Let’s not try and talk about this as breaking news, for many people have already seen the horrific pictures. But the fact is that this is huge news, and I’m going to take a quick look at just what it is, what it means, and why.
However if you haven’t turned on a TV or computer over the past little while, I’ll run it down for you. Photos released by the Australian Customs Agency late last week have depicted a pair of whales – theorized to be a mother and her baby calf – being hauled on board the Yuishin Maru.
Scientists have pegged the age of the calf at less than one year old, and while the Japanese are saying that the pair weren’t mother and calf, it seems to be a bit of a moot point. The reality though is that they probably were, considering they were hauled in together (it is unlikely that a mother would allow her calf away from her at such a tender age).
It comes amidst a wash of videos released by the Australian Customs Agency. The videos depict multiple whales being harpooned, blood flowing, splashing about trying to dislodge the harpoon. The footage was captured by crewmembers on speed boats from the Customs ship Oceanic Viking, which has been trailing the Japanese whaling fleet.
The sheer absurdity of this all is that the Japanese will continue to exploit the loophole existent within Article 8 of the Whaling Convention. It specifically says that whales are fair game if part of scientific research; that in itself is reprehensible.
Without pointing to countless experts, scientists and evidence that renders the killing of whales for science as irresponsible and disgusting, common sense would seem to prevail.
But sadly, it seems that there are no such people with the trait of common sense that many of us hold so dear, inside the Japanese government, or international ruling bodies. And it doesn’t help when you have mindless voices across the internet proclaiming that we should leave Japan alone for adhering to a tradition.
As I wrote in a post at my blog awhile ago addressing the anti-environmentalism on the internet, tradition is not an excuse, otherwise we’d still be witnessing scalping in North America.
Australia’s environmental minister Peter Garret believes that these “distressing” pictures will continue to build a legal case against the Japanese “research.” “It is explicitly clear from these images that this is the indiscriminate killing of whales, where you have a whale and its calf killed in this way,” Garrett told reporters in Sydney.
Garret also hinted that it can take up to 15 minutes for these animals to die, from when the harpoon is launched and they are dragged aboard the ship.
It is no surprise that the Japanese have spoken out against these images, but in a way that simply makes them look like incompetent fools. “The Government of Australia photographs and the media reports have created a dangerous emotional propaganda that could cause serious damage to the relationship between our two countries,” said the Institute of Cetacean Research, the Japanese government-affiliated organization that oversees the hunt, in a press release.
Well of course it’s bloody-well going to affect our relations, especially when people on both sides of the water get to see just what your “scientists” are doing to creatures of the ocean!
Another Japanese official, Hideki Moronuki, chief of the Japanese Fishing Agency’s whaling section, spoke out, denying that the photo depicted that of a mother and a calf, saying it was not a calf at all.
“The fleet is engaged in random sampling, which means they are taking both large and small whales. This is not a parent and calf,” Moronuki said.
Unluckily for Moronuki there is a weight of scientific opinion against him, that simply adds to the absurdity of Japan’s actions.
Rant endeth here, but let us all ensure that if there is a petition or survey that can be signed, a councilman or woman that can be persuaded, that we do so. Japan must, simply must admit that they are doing nothing more than killing whales for pleasure, as the warehouses full of unused whale meat would suggest they sure aren’t doing it for food.