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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Whaling Under Attack in Japan by Former Japanese Whalers

The Japanese whaling industry is becoming increasing desperate in their ludicrous attempts to find environmental justifications for slaughtering the whales.

First they said that they needed to kill whales to protect them because whales eat fish and too many whales will eat too many fish causing some whales to starve to death. How mercifully considerate of them!

Then they said that whales were wiping out the fishes in the ocean and needed to be controlled before some fish species were driven to extinction. How desperately disillusional of them!

And now the Chief of the Japan Overseas Fishing Association  Kunio Yonezawa, a former IWC commissioner is claiming that whaling is "a green alternative to modern farming".

He is also claiming that "'it is a much better way ecologically in terms of climate change instead of (eating) land animals, particularly (when you consider) animal husbandry,'... To produce 1 kg of beef, it takes 18.4 kg of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, whereas to produce one kilogram of whale meat it takes 2.9 kg of CO2''.

The figures are suspect of course considering the incredible volume of diesel fuel consumed annually by the Japanese whaling fleet but claiming that killing whales to prevent climate change is beyond the definition of ludicrous and entering the dimension of ridiculously insane. And of course there is always a vegetarian option.

This has become too much for Shigeko Misaki, a former advisor to the Japan Whaling Association and the former counsel for the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR).

She is also the author of The History and Science of Whales.

According to Misaki:

"...I now find myself retired and severed from much of the controversy over whaling. However, internet reports of whaling "progress" thus far persuade me that this season is the most opportune time for Japan's government to decide to withdraw all whaling operations from the Southern Ocean."

"I say this because I believe that pelagic whaling does not contribute to the prevention of global warming. Just think of the expensive fuel the Japanese whaling fleet consumes en route to the Antarctic, plus that consumed by the freezing ship for transporting the byproducts of whaling to the Japanese market. Over the years, Japanese research ships have made a mess on the ocean when fire broke out due to poor management of the vessel. Add to that the mess made by animal rights groups eager to attack the whaling ships. Whaling as a business hardly justifies the environmental costs. Talk about ‘food mileage' has not touched on whale meat. Why doesn't the government consider it more seriously, and cease whaling in any form, except small-scale coastal whaling?"

Finally we have some real debate in Japan. It's a positive development to see a former member of the whaling industry like Shigeko Misaki openly criticizing Japanese whaling, and she did it in the Japan Times, an English-speaking publication knowing this would attract international attention.

She does not condemn whaling but she is opening the doors to an honourable exit strategy for the whalers - to use rising fuel costs, concern for the climate and food miles as a reason for ending whaling.

But there is increasing opposition to whaling in Japan from a wide spectrum of the public. There is concern that it is giving Japan a bad reputation around the world, that it is not an ecologically sustainable industry and that it is causing embarrassing diplomatic relations with outer nations. It is also losing money.

The ICR is heavily in debt to the Japanese government for subsidies and they were only able to take half their quota for the last two seasons thanks to Sea Shepherd's interventions.

We have them on the ropes economically and politically and all we need to do now is to keep them on the ropes, we need to keep punching and we need to keep costing them money and continuing to embarrass them.

The war to save the whales from the ruthless illegal slaughter by the Japanese whaling fleet can be won as long as we don't retreat or surrender and that is something Sea Shepherd has no intention of doing.