Making waves for whales
Last week, at the World Conservation Congress, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), voted by a large majority for a halt to Japan’s “scientific” whaling in the Antarctic and the North Pacific.
The IUCN is a global union of governments and conservation organisations. The motion against Japan’s research whaling program was formally adopted, with 89 member countries firmly calling on the Japanese government to stop issuing the ‘Special Permits’ for supposed scientific purposes, enabling it to bypass the global ban on commercial whaling.
So far in 2016, the Japanese whaling fleet has used Special Permits to hunt more than 300 Minke whales, including 200 pregnant females, 25 Bryde’s whales and 90 Sei whales.
Ingrid Giskes, Global Head of Sea Change for World Animal Protection said:
“In a win for whales, the IUCN has sent a clear message to Japan that whaling is unacceptable. Japan is using bogus science as a cover up to hunt and kill hundreds of whales needlessly and inhumanly.
“Any scientific research needed to manage and conserve whales, can be done without bloodshed. It is time for Japan to abandon its whaling.”
In March 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s whale hunts in Antarctica were unlawful, following a court case brought by Australia. In addition, the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and independent experts reporting to the IWC have shown that Japan’s rationale is questionable.
However, Japan has ignored international law and global opposition by resumed its illegal killing of whales in the Southern Ocean. On behalf of the whales, a representatives from World Animal Protection will be attending the 66th Meeting of the IWC in October this year, where Japan’s whaling programme will come up for discussion again.