‘Slaughtering’ whale science - sense or ‘cents’

As the Coalition reviews government spending in the run-up to this year’s budget, nothing is safe, and this includes funding for vital whale research. c.IFAWFirst we had Iceland’s lone whaler attempting to push whale beer on his compatriots. Now in an attempt to expand the whale meat market in Japan, the Japanese whaling industry has now had its whale meat certified as halal.

And, while whaling fleet owners, Kyodo Senpaku are never shy in trying to create ‘spin’ around whaling and its products, it seems our Prime Minister is struggling to ensure Australia’s opinions on whaling are heard. In his second meeting since the election with his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Abe, Tony Abbott has again failed to raise the issue of whaling.

This is a further worrying sign of the Coalition’s wavering commitment on whale issues, and as previously speculated seems to confirm that Environment Minister Hunt lacks the backing from his cabinet colleagues, right to the very top, in taking action on whaling.

Not only is this bad for the whales, but it is damaging Australia’s reputation as a global leader on whale conservation.

Other countries have had plenty to say on whale and dolphin hunting already this whaling season, with New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully having already spoken out and US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, criticising dolphin drive hunts on twitter last week.



At a time when the clamour against whale and dolphin hunting is growing (even Yoko Ono was commenting on it), our Prime Minister is staying resolutely silent.

Australia is falling behind other nations.

Another danger lurks on the horizon too. As the Coalition reviews government spending in the run-up to this year’s budget, nothing is safe, and this includes funding for vital whale research.

The Australian government has historically invested significant amounts in whale research funding both here in Australia and in the Antarctic. In the face of “scientific” whaling, this funding has been an integral part of demonstrating that we don’t need to kill whales to study them. If it is cut, this will be another serious blow to Australia’s whale conservation standing.

Help us ensure that funding continues by making a quick budget submission here.

Your message will be sent to the Treasurer Joe Hockey, Minister Hunt and your local MP. Joe Hockey even tweeted recently about dolphins playing in the surf at his local beach.



Let’s make sure when he thinks of whale research funding he sees sense not cents.

-- MC

Below is an open letter from dozens of friends to the marine community urging the Australian government to continue investing in the high-quality marine mammal research which has been a hallmark of Australia’s commitment to conservation.

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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Dr. Ralf (Perry) Sonntag, Country Director, Germany
Country Director, Germany
Isabel McCrea, Regional Director, Oceania
Regional Director, Oceania
IFAW Japan Representative
IFAW Japan Representative
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales