Japan is accused with “Crime Against Nature”

Japan is accused with “Crime Against Nature”

http://www.albanydailystar.com/science/japan-is-accused-with-crime-against-n
ature-12242.html

After a judgment by an international court pressured Japan to stop hunting
whales in Antarctica for a year, the country is scheduled to send whaling
ships there again .A Japanese whaling fleet set sail for the Antarctic on
Tuesday, on a mission to resume the slaughter after a one-year pause, with
environmentalists slamming the move as a “crime against nature”.Government
officials and families of crew members stood on the quayside and waved as
ships—at least one fitted with a powerful harpoon—left a southern port,
television footage showed.

Despite a worldwide moratorium and opposition from usually-friendly nations
like Australia and New Zealand, Japan persists in hunting whales for what it
says is scientific research

“Two whaling ships departed from Shimonoseki with a Fisheries Agency patrol
boat this morning, while the factory ship also left another port to form a
fleet,” an agency official told AFP. “A fourth whaler already left a
northeastern port yesterday to join the fleet.”

Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to
sustain a return to commercial hunting, and says it has to kill the mammals
to carry out its research properly. However, it makes no secret of the fact
that the animals’ meat ends up on the dinner table or served up in school
lunches.

In 2014, the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of
Justice (ICJ), ruled that Japan’s annual Southern Ocean expedition was a
commercial hunt masquerading as science to skirt the moratorium.
In response, Japan’s 2014-15 mission carried out only “non-lethal research”
such as taking skin samples and doing headcounts.

Large-scale whaling in Japan began after World War II, when meat was scarce,
according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. The Japanese government
heavily subsidizes the industry, although, the organization says, demand for
whale meat has fallen significantly over the past few decades.

Japan is not the only country with an active interest in whaling

Although an international moratorium on whaling was put into effect in 1986,
Iceland and Norway continue commercial whaling. Whale hunting for research
is regarded as separate from commercial whaling and is unaffected by the
moratorium.

Patrick Ramage, the whale program director at International Fund for Animal
Welfare in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, said minke whales were historically
considered too small to be commercially viable for whalers. Many countries
have “worked their way down from the blue whale through the fin whale,
humpback whale and other species. It’s now the little guy — minke whale —
that Japan is targeting.”

Australia took Japan to the United Nations International Court of Justice in
The Hague over its Antarctic whaling activities. Last year the court ruled
in favor of Australia and ordered Japan to halt its special permit program
in the Antarctic, known as JARPA II. The court, which found that Japan was
using its scientific research program to disguise commercial whaling, said
that JARPA II involved the killing of 3,600 minke whales over several years
and that “the scientific output to date appears limited.”

Japan halted its whaling operations in Antarctica because of the court’s
decision. But rather than let its Antarctic whaling operation fade away,
Japan has apparently reinvented it with a program called the New Scientific
Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (PDF), which it plans to
launch on Tuesday.

An IWC representative, who requested anonymity because the person was not
authorized to speak with the media, said that when the commission’s
scientific committee reviewed Japan’s newly named plan, “they didn’t agree
whether the research Japan was proposing required lethal research or whether
you could do it using nonlethal methods, for example, DNA.”

But the government has said for months it intended to resume butchery in the
current season, which runs to around the end of March.

The announcement Monday that the hunt was to begin drew condemnation from
around the world

Claire Bass, executive director for Humane Society International, said Japan
had chosen to ignore the “universal opposition” represented by the ICJ
ruling.

“Once again we have Japan’s whaling fleet setting sail to commit a crime
against nature,” she said in a statement, stressing “Japan’s long history of
whale persecution”.Other conservationists called for another legal
challenge.But consumption has dramatically declined in recent decades, with
significant proportions of the population saying they “never” or “rarely”
eat whale meat.

Atsushi Ishii, an expert on international relations at Japan’s Tohoku
University, said Japan’s refusal to give up the Antarctic mission despite
censure by the international court is largely due to a small group of
powerful politicians.

“Why resume whaling? Because a group of pro-whaling lawmakers don’t like the
image that they succumbed to pressure from Sea Shepherd,” he told AFP,
referring to an environmental group that has repeatedly clashed with
Japanese whaling missions.Sea Shepherd Australia said Monday it would follow
the latest mission, which Japan said would aim to kill a total of 333 minke
whales—some two-thirds under previous targets.

Tokyo said in response that it would try to secure the safety of the 160
crew members by sending patrol boats to guard the fleet and strengthening
“self-protection measures.”The International Fund for Animal Welfare and the
Australian Marine Conservation Society said a panel of legal experts asked
to consider Japan’s latest whaling mission had found it broke international
law.

“The panel concluded that Japan’s new whaling programme violates
international law and that Australia or other countries still have options
to challenge Japan’s actions before international courts,” said chair and
Australian National University professor Donald Rothwell.

Japan has hunted whales for centuries, and their meat was a key source of
protein in the immediate post-World War II years when the country was
desperately poor. Japan began its so-called scientific whaling practices in
1987, a year after an worldwide whaling moratorium took effect. A protester
in 2008 sits on a Japanese flag covered in red blood outside the Japanese
consulate in Melbourne, Australia, to protest whale hunting.

Sea Shepherd, a conservation group that sent boats annually to disrupt
whaling activities by Japan warned Tokyo that returning to hunt whales will
be illegal. It was Australia which brought the case against Japan to the
International Court of Justice and is clearly not happy with Japan’s
decision to continue its hunt. Japan accuses opponents of being emotional
about the mammals and disregarding what it says is evidence to support its
position.

The country’s officials have said many times that most whale species aren’t
endangered, and noted eating whale is part of its culture. Greenpeace along
with Dolphin & Whale Action Network, Friends of the Earth and twelve other
animal rights and environmental groups issued a joint statement calling on
Japan to stop its whaling operations.

4 thoughts on “

  1. Japan was taught well after WWll, with encouragement from the U.S. Note, that the U.S. could stop this immediately by sanctioning Japan, but thus far, it fails to do so because our government really doesn’t care, and in fact, is assisting the disgusting, misnamed “subsistence whaling” going on in the Arctic, with U.S. Coast Guard help. Will our species ever stop the assault on non-humans? Not until there is nothing left to slaughter, I’m afraid, especially after viewing the presentation last night of “Racing Extinction.”

    http://www.foranimals.org

  2. This is just more of the same–laws and so-called prohibitions that don’t mean anything. Laws with loopholes that allow business to continue as usual or pronouncements with no punishments or sanctions behind them. Why bother? Just giving the appearance of accomplishing a good is not the same as doing it. Captain Watson and the Sea Shepherd fight whaling on the high seas. The young Rod Coronado actually took part in sinking two whaling vessels in Iceland. Too bad there aren’t more like them. There is not much courage or conviction when it comes to animals versus human interests or profits.

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