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gottaB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:29 AM
Original message
Harpooned: the world's fight to save the whale
19 July 2004

A step towards the return of commercial whaling will be taken this week if pro-whaling countries achieve - as many expect - their first majority voting bloc on whaling's governing body.

Japan, Norway and Iceland - all still hunting the great whales in defiance of the 18-year international moratorium on their killing - are on course to gain control of more than 50 per cent of the votes at the 2004 International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, which begins in Sorrento, Italy, today.

Hitherto, the anti-whaling nations, led by the US, Australia, New Zealand and Britain, have held a controlling majority of IWC votes. But in a tireless diplomatic offensive, the Japanese have spent more than 10 years and many millions of pounds recruiting small nations to the IWC as whaling sympathisers, in return for substantial development aid.

Harpooned: the world's fight to save the whale....

More stories from the IWC meeting:
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GCP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:33 AM
Response to Original message
I thought we'd dealt with this. Whaling is one of the most despicable pursuits that human kind still carries on. I can deal with the Inuit taking a few as part of their heritage, but full-scale commercial whaling is an atrocity.
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jilln Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:41 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. taking a few?
First of all, it is no longer a part of their heritage. In fact, that became their argument only AFTER they had hired a PR firm. This is all documented.

In any case, they are not "taking" whales, they are murdering them.

I understand your point and appreciate how despicable you think commercial whaling is. It just bothers me when people speak like hunters, saying "we took 5 deer" or "harvested" or "culled"... hiding how violent and unnecessary the killing is.
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Spentastic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. That's an interesting point of view.
However, is it just Whales being killed that provokes your ire? Day after day the human race slaughters millions of animals for food, clothing , fertiliser among other things.

Initially opposition to whaling was by those advocating a ban to presrve their existence. The character of opposition has now changed with words such as "murder" being used. Do we murder fish? Or cows?

Why do Whales get to be saved whilst other things just get harvested?
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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:29 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Interesting...
But let's be honest. The Japanese have been illegally hunting in defiance of International Law for years.
Unlike cows, we do not have the capacity to control the breeding behavior of whales the way we do cattle. Whales behavior is far less predictable than the behavior of cattle. So, we have to create severe controls to protect the species from extinction.
As to the use of terms, you know as well as I do that everyone uses terms to create a sense of outrage in people. On the DU, the term Nazi and Fascist is freely thrown around by some people for the purpose of creating a greater sense of anger at the shrubbies.
If your definition of murder is illegal killing, then in the broader sense of the word what the Japanese do is murder. And, while on the topic of inciteful speech, take it from someone who lives in east Asia, the Japanese are quick to use the term racist toward anyone who criticizes anything they do.
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THUNDER HANDS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:31 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. because whales are different
They're really really big, and kinda cute.
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Spentastic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:43 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I wouldn't argue with that.
Even without the sarcasm, without doubt they are cool things.

But I can't see how an ethical argument can be made for not harvesting Whales whilst systematically cleansing the sea of fish. The difficulty of guaging stock levels has ne deterred fishermen from decimating other fish populations without much of a fuss. Orange Roughy, Patagonian Toothfish , North Atlantic Whiting all pushed to the brink by intensive fishing. Then someone says they want to kill a Whale and all hell breaks loose. I'd like to see a consistent approach adopted.

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gottaB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Cetaceans are highly intelligent
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 08:32 AM by gottaB
To quote one expert:

First, whales are biologically special. They are the largest animals on earth. They include the biggest creature ever to have lived on our planet, the 100-foot long female blue whale. Their sheer size commands extreme respect. And whales and dolphins have large and complex brains. The sperm whale's brain is the largest of any ever to exist, weighing four or five times as much as our human brain and being at least as fissured and convoluted. The humpback whale creates the most complex, long-lasting, repetitive sound patterns of any non-human animal. Noted marine veterinarian Sam Ridgeway has reported findings that the bottlenose dolphin, by a variety of measurements (encephalization quotient, volume of cortex, ratio of brain weight to spinal cord weight, etc.) ranks just below humans and considerably above other higher primates, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans.

Why Save the Whales

On edit. Found a more detailed essay on cetacean intelligence, The Paragon of Animals: Reflections on the Human Perception of Intelligence, by Captain Paul Watson.

