Australia pushes Japan to stop whale hunt
Australia is ready to start on a new research agenda that would prove whales do not have to be slaughtered in the name of science.
The Australian government urged Japan to abandon its yearly whale hunt on Monday, putting $4-million into scientific research that is designed to end Japan’s scientific whaling program. The study would include aerial surveys, genetic analysis and tagging.
Japanese whalers plan to catch up to 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales, saying there will be no changes to their hunting plans despite international protests and slumping demand for whale meat at home.
“Australia does not believe that we need to kill whales to understand them,” Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett told reporters. Activists say the research hunt is a front for commercial whaling, outlawed under an internationally agreed moratorium.
Japan, which considers whaling to be a cherished cultural tradition, abandoned commercial whaling in accordance with the international moratorium in 1986, but began what it calls a scientific research whaling program the following year.
The ships are expected to set sail in the coming days, although officials said that for safety reasons no exact date is being made public.
The fleet failed to reach its target catch in last season’s hunt, partly due to a series of protests and disruptions by animal rights activists.