There has been fear and rumors going around that Japan is going back down to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to, once again, act out their annual killing of whales. Despite the intervention of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, it is confirmed that these rumors are true and that the ICR (Institution of Cetacean Research) is going down to the Southern Ocean to kill the desired number of Humpback, Minke, and Fin whales. There has been a saddening article released confirming these horrors and sickening our stomachs.
Japanese officials recently announced that Japan fully intends to return to the Southern Ocean in Antarctica and resume its brutal whaling practices in the designated marine sanctuary. Although Japan claims that the whaling is for scientific research, this bogus claim fools no one and just makes the Japanese look ruthless, foolish, and worst of all, irrelevant in a world that condemns that practice. The fact that Japanese fishermen continue to slaughter dolphins in Taiji because they feel it is their right just adds a layer of making the Japanese seem pridefully self important.
Most of humanity rallied behind that island country when they were rocked by earthquakes and devastated by nuclear fallout following the tsunami last March, so this decision by Japan feels like an insult to those who respect international agreements and refrain from the wanton killing of whales – resulting in a cloud of anger and resentment that engulfs the warm support recently offered to Japan.
The fact that last year almost all of the female minke whales they slaughtered were pregnant signifies to the Japanese that the whaling was an important scientific find, while the rest of the world sees killing pregnant whales as both bad management and barbaric.
Japan’s whaling research body, the Institute of Cetacean Research, today said 91.6 per cent – or 262 of the 286 mature female minkes taken during the last hunt – were pregnant.
“Almost all of the whales are becoming pregnant each year. This is good news. This is great. It shows that the Antarctic minke population is increasing rapidly,” the ICR’s Glenn Inwood said today. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Worse yet, Japan claims it is willing to up their game in dealing with activists, threatening to ‘do what it takes’ to fend off anti-whaling efforts and to slaughter the whales just to bring the meat home to a country that is losing its taste for both the meat and the conflict. Needless to say, the U.S. finds this stance to be unpalatable.
“We are very concerned about Japan continuing its whaling program in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary,” said Monica Medina, U.S. commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and principal deputy under secretary of commerce for NOAA. “These catches will only increase the growing friction within the IWC over how to deal with the large number of whales that continue to be killed while a moratorium remains in place. There is no reason to kill these creatures in order to learn about them. All the necessary science that we need for the management of whales can be achieved using non-lethal techniques.”
“The safety of vessels and life at sea is the highest priority for the United States.” said Medina. “I ask all parties to respect the Commission’s wishes and immediately refrain from any acts at sea that risk human life or safety. These dangerous confrontations in the Southern Ocean must stop before someone gets seriously hurt or even killed.” (Westmoreland Times)
And activists are prepared to meet the challenge:
In a statement issued last Friday, Sea Shepherd vowed to take on the whaling vessels again. “They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again. … We will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion of arrogant greed into what is an established sanctuary for the whales,” Sea Shepherd’s leader, Paul Watson, said in a statement on the organization’s website. Sea Shepherd will have more than 100 people in the Southern Ocean to block the Japanese whaling fleet, according to the statement. (CNN)
Hopefully the responsible governments of the world will wake up and intervene, and Japan will choose a peaceful path in time to avert disaster.