by Elizah Leigh
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: , .

Once upon a time, gigantic marine creatures ranging in size from a relatively modest 11 feet all the way up to 115 feet (known more familiarly as beluga, sperm, blue, pilot, humpback and killer whales in the Cetacea order) –– used to enjoy thriving populations…that is until man got in on the action.

Once we figured out that we could profit from the sale of their flesh, oil and ambergris, we launched massive commercial hunting expeditions (as early as the 1600s) which were so successful that we severely compromised their numbers.

As the years have progressed, whales continue to be faced with added threats such as ocean-bound pollution, fishing net entanglement, Navy underwater ship shock explosive tests and collisions with sea faring crafts.

Whether they’re the subject of illegal sushi slinging, climate change-fighting excrement, unprecedented celebrity activism or Pierce Brosnan’s latest save the whales public service announcement, it might be natural to think that our society has whale on the brain…so you’re probably scratching your head and asking yourself why the 88 countries participating in the International Whaling Commission’s peace talks are hashing out the details behind closed doors. Frankly, so are we.

Do they have something to hide? Former 80s Midnight Oil frontman and Australia’s current Minister for Environment Protection Peter Garrett – who penned such notable eco-tinged hits as “Blue Sky Mine” and “Beds Are Burning” – is troubled by the development, noting that transparency is the best policy.

At stake: trying decide whether Iceland, Norway and Japan should be allowed to legally resume Antarctic whale hunting for one decade as long as they gradual decrease the total amount taken, which currently hovers at around 2,000 whales (some of which are threatened with extinction).

The World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and the Pew Environment Group have offered a preliminary bargaining tool which gives the thumbs up to whaling as long as endangered species are exempt, unilaterally determined whaling quotas are abolished, whale meat/products are expressly prohibited from trade and Southern Ocean whaling is off limits (among other conditions), but other notable environmental groups have immediately vetoed any deal that supports commercial whaling in any way, shape or form.

Greenpeace has explained that while they support a global ban on whaling, most of what occurs is “outside the reach of the IWC. The only way to properly make the moratorium work is to bring commercial whaling under the reach of the IWC and then to enforce the ban.”

Unfortunately, a loophole has enabled Japan to kill approximately 1,200 whales annually for supposed scientific study and to fuel a cultural practice that despite falling out of favor with its residents is still inexplicably subsidized by its government.

If only the whales could speak up and set everyone straight.

Via Sydney Morning Herald and Guardian

  • Kimitake Hiraoka

    The talks are being undertaken in private to minimise the contamniation of the discussion with such emotive nonsense as “If only the whales could speak up and set everyone straight”. It’s that kind of nonsense that has gotten us to this ridiculous point and ruined the IWC as the regulating body of commercial whaling.

    Let’s just hope reason and common sense prevails and the moratorium is banished to the rubbish bin of history where it belongs.

    • georgina0912

      Precisely, whaling nations want to avoid that “discussion” because they know if the issue is open, and people are allowed to know what is going on and what is at stake during those meetings they would face the anger of people with common sense who do not see whales as commodities. This whole thing is about money, for the Japanese government to make a little money while sinking a little more in the dying whaling operations, and for small governments to get kickbacks and whores in exchange for votes, as well as a clear lack of judgment, morals, and ethics.

    • Kimitake Hiraoka

      Wait, how can it be about money when Paul Watson and his band of thugs have been destroying the whalers “profit” and bankrupting them for years??

      Something doesn’t add up here.

      • Cho cho ma

        It is not what the whaling fleet makes, its about the potential.

    • AnimuX

      Private talks for nations afraid of transparency. Who needs democratic processes after all when the IWC chairman and many of the IWC delegates have already been bought off by Japan. Better to let them make a deal without any public scrutiny that might invoke outrage over their actual decisions and inform the public how their representatives are conducting business on their behalf…..

      – not only has the UK’s Sunday Times revealed the fact that many IWC representatives admitted to accepted bribes from Japanese representatives in exchange for votes

      – not only has at least one whistle-blower come forward to tell the BBC that his company helped arrange these illicit deals

      – not only has another whistle blower from within the Japanese whaling industry come forward to reveal ongoing use of tax funded “research program” meat for individual personal profit by whalers

      – not only have restaurants in South Korea and California been busted for illegally selling black market whale meat

      – but yes, Sea Shepherd has even recorded a June 22nd video from this very IWC meeting with several of the “bribery scandal” officials meeting in secret with Japanese representatives at a hotel in Agadir.

      Ah the corruption…

  • Cho cho ma

    Maybe if you had some common sense Kimitake, that comment might make sense. This is an emotional issue, but should not be dismissed as “nonsense”. Unlike you, I actually feel somthing when I see images of animals being killed. (I know, people actually feel emotions when they see animals suffering! Crazy, right?)

