by Rabb!t / Earth First! Newswire
Hunting whales for commercial purposes has been banned by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) since the mid-1980s. The moratorium states that no country may kill whales unless they are doing so for scientific purposes (a loophole that Japan uses to justify their annual slaughter). The moratorium also allows aboriginal cultures with a history of subsistence whaling to slaughter small populations, so long as the catch is not sold commercially.
In spite of this ban, Iceland has announced its plans to kill up to 184 fin whales again this year, and the Sunday Times reported this week that the majority of the catch would be sold to Japan to satisfy a growing demand for luxury dog snacks.
Like all cetaceans, fin whales play a critical role in maintaining the health of our oceans. They strongly influence community structures, support marine communities as a food source, and have formed commensal relationships with other species, including sea birds. Fin whales were almost completely wiped out by hunting in the 1900s, and are now critically endangered.
Our treatment of the ocean is getting increasingly surreal. There are plastic gyres at the center of every ocean on the planet, slowly whirling above the corpses of animals forced to inhale plastic particles; driftnets and bottom-trawlers are emptying the sea of fish with no thought as to what our children will have to trawl for; the outrageous amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by the slowly trudging, heavily stomping beast of industrial progress is turning our oceans to acid; and now the second largest animal on the planet is being hunted and killed to feed upper-class dogs in sweaters.