Japanese whale hunting, reloaded
A news that has been appearing in newspapers and other mass media around the world is both disturbing and upsetting: Japan has decided to resume their whale hunting program, under the excuse that they'll use the sacrificed whales for scientific purposes. It didn't take too long for them to get some crew members ready on board of the whaling vessel Yushin Maru, which departed from the port of Shimonoseki towards the Antarctica. The ship is being chased by another vessel, the Esperanza, which is operated by Greenpeace activists willing to follow the Yushin Maru until the end of the world to try to avoid a whale massacre.
With this action, Japan cheers the lifting of the whale hunting moratorium imposed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the mid-1980's, which lost effect after a resolution to restore commercial whale hunting was passed last year, in a very disputed voting session within the IWC. Although the Japanese whale hunters have been consistently killing whales even during the years in which the moratorium has been in effect, they've always justified their hunting activities under the excuse of doing them for supposed 'scientific purposes', which is one of the few exceptions under which the IWC allowed whale hunting.
But this expedition is different: The Japanese whale hunters are expecting to bring back 1035 whales, a number which more than doubles the amount of whales they hunted a decade ago. Moreover, some of the 1035 whales that the Japanese hunters are expecting to bring to Japan for 'scientific purposes' are actually humpback whales, which was about to become extinct about a decade ago and has not reached even a third of the population it had before the days of modern whale hunting.
The Japanese individuals who decided recently to relaunch their whale-hunting program probably thought: 'Screw the IWC, the endangered species and the public opinion'. Under that rationale, they found it convenient to set up an expedition of Japanese whale hunters to go and kill some endangered whales, to satisfy some gourmet desires. What an environmental disgrace this is.
With some information from CBC