By Chrissy Spallone
Despite decreasing demand for whale meat and international bans on whaling, the Japanese have found loopholes to continue the cruel practice in the name of tradition, for sport, and to glean as much profit as possible while they still can.
Whale meat historically met 50 percent of Japanese protein needs, but with a greater variety of foods available, customers are growing bored with the traditional diet staple. But despite today’s lower demand for whale meat, the slaughter continues.While thousands of endangered whale carcasses lie untouched in freezers, whalers plan to kill a total of 1,300 more before the end of the year.
When the United Nation’s International Court of Justice ruled to shut down Japanese whaling, whalers managed to continue the hunt under the lame guise of scientific research. As if this weren’t outrageous enough, they claim that this research intends to help improve whale environments and manage resources, despite commonplace non-lethal technologies other nations use to study whales.
As prime minister Shinzo Abe claims, “Japan is a country which values international law and order and the rule of law and therefore Japan will abide by [the decision to end commercial whaling]. Based on this Japan, looking at international law and scientific grounds, will engage in research of whaling in order to collect the indispensable scientific information in order to manage the whale resources.”
How convenient for Japanese whalers, that carcasses deemed scientifically useless can still be sold for their profit.
At last, New Zealand is stepping forward to end Japan’s bids on hunting in Antarctic waters and asking the International Whaling Commission to raise their standards on what constitutes “scientific research” prior to Japan’s 2015 whaling season.
New Zealand has taken up the reigns on ensuring that Japan ends this senseless practice where the Australian government left off after the inital U.N. hearing on the issue. New Zealand’s Prime Minister has personally discussed the matter with Prime Minister Abe, telling him that New Zealand would not tolerate whaling. It is clear New Zealand will do whatever necessary to ensure these “scientific” hunts are called to an end by the IWC.
If Japan continues to skirt the law, Australia’s Sea Shepherds will be watching in hopes of intercepting whaling ships. Let’s hope that this is the wake up call Japan needs to end their shady whaling operation once and for all!