins to live in peace supercedes any human-based reason, period.

Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)


Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)