Whales again need saving from hunters
Japan and Norway are hoping to remove a moratorium on commercial whale-hunting.
WHILE people in Hawaii see humpback whales as magnificent creatures that grace the Pacific Ocean in winter months, others in Japan and Norway view them as an extravagant lunch.
So much so that the two countries and their harpooning cohort, Iceland, are lining up allies to gain control of a panel that for 20 years has restricted whale hunting. Their aim is to remove a moratorium that is credited with rescuing whale populations devastated by commercial hunters.
Using its economic clout, Japan has doled out millions of dollars to poor countries and recruited them to join the International Whaling Commission. When the organization meets later this month, Japan will likely have rustled up a majority in favor of loosening limitations. Other panel members should not allow this.
Norway has never abided by the moratorium while Japan and Iceland kill whales under the guise of scientific research, an exception allowed. However, most of the whales Japan slaughters end up in stores and restaurants, even though few Japanese find whale meat palatable, prompting the government to launch a program to encourage school children to develop a taste for it.
Japan contends it needs whale meat to increase self-sufficient food supplies and to sustain a tradition. Norway and Iceland also claim tradition, but continued hunting will further reduce the numbers of many endangered sub-species. What good is tradition if the animal at its heart no longer exists?
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