Japan abandons plans to kill humpback whales

  1. Justin McCurry in Tokyo
    Saturday December 22, 2007
    The Guardian
    Japan agreed yesterday to avoid slaughtering humpback whales for up to two years, amid calls from Australia to spare the endangered species during its current research hunt in the Antarctic. Nobutaka Machimura, Japan's chief government spokesman, said the fleet, on its way to the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary, would avoid killing the protected species. "Japan has decided not to catch humpback whales for one year or two, but there will be no change in our stance on research whaling," he said. "Japan's relations with Australia could improve, but it depends on how it will see our decision."

    Japan's original intention to kill 50 humpbacks drew a furious response from Australia. The humpback population dwindled to just 1,200 in the 60s, but now stands at between 30,000 and 40,000, according to the American Cetacean Society. The species is listed as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union.


    Stephen Smith, the Australian foreign minister, told Reuters through a spokesman: "While this is a welcome move, the Australian government strongly believes that there is no credible justification for the hunting of any whales and will vigorously pursue its efforts ... to see an end to whaling by Japan."

    This week Australia's Labor prime minister, Kevin Rudd, decided to send a ship and surveillance aircraft to track the Japanese fleet in advance of a possible legal challenge to the hunt at the international court of justice in The Hague.

    Japan's foreign minister, Masahiko Komura, conceded it would be hard to bridge the emotional divide with Australia, a military ally and trading partner. "Given that in a sense this seems to be a problem of differences in national sentiment between Japanese and Australian culture, it's not a matter that can be solved by appealing to one another through logic," he said. "I hope to discuss possible measures with the Australian foreign minister soon."

    The whaling fleet will proceed with plans to slaughter more than 900 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales.

    Speaking from Greenpeace's ship, the Esperanza, a spokesman, Dave Walsh, said: "We're obviously delighted this has happened but we don't think that one particular type of whale should be singled out. We'd like to see an end to the hunt altogether ... Japan is still going to kill about 1,000 other whales this season." The International Whaling Commission has banned commercial whaling but lets Japan conduct research. Critics say the "scientific" hunts are commercial whaling in disguise because the meat is sold and the profits used to fund expeditions.

    (http://www.guardian.co.uk/japan/story/0,,2231390,00.html)
     
  2. I don't see anything wrong with it as long as they don't kill off endangered species. That's the issue I have a BIGGER problem with. So that said I FULLY disagree with their decision to kill 50 more endangered whales.

    As long as they use it all, eat it, whatever I don't really care. People eat different animals all over the world. If we didn't eat animals, I would think there would be over population and whales would probably make some smaller animal in the ocean extinct like dolphins or something I figure. Too much of huge animals in the world isn't too good of a thing either.

    I think America and some other countries have to much of a focus on cutesy animals but eating ugly animals like cows are ok, even though cows are smart too I think. It's all a difference in opinion I think.

    Would I eat a whale? Hell no, never! But taking a step back, it's all on what a culture is used to eating and accustomed to.
     
  3. No that's not true, ocean species have been regulating their populations long before humans came in and started hunting them. Humpback whales eat krill, plankton, and small fish, so they wouldn't cause the extinction of smaller whales or dolphins.
     
  4. I was reading that a lot of the whale meat isn't even eaten, I can't remember what article I read that talked about how the majority of whale meat is wasted or sits in freezers/storage. But the Japanese are trying push the people to eat more whale meat, when it isn't necessarily what they want to eat. That is the impression I have gotten from lots of articles, including this one:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4106688.stm

    I just don't know why the animals need to be killed in the name of research. I personally believe that instead of killing them to "research" them, that their environments should be protected so we will have these animals around for many, many years to come... you learn more from them alive, than when they are extinct.
     
  5. Update from Australia

    The issue here (in Australia) is that a lot of these whales migrate and spend a lot of their time in Australian waters too. Japan kills a high number of whales each year - under the excuse of scientific study.

    They have agreed not to target hump backs but are still planning on killing a high number of other species of whales.

    Australia cannot protect them once they move out of our immediate areas.

    Whales are beautiful creatures - and I am no vegan hippie - I eat pretty much anything - including different types of meat. But the slaughtering methods are questionable - as well as the necessity of killing them at all.

    They are not the type of animals that can be bred in captivity if the numbers get really low. Unlike chickens, cows, sheep, fish etc - there is not a feasible way of controlling a breeding program to sustain a demand or moderate species population.

    I think it's very sad. Would you feel differently if it were elephants - what about if they started killing off pandas (for science research)?

    I feel this issue deserves a little bit more sensitivity.
     
  6. This just makes me angry! I think whaling is barbaric, research?! My a%^£...
     
  7. No I didn't mean it to cause controversy or anything. And the whole point of my article was is that I did NOT care whether the animal is cute, etc. That was the point of what I had posted.

    If they are doing it inhumanely, not needed, etc. then of course I think it is WRONG.

    I was just saying if it was an ugly animal, people would not care. Hence by you saying would I care if it was a cute panda, etc. no, it's not for me to judge. I don't think when god put animals on the earth, he intended us to eat certain animals and not other animals. Who is to say what is right or wrong? I am just trying to take an unbiased opinion and perhaps I was not communicating that thoroughly.

    I don't think any animal deserves to be driven to extinction or killed in a cruel manner. What I was saying is that I don't care, as long as they use the whole animal. Kind of like with the whole wearing fur thing. I do not believe in wearing fur and killing animals only for the sake of fur, kinda of like how people here in America wearing fur, but where is the outrage in that? Or the hermes ladies wearing crocodile berkins or snake skin bags. I am sure many other cultures think that is wrong as well. It is not ME to JUDGE OTHER CULTURES and what they eat because all cultures eat different things, etc.

    I probably mixed up my thoughts but basically what I am trying to say is as long as animals aren't driven to extinction and killed in a cruel manner, it is not up to me to judge other cultures on what is right and wrong. I am sure other cultures think some things we eat are nasty too. I think some things other cultures eat are totally nasty and I would never eat whale or anything like that in my entire life, but I am not trying to judge them. The judging part was the main point.

    I don't know enough about japan or asian cultures but why don't they have more cattle there? I think perhaps maybe they are overpopulated, don't have enough land, etc. Is that why they are killing whales instead to eat? I really am only speculating and I do not know the background on why they do not kill other animals? I have heard regular meat there in asia though is extremely expensive. Perhaps whale is cheaper? I don't know? Perhaps if they had other options, they would use them I would think. We used to kill whales for oil at one point so perhaps they are behind the times? I would really HOPE people wouldn't kill animals for the heck of it. If there are other options, would they not use them? I know people such as eskimos still kill whale but in limited quantities. I would not deny a culture something they have been doing since the beginning of time as long as they are RESPECTFUL and do not kill animals for the heck of it to extinction. That is what I am trying to say. I hope what I am saying now is more clear.

    I did mean to come across as uncaring in my previous post. I love animals such as whales, dolphins, etc. and would never dare to eat them! It does sadden me people would kill cute animals such as dolphins but who am I to judge is what I'm trying to say. Some animals are very intelligent and it's just hypocritical for me to say, ok it's ok to kill this animal because it's dumb but not this animal because it's intelligent. This animal is cute, this animal isn't. I have a parrot that is considered a PEST in other cultures! That is why I feel it is not right for me to judge. I do not know everything and do not pretend to know everything.