By Fredrica Syren:
The United Nation International Court in Hague ruled that it’s illegal for Japan to hunt for whales in Antarctica, and revoked its whaling licenses. Japan will not be granted any further permits. Critics of Japan’s whaling practices, Australia and New Zealand, applauded the UN court’s ruling. But they also caution that Japan may continue its controversial Antarctica whaling for “scientific” reasons.
Japan already has been known to use legal loopholes. During a 1986 whaling ban, they pointed to the founding treaty of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which allowed whaling for “scientific research.” In the name of this treaty, they continued to kill whales. According to them, the kills were for gathering scientific data. It’s never been a secret that Japan hunts and sells both whale and dolphin meat as food for humans, and has been widely criticized for it. However, after the UN court’s ruling, Japan announced – for the first time in more than a quarter of a century – the cancellation of this year’s hunt. Around 2,000 whales are being killed annually by Japan, Iceland and Norway. In 2013, Japan killed 103 minke whales, and during the previous season it killed 445 whales in total.
For sure, all eyes are now on Japan to respect the UN court’s decision.