Japan Continues to Kill Whales for Profit Despite Rejected Proposal
The International Whaling Commission is a notorious body that has been is referred to alternately as a conservation organization, and a hunting club. At this year’s meetings, however, conservation won out – and so did the whales, for the most part.
In September, The International Whaling Commission conference was held in Florianópolis, Brazil and included delegates from countries across the globe who ultimately decide upon the fate of the whales. To kill or not to kill – this is always the tragic question.
This year, Japan submitted a controversial proposal to resume commercial whaling, which, if passed, would signal an acceptance of killing whales for profit – something Japan, Norway, and Iceland continue to do to this day, in contravention of a global anti-whaling moratorium supported by the majority of the world. Fortunately, this moratorium – initially established in 1985 – was upheld, except for “subsistence whaling” by native groups, who are given a quota of whales to kill for cultural and subsistence.
Another victory to come out of the meetings was the Florianopolis Declaration: a proposal designed to give indefinite protection to global whale populations. Backed by 40 nations, with only 27 voting against, the non-binding agreement affirms whaling is not economically necessary. Many welcomed the declaration, with Nicolas Entrup of Swiss-based NGO OceanCare hailing it as "a manifesto for peaceful co-existence between whales and humans.”
Sadly, despite this new declaration, pro-whaling countries will continue to kill whales for profit. By filing official objections to the global moratorium, Iceland and Norway continue to commercially whale and were responsible for killing 17 and 432 individuals in 2017, respectively. Japan killed 596 whales, under the guise of “research” – a widely recognized lie designed to hide the fact that much of the whales’ bodies end up being sold in meat markets.
Ultimately, the Florianopolis Declaration may point to what much of the world has realized: whales are peaceful, intelligent beings who show us no ill-will and deserve none of ours in return.