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Whaling plays on ‘whale psychology’

whale psychology

With scant regards to the sexual life of whales, the International Whaling Commission, a treaty organization grouping 80 countries, is seriously debating a possible resumption of commercial whale-hunting. If the IWC lifts its 12-year ban on whaling, it would seriously deepen divisions between member states opposed to the hunts and those – chiefly Iceland, Japan and Norway – in favor. In the meantime, environmental groups including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Greenpeace have warned that Japan wanted to catch whales for non-scientific ends.

Also, deep water hunters are playing a dirty game on the psychology of whales. They are getting tired of their human predators. The sharply falling number of whales have confused these intelligent mammals about their own underwater domain. Scientists and marine explorers claim that the whales’ very will to live is diminishing. Despite an international moratorium on whale hunting in 1986, Japan, Norway and Iceland continue to cull more than 2,000 a year for their meat and oil. Some species like the North Pacific and North Atlantic whales have been reduced to just a few hundred survivors, and could be extinct within decades. A 2007 study by the Iceland Marine Research Institute revealed a ‘significant decrease’ in the population of minke whales since 2001. Japan and Norway killed more than 1,600 minke in 2007.

Fortunately, the US Congress voted late yesterday to pass House Concurrent Resolution 350, calling on the U.S. to strengthen its efforts through the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to protect whale species and to help end commercial whaling as practised by Japan, Norway and Iceland. It has also assured that the United States, if it takes the issue seriously, can change the situation for whales in the water around the world.

Japan has not taken all this on a kind note. Tokyo police arrested two Greenpeace members late last week who had alleged corruption in the country’s controversial whaling programme, accusing the activists of stealing whale meat. Police raided five locations, including the international environmental group’s Japan headquarters in Tokyo and arrested Junichi Sato, 31, a prominent voice in the media against whaling, and fellow Greenpeace member Toru Suzuki, 41. Last month, Greenpeace said a lengthy investigation revealed that whalers on the taxpayer-backed hunt had taken home meat and sold it on the black market. It intercepted one box of meat and handed it to prosecutors in Tokyo as evidence, seeking action against 12 crew members on the whaling ship. Greenpeace denounced the arrests as an “intimidation tactic” by the government.

Source : Daily Mail

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