I don't mean to suggest a moral universe in which killing the stupid is always and necessarily for the good, but I think that wiping out lifeforms with the capacity for sophisticated consciousness should give us pause.
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Spentastic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Don't get me wrong
Personally I'd just leave em well alone. I think they are fantastic creatures so much better alive than dead.

However,we don't measure other animals we eat by their relative intelligence, ability to feel pain or their "humanity".

The link provided does indeed link the need to keep whales alive with the treatment of other animals. The logical consequence of this course of action is planetary vegatarianism. I don't have a problem with that. I fear a portion of the population will never swallow it.
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natrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:49 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. i dont eat cows,birds,fish
i certainly dont eat whales. Bush is checking with industry now to see how much $ they can make per whale. Considering using thermonuclear devices underwater to hunt. Then carcasses float to surface for increased productivity. The EPA estimates entire earth's whale population could be "harvested" in 67 days.
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
10. Japan Loses First Tussle in Whaling Talks
Mon 19 July, 2004 18:13
By Robin Pomeroy

SORRENTO, Italy (Reuters) - Japan lost the first battle in a war to turn back years of anti-hunting agreements at the International Whaling Commission on Monday when countries rejected its motion to hold votes in secret.

Conservation groups, which accuse Japan of enticing developing countries to join the body and vote with it, welcomed the outcome which indicated the majority of the 57 members were still largely opposed to whaling.

"It looks like the pro-conservation majority will hold for another year," said Susan Lieberman of the WWF, but she added the majority might be as slim as just a single vote as most of the newer member countries would likely side with the hunters.

Anti-whalers say secret votes would let countries proclaim their opposition to whaling in public while cutting backroom deals to let it happen.

Japan seeks commercial whaling OK
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent, in Sorrento, Italy

It wants to kill almost 3,000 Antarctic minkes, nearly five times its current annual catch for scientific research.

But BBC News Online has learnt the move is a stratagem designed simply to discredit the IWC, which is certain to reject the proposal.

One source told BBC News Online: "Japan knows perfectly well the commission won't accept its proposal, and it has no intention of starting commercial whaling again. This is all about showing that the IWC doesn't work, to strengthen Japan's hand in preparing to walk out."

Japan sets 2006 whaling ultimatum

Japan has set 2006 as a deadline to leave the International Whaling Commission if it is still unhappy with the organisation's performance.

A senior member of its delegation at the IWC annual meeting told BBC News Online it could not wait much longer.

This marks the first time Japan has set a date to implement its annual threats to withdraw from the IWC.

DNA of protected whales found at Japanese market
By Andrew Darby
July 20, 2004

The first DNA evidence of illegal whaling in southern hemisphere waters has been found.
DNA-tested whale meat from the Japanese retail market matches the signature of the sei whale's southern hemisphere stock, according to geneticist Scott Baker.

Sei whales have been protected globally from commercial whaling since about 1980. The only whaling fleet to operate in the southern hemisphere since then is Japan's "research" fleet.

But Professor Baker, associate professor of population genetics and evolution at the University of Auckland, said the data could not implicate the Japanese fleet.

Japan to increase whale hunting for research 2004-07-19 20:06:12

TOKYO, July 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese government announced Monday Japan will increase the number of whales from 260 to 380 this year to hunt for research in the northern Pacific Ocean.

Together with its hunting permit of 400 whales in the Antarctic Ocean, the planned rise in the North Pacific will make Japan the world's largest whaling nation, exceeding Norway, which will hunt 670 whales for commercial purposes, according to the government plan.

Japan needs more sample whales for research, a move that will stir criticisms from anti-whaling nations at the annual meeting ofthe International Whaling Commission (IWC) being held in Sorrento,Italy, according to the document Tokyo submitted to the IWC.

Japan plans to hunt 120 minke whales along the Japanese coasts,compared with the current 50. It will also catch 100 sei whales, double the current level, the document said.

Pro-hunting countries join whale body
Mon 19 July, 2004 14:10
By Robin Pomeroy

SORRENTO, Italy (Reuters) - Six new countries have joined the International Whaling Commission, most of whom are expected to back the pro-hunting countries prompting accusations by conservationists of vote-buying.

Anti-whaling countries have held sway for more than two decades at the IWC, but environmentalists fear new member states Tuvalu, Mauritania, Ivory Coast and Surinam will back hunting, shifting the balance of power in the 57-member group.

