National Whale Day: A day of action against Japanese whaling

Today is National Whale Day, a day normally reserved to celebrate the arrival of the many whales that migrate to our coastlines each year. But it’s also a day that we think about the threats facing whales in our waters and around the world.

This year, IFAW is holding a national day of action against one of the biggest threats to whales: Japan’s continued whaling in the Southern Ocean. Sadly, Japan intends to resume its cruel and outdated whaling in the Antarctic this coming summer.

After Australia’s victory at the International Court of Justice last year, which struck down Japan’s previous so-called scientific whaling programme, we hoped Antarctic whales would finally be safe from the harpoons. Unfortunately, it seems not.

Japan has devised a new proposal to kill nearly 4,000 whales over the next 12 years.

This means that each and every year until 2027, 333 whales will be unnecessarily slaughtered, all in the name ‘science’.

IFAW strongly believes that whales should be celebrated, not slaughtered.This National Whale Day, we need your help to send a clear and resounding message to Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe. Please sign IFAW’s petition expressing your disappointment at Japan’s decision to resume Southern Ocean whaling and highlighting the damage whaling is doing to Japan's international reputation.

Sadly, it seems Japan is not just intent on defying the world’s highest court but also some of the world’s most respected whale scientists too. Earlier this year, an Expert Panel convened by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) concluded Japan hadn’t demonstrated the need to kill more whales for its research. Then just last week, the report of the IWC’s recent Scientific Committee meeting was released, revealing that the scientists from the majority of countries represented there agreed that Japan did not need to kill whales for research.

Yet the Japanese Government officials insisted their plans remained unchanged despite this scientific embarrassment being heaped on its legal trouncing.

The question now is what are anti-whaling governments the world over, including Australia, going to do about it?

Rather predictably, the Abbott Government could find nothing to say about Japan’s determination to resume whaling, despite the great work of Australian Government scientists in helping to rubbish Japan’s latest attempt at dressing up its commercial whaling in a lab coat.

It’s no surprise then that polling released recently by IFAW shows just 17% of us think our government is doing enough to prevent the return of Antarctic whaling.

So this National Whale Day, rather than wait for our government to step up, we need to take the message directly to Japan. We need to remind the Japanese PM that whale and dolphin watching is a thriving activity in Japan and offers a far better way of supporting coastal communities than whaling.

IFAW strongly believes that whales should be celebrated, not slaughtered.


We’re speaking out for whales to protect them from harpoons in the Antarctic, but to succeed, we need your voice there with us.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation