Court to decide whales’ fate, let’s makes sure PM Abbott has something to say about it

A high-powered harpoon on a Japanese whale hunting ship. c. IFAWIn just a few day’s time, the International Court of Justice will deliver its long-awaited verdict on Australia’s case against Japanese whaling in the Antarctic.

It’s impossible to predict the outcome but whatever it is, the forensic detail with which Australia deconstructed the pretence that Japanese whaling is for ‘scientific’ purposes has piled on the embarrassment on an already shaky whaling industry in Japan – an industry racking up tonnes of stockpiled whale meat and reliant on millions of dollars a year in subsidies.

Although the case was initiated back in 2010 by the Rudd government, the Coalition has supported the case both when in Opposition and now in Government. It is a reflection of the near universal abhorrence of whaling across Australia that it is one of the few issues in Australian politics that all sides broadly agree on.

However, it has been deeply disappointing that despite meeting twice with his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Abbott hasn’t raised the issue of whaling. The Trade Minister has even gone on record saying that free trade agreements are the priority.

Mr Abbott is due to visit Japan in early April, almost immediately after the Court gives its verdict. Regardless of the outcome, Mr Abbott should be reflecting the views of the vast majority of Australians who want to see an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean.


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Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Whales