"Some of the poorest developing countries in the world are being used to vote in favour of whaling," said Greenpeace campaigner John Frizel on Monday. "This is a clear case of money talks."

It's time to stop whalers from bending the rules
Susan Lieberman IHT
Monday, July 19, 2004
GLAND, Switzerland

What would be the consequences of a pro-whaling majority? The good news would be that the current moratorium on commercial whaling would stay in place. A three-quarter majority is needed to overturn the ban, and indications are that the balance has only slightly tipped in favor of whaling.

But even a simple pro-whaling majority would still be dangerous. For example, instead of being condemned for their so-called "scientific" whaling, Japan and Iceland would likely see a resolution that actually endorses the practice. This would be a disaster.

Despite the moratorium on commercial whaling, loopholes have allowed over 25,000 whales to be killed by Japan, Norway and Iceland since 1986. Of these, close to 8,000 - including endangered sei whales - were killed by Japan for "scientific" whaling, with the meat finding its way into the market. It is no secret that Japan would like to kill more whales, and a favorable resolution would effectively give Tokyo carte blanche to do so. So even with the moratorium in place, commercial whaling could dramatically expand.

A simple majority could also overturn last year's landmark resolution, the Berlin Initiative. The Conservation Committee established under this initiative enables member countries to tackle the full range of threats to all cetaceans beyond commercial whaling. These include marine pollution, climate change, noise pollution, ship strikes, and the biggest threat of all, bycatch - entanglement in fishing nets, which kills around 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises each year.

Susan Lieberman is director of the World Wildlife Fund's global species program.

IWC Opens at Crossroads: Whale Conservation or Corruption?
7/19/2004 12:10:00 P

Contact: Patrick Ramage of IFAW at the Hilton Hotel, Room 39, 001-508-776-0027 or, Web:

SORRENTO, Italy, July 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- As the 56th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) opened today, the future of the Commission itself is in danger according to IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare ). IFAW and other conservation groups fear aggressive vote buying and pressure tactics by Japan may result in the global body moving away from whale conservation for the first time in three decades.

"Any majority for whaling at this meeting will be bought, not won," said Fred O'Regan, president of IFAW and a delegate at the Sorrento meeting. "The fact is, if vote-buying were to stop, the IWC would have a massive pro-whale majority. Japan can't recruit countries with the power of its arguments, so it relies on the power of its currency. If Japan succeeds, this meeting will mark the first time an international convention has been hijacked by a single country and could lead to treaty busting in other international conventions."

Push for anti-whaling muscle
20 July 2004

New Zealand is mounting a diplomatic push to persuade anti-whaling nations to join the International Whaling Commission as the battle to keep whaling bans in place heats up.

The increased support for whaling on the commission was a wake-up call for those who want the ban on commercial whaling to stay, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said.

New Zealand and other anti-whaling countries would be "deeply concerned" if the balance of power shifted significantly on the commission, which began meeting in Italy last night, he said.

Protest fleet rallies off Italy in anti-whaling campaign

SORRENTO, Italy (AFP) Jul 18, 2004

A fleet of some 50 vessels deployed off this Italian resort Sunday in a demonstration of solidarity with the world's whale population on the eve of proposals at a meeting here to resume whale-hunting.
"Every year about 300,000 sea mammals and 1,500 whales are killed by hunters," said Emanuela Marinelli of the environmental group Greenpeace.

She said the protesters had rallied to persuade a majority at this week's meeting of the International Whaling Commission to vote against a resumption of whaling.

And thanks to gottaB for catching this story!
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 05:14 PM
Response to Original message
11. And when they are all gone, what's next?
Japan, Norway and Iceland - all still hunting the great whales in defiance of the 18-year international moratorium on their killing - are on course to gain control of more than 50 per cent of the votes at the 2004 International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, which begins in Sorrento, Italy, today.


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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 11:10 PM
Response to Original message
12. kick
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dArKeR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
13. Whale-killing Japan buys votes, claim Greens
By Denis Barnett

Sorrento, Italy - Japan, determined to overturn an 18-year moratorium on commercial whaling, was accused on Monday of mounting a "hostile takeover" of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by using foreign aid to buy the votes of developing countries.

The allegations came from an alliance of anti-whaling groups, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace, on the margins of the 56th annual IWC meeting in Italy.

The opening day of the four-day meeting has heard strong calls for a resumption of commercial whaling from a resurgent pro-whaling lobby led by Japan.
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