The Japanese government has passed a bill regarding the resumption of commercial whale hunting despite international opposition, and by environmental groups within Japan itself.
Currently, Japan gets around the international ban on commercial whaling via a loophole in the rules that allows the slaughter of whales for scientific research. Japan conducts these so-called ‘research’ hunts in the Southern and Pacific oceans, and much of the meat is then offered for sale.
Today, the Japanese parliament will consider moves by the government to resume commercial whale hunting.
Currently, Japan gets around the international ban on commercial whaling via a loophole in the rules that allows the slaughter of whales for scientific research. Japan conducts these ‘research’ hunts in the Southern and Pacific oceans, and the proposed new bill will enshrine funding for research whaling into the Japanese national budget. The demand for whale meat in Japan has fallen and the government subsidise the industry.
Animal protection and conservation groups in Europe are calling on European airlines that offer flights to Iceland, a popular whale-watching destination, to urge passengers to stop buying whale products while travelling in the country.
The move comes as Iceland’s peak tourism season begins and coincides with the imminent start of the country’s annual minke whale hunt, during which up to 264 minke whales could be slaughtered, with much of the meat sold to tourists.
Recently, Norway announced that the entrance to the Global Seed Vault in the Arctic was flooded after very high temperatures caused the permafrost to melt.
In October 2016, WDC and Care2 represented almost 270,000 EU citizens when we submitted a petition to the European Parliament. The petition called on the EU to raise the issue of whaling in its trade negotiations with Japan and to say ‘no’ to a Free Trade Agreement while Japan kills whales.
The recently released Japanese “Red List of Marine Creatures” has been criticized by some experts for the lack of protection it provides for whales and dolphins.
The Japanese Fisheries Agency and Ministry of the Environment compile the list, which is Japan’s own version of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List - the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of different species.