Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Japanese 'researchers' claim to have hunting permits for 850 Minke whales, 10 Fin whales, and 1 Canadian

This image was originally posted at anglojapanese.com

Today's Taipei Times had a story about a Canadian nearly getting killed by hostile forces. Did we almost lose another brave peacekeeper to the Taliban? No. We nearly lost a Greenpeace activist to a Japanese 'Research' vessel.
Japanese whalers fired a harpoon over a Greenpeace boat, throwing one of the environmental group's activists into Antarctic waters, the group said yesterday.

In 1986 a worldwide moratorium was placed on whaling. Here are some things that have happened since:

- "Iceland, Japan and Norway continue to hunt whales: Norway through an objection to the moratorium, and Japan and Iceland through a loophole that allows them to set their own quotas for 'scientific' whaling - which is just commercial whaling by another name."

- "Iceland announced plans to resume 'scientific' whaling in 2003. Since then 100 Minke whales have been killed and the meat from those whales was sold on the commercial market. However, two thirds of that meat remains unsold and unwanted in freezers.

- "Japan's planned whale catch for Summer 2003 was listed as follows: 150 minke, 50 Bryde, 50 sei, and 10 sperm whales. (3 out of 4 of these species are listed as Endangered.)"

- "DNA analyses have shown that meat and products from protected whale species are widely available in markets in Japan and South Korea."

- "To increase supplies of meat even further, the Japanese government recently legalized the killing and sale of whales entangled in fishing nets. Predictably, this led to a five-fold increase in 'accidental by-catch' in just six months."

- "The number of whales killed by Japan, Norway and Iceland since the IWC moratorium took effect in 1986 is 25,239."

I was translating some comments that a sailor on board the whaling ship, Cold Death, had made about Sunday's incident but my Japanese is a little rusty,
"How do you feel about killing the whales, especially the fin whales which are endangered and the second largest whale in the world, or the humpbacks, which naturally live to eighty years of age and like to sing really intricate songs for hours on end?"

"Well I have mixed emotions about that. On the one hand, I get to kill a magnificent, intelligent animal that very few others get to kill, and I get free whale meat which is very expensive and my family normally couldn't afford, so I'm quite thrilled. On the other hand, there's not many left so we probably shouldn't be killing them for hors d'oeurves. I tell you if this wasn't a research vessel working under the institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, I don't think that I could live with myself. However better minds than mine have decided that this research is important for the survival of the species as a whole."

"What do you think about nearly killing the Canadian Greenpeace activist earlier this week?"

"Once you've set out to kill nearly a thousand of these beautiful creatures, what's one more human, more or less, they're not even protected, anyone can kill them, you don't really even need a permit."

This image was originally posted at Greenpeace.org

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