Whales should be worried

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Whales should be worried

A Humpback whale jumping out of the Pacific Ocean.

A Humpback whale jumping out of the Pacific Ocean.

The Nation Thailand

A Humpback whale jumping out of the Pacific Ocean.

The Nation Thailand

The Nation Thailand

A Humpback whale jumping out of the Pacific Ocean.

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BRUNSWICK, OH – Japan has withdrawn itself from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) beginning July of this year, 2019. Japan has announced that it will once again allow commercial whaling and hunting of marine animals.

Commercial whaling has been banned since 1986, when the IWC issued a prohibition of the act. However, Japan has been slowly killing whales, arguing that it is for scientific research, with no evidence backing up their claims. Countries such as Australia condemn their actions and call for their immediate return to the IWC.

The IWC once again voted in September 2018 to deny Japan its rights to commercial whale, resulting in their withdrawal from the commission. Japan feels that it has been controlled too long by the IWC and they believe whale populations have returned to a significant level to continue commercial hunting.

Japan argues that it is part of their culture to eat whale meat, but one of the five national newspapers in Japan, the Asahi Shimbun, reported that only one-tenths of a percent of meat consumption in Japan was whale. Most Japanese individuals no longer support the killing of whales for meat.

An Academy Award winning documentary, The Cove, published in 2009, highlights the significance Japan plays in the destruction of not only whale populations, but dolphin populations as well. Photographs and videos of fisherman in Taiji, Japan, show their methods of slaughtering dolphins.

Activist Ric O’Barry has argued that captivity of dolphins is inhumane and that there is no reason to keep them from the wide open sea. He, and his team, risk their lives to capture the treatment of these dolphins in Taiji. 23,000 dolphins are said to be killed every year in Japan.

O’Barry criticizes that the IWC does not do enough to protect other marine life. Dolphins, for example, are not protected by the IWC. He argues that they should be, because many fishermen are killing dolphins and selling them as whale meat or other more expensive marine animal meat.

“You can either be an activist or an inactivist,” says O’Barry.

There is lots to do to protect whales and dolphins. Speaking up and disapproving of the killing of dolphins and whales is one way that we can protect and conserve marine animal populations.

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