  • Cho cho ma

    The talks are being held in private to keep organizations and less powerfull nations in the dark. You should consider IWC chairman Maquieira is pro whaling. His own government is against him on this issue anyway.

    • David

      So the chairman of a group that was formed to promote and ensure the continuation of the whaling industry is actually pro-whaling.

      • AnimuX

        And his luxury hotel stay is actually paid for by Japan (as reported just prior to the IWC meeting).

  • Whitefish

    Kimitake may have been born with a damaged pre-frontal cortex, hence empathy felt for a sentient animal dying a long and extended death is just not in the cards. And it’s not empathy that has gotten the IWC to this “ridiculous point,” no, it is Japanese style corruption on a massive scale that has tainted the IWC.

  • Mkay

    Here we go with that ***k HEAD Glenn Inwood ,there will be no compromises over whaling ,thats just too bad. He is lying Japan never compromises ever and they only want things their way or no way at all, lets hope that Japan looses big time at the IWC ,it serves them right! That Inwood really pisses me off ,just like when someone tries to ***w you over on a deal or sale , what a slime bag operator.

    • Malcolm Green

      You have been misled. Japan has offered to refrain from it’s legal rights under the whaling convention, and accept catch limits lower than what it sets now for itself unilaterally, in return. Japan offers to forfeit it’s legal rights, catch less whales, and still you want to believe that they have not offered compromises?

      Meanwhile the anti-whalers demand that zero whales be killed in the IWC’s premiere whaling grounds, as they have for the past 25 years.

      It’s obvious who hasn’t been compromising, and who is doing the lying.

  • Cho cho ma

    You can call or email Mr. Inwood:
    cell: +64 21 890 868

    Mr. Inwood will do anything for money. Just like a few nations in the Caribbean perhaps?

    • Malcolm Green

      Lots of people have no issue with sustainable whaling, including people in New Zealand and Australia. Abusing anyone who disagrees with you, and individuals who have a role on one side of the debate is un-democratic.

      You don’t have to agree with Inwood’s comments, but if you believe in freedom, free-speech and democracy you should respect his rights and the rights of others, not try to incite others to send him abuse.

      • Cho cho ma

        What do I care about murdering scum like Inwood?

        Here is more information in case you change your mind Malcolm Green:

        Omeka Public Relations
        PO Box 12-490 Thorndon, Wellington
        New Zealand
        Ph +64 21 498 010
        Fax +64 21 787 570
        E-mail omeka AT

      • Henry

        You know what’s un-democratic? Genocide.

  • Sea Cucumber

    @Mkay – Jeez, dude – switch to decaf already – you’re going to blow an o-ring!

  • Cho cho ma

    Most of the whaling started in Japan following World War 2. Japan needed a source of cheap meat to feed its starving people. Its people are not starving anymore and it can be debated that Japan is sick of the west telling it what to do since the end of World War 2.

    The only thing that is clear is that whaling has no place in modern society.

  • Sea Cucumber

    Cho Cho Ma, So, I guess you’re an expert in Japanese society? I guess maybe it slipped your mind that the Japanese have been whaling since long before WWII? Where did you get your sociology degree? Wherever it was – get your money back.

    Let’s get it straight – you don’t have any right to say that whaling has no place in modern society. Who the hell are you to make such a sweeping decision for “modern society”? You’re nobody – get used to it. You don’t like whaling? Too bad – life is tough, get a helmet (but not like the foam one I’m sure you have to wear now!).

  • Cho cho ma

    Your right, but Japan was doing small scale coastal whaling prior to World War 2. It is the opinion of most people today that whaling is no longer needed.

    • David

      Sorry cho wrong again. Japan was whaling in Antarctica well before WWII ended. Around 1930 they built their own processing ship specifically for Antarctic whaling.

      • AnimuX

        David is correct. In the 1930s Japan began whaling in Antarctica because catches in more traditional hunting areas continued to decline (industrial whaling putting traditional whalers out of business). The advent of refrigerated cargo ships allowed Japanese whalers to take whales from Antarctica for both meat and oil.

        The history of this is even reflected in the talks of the Geneva Convention for the Regulation of Whaling where concern was expressed over Japan’s expanding whaling fleets. At the time, Japan completely ignored the convention and efforts to enact protections for blue whales among other regulations.

  • Cho cho ma

    David you forgot I used the all important word MOST

    • David

      cho you forgot your an idiot.

      I responded to you incorrect statement about Japanese non-coastal whaling where you didn’t use the word MOST.

      You used the word MOST in relation to Japanese whaling as a whole, which is also wrong. The Japanese where taking close to 10,000 whales a year prior to WWII.

      It is pretty sad when you can’t even deal with your own statements much less other people’s statements.