Japan Passes Laws To Resume Commercial Whaling
This is devastating news for whales. Japan has just passed new pro-whaling laws that could result in the resumption of commercial whaling for the first time since a global moratorium was enacted in 1985.
Japan has been engaged in whaling since 1987. Although it claims to kill whales for scientific research, much of the animals’ flesh winds up being sold in stores. Last year’s “research” whaling fleets killed 333 minke whales. 200 of those killed were reported to be pregnant.
Now, the Japanese Parliament has passed new laws that could pave the way towards full-fledged commercial whaling. Some officials welcome this move, believing whales are“a great source of food”. The consequences of viewing these animals merely as meat could be dire for the world’s remaining whale populations.
Australia has blasted the new laws, which would allow Japan to protect its fleets from anti-whaling organizations like Sea Shepherd. The laws also seek to enshrine funding for so-called “research whaling” into the national budget.
Local opposition to the laws has been building in Japan. A coalition of animal welfare groups, including Greenpeace Japan and the Animal Rights Center, issued a statement in opposition of the whaling law. "The proposed bill... is designed only to continue research whaling no matter what the cost — to either the whales, Japan's international reputation, or to the Japanese taxpayer," it said. "…our tax money will be spent on these wasteful programs every year, whilst damaging our relationships with otherwise friendly nations, and disgracing ourselves internationally."
Learn more and take action for whales and dolphins at In Defense of Animals’ Cetacean Campaign pages.