Tom Brake says NO! to 'scientific' whaling.

June 28, 2007 4:14 PM
extent of hardship for innocent whales

The practise of 'scientific whaling' still takes place in Japan

On Tuesday the 26th of June, Tom Brake Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington, joined by Martin Horwood Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham and Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesman met the Japanese Ambassador Yoshiji Nogami in Westminster to discuss Japan's continuation of 'scientific' whaling.

Mr Brake arranged the meeting following representations by many of his constituents concerned at Japan's attempts to resume commercial whaling.

Japan's Government allows coastal whalers to catch 66 whales a year, while the Government is entitled to kill 1000 whales a year for what it maintains is a 'scientific programme'.

Currently this programme is sanctioned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) which instituted a 20 year moratorium on whaling in 1986. The two exceptions to this are aboriginal sustenance whaling and scientific research.

Japan has recently threatened to leave the IWC if whaling laws are not made more lenient and commercial whaling is not resumed.

Tom Brake and Martin Hall are lobbying for an end to the cruel practice of whaling because of strong evidence of the suffering whales experience when harpooned and also their levels of intelligence. However the Ambassador was keen to stress that "the numbers of some species, such as the Minke whale, are growing and now number in their hundreds of thousands and should be culled". He also downplayed the animal welfare issue claiming that "explosive harpoons kill instantly."

The International Fund for Animal Welfare argues that "Japan continues to hunt whales commercially under the guise of 'science'. Since the early 1990's Japan has been working in a deliberate and sustained manner to take control of the IWC by providing poor developing countries, most with no obvious interest in whaling, with substantial aid packages (usually in the form of fisheries aid) as an incentive to join the IWC and vote for whaling. Since 1998 21 countries have been 'recruited' in this way.

Last November Britain joined 23 other countries and the European Commission in support of the IWC's proposal to condemn international whaling

The Ambassador seemed adamant that Japan would not yield to foreign demands and that it would continue the practice which is part of its cultural heritage and no more unethical than the cull of deer in Richmond Park.

Japan currently has no commercial whaling operations so an end to the practice would result in virtually no job losses.

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