Japan’s commercial whaling out of step with this century

21/10/2016

The headline-grabber at the 66th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) will likely be the nations that continue to engage in commercial whaling.

Whaling is cruel and there is no humane way to kill a whale at sea. However, Japan continues to conduct commercial whale hunts, utilising a loophole in the Whaling Convention for lethal science to circumvent the global moratorium on commercial whaling.

This year’s meeting is the first since Japan started a new ‘scientific’ whaling program in the Southern Ocean after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled their last program unlawful in a court case brought by Australia in 2014.

In a move that stunned the international community, Japan resumed its summer hunting season in the Antarctic last year. It also withdrew its acceptance of the ICJ as an arbiter over whaling disputes, in a ploy to protect itself from further legal challenge.

Australia and New Zealand will be proposing a resolution at the 66th meeting for governments to subject so-called ‘scientific’ whaling programs to proper scrutiny from the Commission.

Japan unilaterally issues themselves ‘special permits’ to go out and conduct whaling on the basis that it is used for scientific research.

In 2016 alone, the Japanese whaling fleet used these ‘special permits’ to hunt more than 300 Minke whales, including 200 pregnant females, 25 Bryde’s whales and 90 Sei whales in the Southern Ocean.

There is nothing scientific about whaling – any scientific research needed to manage and conserve whales, can be done without bloodshed.

World Animal Protection sincerely hopes the resolution proposed by Australia and New Zealand receives the necessary majority number of votes to pass. Moreover, we call on Japan to stop what everyone knows is really commercial whaling.