Japan: stop killing whales

I hope to someday take out a sailboat as an old man, watch the whales breach, jump and thrive as my grandchild and I watch in amazement. But with the continuing extermination of these beautiful and complex creatures, the future looks grim.

The International Court of Justice in the Netherlands delighted environmentalists and whale lovers alike through an order to cease Japan’s brutal “research whaling,” project in Antarctica in late March.

But as soon as the celebration began, Japan pulled a late April fool’s joke on the world.

Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research announced April 11, just shortly after the court order; it will continue its never-ending, gruesome Southern Ocean hunt beginning again in March 2015.

As Greenpeace and other organizations changed their tweets from “Jumping for joy,” to “Japan declares they will defy international ruling and continue hunting,” I was just disappointed.

The court was uncertain just how scientific the country’s research whaling system actually is, as there has been much controversy and rumors concerned that Japan’s research whaling is for every purpose other than research.

Since 1986, more than 25,000 whales have been murdered legally for “scientific research,” according to onegreenplant.org.

For years, Japan has more than greatly contributed to the loss of millions of these animals. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, 31,984 whales have been killed since 1986, and on average about 450 minke whales (of the 850 target) are killed each year by Japan, according to News.com.au.

Each year at the International Whaling Commission meeting, Japan seems to be the only country majorly concerned about what species can be hunted and where.

Usually, Japan argues more whales should be available to be hunted in more zones. It asks and takes as many whales as it can. Although it has received much criticism, the country will not hold off on harpooning and killing these stunning mammals regardless of international orders.

Although I have never been to Japan and witnessed these mass murders, I do not think the country uses “scientific whaling” for science, like argued in the court. These animals are highly evolved and proven to be more emotional than humans. They are creative, live in families and mourn over dead, just like humans. They can sing for countless hours and travel miles to feed their young.

While the future looks forever doomed in the cetacean community, many commend the ongoing efforts by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a non-profit conservation group located in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Wash. After hearing Japan’s decision, the organization stated they, “have ships prepared to return to the Southern Ocean in December of 2014 should Japan choose to ignore this ruling.”

Sea Shepherd Founder Paul Watson has continually fought Japan in the battle of whether whales should be as vastly hunted as they are.

Another activist fighting the killing of cetaceans, specifically dolphins, is Richard O’Barry. O’Barry is best known for training TV sensation, “Flipper.”

He is featured in the film “The Cove,” and in the film, visits a whaling commission meeting with a TV around his neck displaying images of dolphins being slaughtered off the coast of Japan.

Whaling is a part of society that shouldn’t be. It is morally wrong and unless whaling rates are significantly decreased, these animals will cease to exist down the road.

Luke Nozicka can be reached at lnozicka@dailyegyptian.com, on Twitter at @LukeNozicka, or 536-3311 ext. 268.

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