Japan's Whaling - More Sushi than Science

Thursday, January 17, 2008
Sydney, Australia
While the drama unfolds in the Southern Ocean, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare - www.ifaw.org) reiterates the only way to permanently stop the Government of Japan’s illegal whaling activity is through international courts.
The world’s leading international law experts and marine mammal scientists have deemed the Government of Japan’s “scientific” whaling program to be fatally flawed and in breach of numerous international treaties and tribunals.
 
“Japan’s 20 years of “scientific whaling” has delivered thousands of dead whales and next to no useful knowledge of the whales they “study”. The meat is packaged and sold in the fish markets in Japan. This has more to do with sushi than science,” IFAW Campaigns Manager, Darren Kindleysides, said.
 
At the 2007 International Whaling Commission meeting the Scientific Committee strongly criticized Japan’s self-proclaimed ‘scientific whaling’ for having killed nearly 7000 minke whales and failing to deliver conclusions of any scientific value.
 
“In contrast, research in countries such as Australia, Argentina and Brazil has delivered information on their life history, including population trends, to a precision that lethal researchers could not even dream of.  How many times must Japan be told - you don’t need to kill whales to study them,” Mr Kindleysides said.
 
Not only is the science flimsy but according to three separate panels of independent, international legal experts (commissioned by IFAW) Japan’s whaling program breaches the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Antarctic Treaty System and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.
 
“The world’s best legal minds have made the case.  Japan’s whaling is not just cruel, it’s criminal,” Mr Kindleysides said.
 
“If there is to be a permanent end to whaling in the Antarctic then the burden for action rests with the Australian Government and other conservation minded governments worldwide to challenge the Government of Japan through international courts.”  

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