Sunday, November 18, 2007

Japan Hunts Humpbacks, Gets Global Jeers

Whale watchers the world over love to watch humpback whales at play; breaching the water with humongous splashes as they migrate. Japan is now hunting those whales in the South Pacific Ocean for the first time in 44 years so they can study them. Of course, studying the humpback whales means they have to die first. And the resulting carnage of fifty dead whales is to be scooped up and hauled back to Japan in a fleet of ships underneath the Land of the Rising Sun's banner.

This quest, kill and return of the whales has a five month project plan schedule. World condemnation of this is bloated hunt is not enough to sway Japan or its scientists attached Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) in Tokyo from its tortured version of animal science or biology. Supposedly baleen whales are redistributing their numbers and killing 50 samples will assist them in figuring out the changes happening near Antarctica. Japan is enacting the part of Captain Ahab with no remorse or regrets, because getting/eating/studying dead captured whales is now a principled action. The question now is what purpose does it serve.

Britain has lodged a formal protest.

"We do not believe that Japan's proposed lethal research that targets vulnerable humpback populations is necessary and we have serious reservations as to its scientific value," the spokeswoman said, speaking anonymously in line with government policy.

"We are committed to maintaining the moratorium on commercial whaling and will oppose all efforts by Japan to undermine this with so-called 'scientific' whaling.

"We will consider high-level diplomatic protest to the Japanese government following consultation with like-minded anti-whaling countries."

Australia has an anti-whaling sentiment directed towards Japan. It is affecting the race for prime minister in the land down under as some scientists believe the Howard government did not do all they could to stop Japan's hunt. Aussie humpback wale experts say there is no prevailing scientific rationale for this hunt.

Leading Queensland humpback scientists, Trish and Wally Franklin, said the Federal Government could have done more to stop the hunt, but chose not to. They called for an incoming government to act immediately.

Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull last night urged the Japanese Government to call off the hunt. "We again appeal to Japan to reconsider its 'scientific' whale slaughter and abandon its Southern Ocean scientific whaling program."

Labor has said that if elected it would use Australian Defence Force assets to gather evidence on Japanese whaling to mount international legal action.

There is only one known white humpback whale in the world named Migaloo. Greenpeace has a ship, Esperanza or Hope in Spanish, that will try to intercept and impeded the whalers. Greenpeace Israel issued condemnations of the scientific hunt as well.

Its Japan's 21st century Moby Dick story. It was not just a story about a whale. The timeless and classic work from Herman Melville resonates in any age. It is a must read story of man's unchained hubris much to his own detriment. The movie version starring Gregory Peck is the one I watched as a kid and remember in detail the beautiful scenery.

No comments: