Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pride, tradition, special love of nature and killing endangered animals

Defying international pressure and a global whaling ban, the government of Japan launched its whaling fleet Sunday morning for an international whale sanctuary around Antarctica, where it intends to kill more than 1,000 whales over the next four months....

Japan has announced that the fleet intends to kill 50 endangered fin whales, 50 threatened humpback whales and 935 minke whales this season. Read more here.

I have mixed feeling on whaling. I don't oppose it if it is done in a humane and sustainable manner. That it is done that way is questionable here. So from what I have read, it would seem that some harvest of minke whale would could be tolerated. The problem comes from killing threatened or especially endangered animals, which Japan is doing. Of course claiming it is for scientific research (everyone knows that this is a joke) is another problem. If Japan is going to defy "international pressure," why not just openly say that they are killing whales for a somewhat mythical Japanese tradition? After all, this is Japan where real or imagined tradition excuses/ trumps everything. (We also have to keep in mind that during the last IWC meeting Japan threatened to start killing humpbacks out of spite if the IWC did not give Japan its way.)

Of course, we must acknowledge the explainer/apologist argument: Other countries allow hunting too (say squirrels in the US), so nobody can say anything about Japan.

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