Whaling, terrible for whales, benefited some birds

This 2017 video says about itself:

Blue whales are the largest animals to have ever existed. Learn why they’re larger than any land animal and why they were hunted for years, making them endangered.

Recently, a Dutch book was published, called Een zee van traan • Vier eeuwen Nederlandse walvisvaart, 1612-1964, by Jaap R. Bruijn and Louwrens Hacquebord. It is about the history of Dutch whaling.

The killing of millions of whales was a disaster for many whale species. However, this meant, the authors say, that some other animal species eating krill, small sea snails or other animals formerly eaten by whales might increase. In the Antarctic, some penguin species did increase. In the Arctic, little auks increased.

This 2015 video from the Arctic says about itself:

Big Trouble for Little Birds | National Geographic

Franz Josef Land is home to 50 species of seabirds. One of them, the little auk, has seen a drop in body mass in recent years. Enric Sala and the Pristine Seas team investigate the possible causes to help save the species.

Japanese whalers kill whales for dog food

This 2017 video says about itself:

Illegal Japanese whaling filmed by the Australian Government in Antarctica

This is the footage that the Australian Government didn’t want you to see. Since 2012, Sea Shepherd has been a part of a joint fight to get the Australian Government to release rare whaling footage obtained on a 2008 Australian Customs mission to the Antarctic.

Here is the footage that the Australian Government filmed with tax payers’ money, of the Japanese whaling fleet illegally whaling in Antarctica, in Australian waters. The footage was filmed as part of gathering evidence for the International Court of Justice, which found Japan’s whaling to be illegal.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Friday, January 11, 2019

Japan is still killing whales that they don’t even eat

This summer the Japanese will start killing whales again. PETER FROST wonders why

ON Boxing Day 2018 Japan announced that it is leaving the International Whaling Commission to resume commercial, rather than so-called scientific hunts for the animals for the first time in 30 years.

At the same time it said it would no longer go to the Antarctic for its much-criticised annual killings.

Chief Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said his country would resume commercial whaling in July 2019 “in line with Japan’s basic policy of promoting sustainable use of aquatic living resources based on scientific evidence.”

He added that Japan is disappointed that the IWC — which he claims is dominated by conservationists — focuses on the protection of whale stocks even though the commission has a mandate for both whale conservation and the development of the whaling industry.

“Regrettably, we have reached a decision that it is impossible in the IWC to seek the coexistence of states with different views,” he said at a news conference.

Japan faced much criticism earlier last year when its so-called scientific research whaling fleet slaughtered 122 pregnant whales.

In 2014, the international court of justice ruled against the annual Japanese slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean, after concluding that the hunts were not, as Japanese officials had claimed, conducted for scientific research but for the commercial whale meat market.

Japan resumed whaling in the Southern Ocean in 2016 under a programme that reduced its kill by about two-thirds.

Australia and New Zealand, as well as several anti-whaling campaigning groups, have done what they can to stop the Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean and they seem to have been successful – the Japanese now say that whaling this summer will only be in Japanese waters.

However the Japanese whaling fleet will again flaunt international opinion and start hunting whales later this year.

Japan will also continue to campaign to end the international ban on commercial whaling, claiming that populations of some whale species have recovered sufficiently to allow the resumption of what Japan claims is sustainable hunting.

Japan sent no fewer than 70 delegates to last autumn’s IWC meeting in Brazil. They argued that the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling was intended to be a temporary measure, and accused the IWC of abandoning its original purpose — managing the sustainable use of global whale stocks.

The Japanese said: “Japan proposes to establish a committee dedicated to sustainable whaling (including commercial whaling and aboriginal subsistence whaling).”

The Japanese proposals would have allowed IWC’s members to decide on quotas with a simple majority rather than the current two-thirds majority from 2020 onwards. This would have made it easier for Japan to buy enough votes to end the ban on commercial whaling.

Votes in favour of whaling come from those nations still involved in the grisly business. Only Norway and Iceland still have commercial whaling fleets and they both support Japan.

In addition a number of small island communities also carry out limited aboriginal whale hunting as part of what are usually claimed to be ancient cultural traditions.

Japan, however, has often bought additional votes supporting whaling from countries by offering advantageous trading terms and other close relationships.

Does Japan need to eat whale meat? No. In fact very little whale meat is actually consumed by Japanese people today.

Much is made into expensive edible dog treats for the small lap-dogs that are so fashionable among affluent Japanese.

When it comes to human consumption a recent poll commissioned by Greenpeace and conducted by the independent Nippon Research Centre found that 95 per cent of Japanese people very rarely or never eat whale meat.

Given how Japan has leant over backwards to justify its whaling, and how much international criticism its getting, you might conclude whale meat is a hugely important part of the Japanese diet.

In fact the amount of uneaten frozen whale meat stockpiled in Japan doubled to 4,600 tons in the 10 years between 2002 and 2012, the last dates for which figures have been published.

It isn’t as if there is a long Japanese tradition of eating whale meat going back centuries. In fact the widespread eating of whale was only introduced directly after World War II by the US General Douglas MacArthur, who effectively ruled Japan during the post-war allied occupation.

World War II shattered Japan’s economy, food was scarce and meat especially so. MacArthur and his occupying administrators decided Japan could and should get much of their protein from sea mammal meat.

In 1946, MacArthur converted two US military tankers to become giant industrial whaling factory ships. A generation of Japanese children grew up eating whale meat as part of their school dinners.

Today for most Japanese, whale meat is little more than a novel culinary curiosity. For those few Japanese old enough to remember eating whale in immediate post-war school dinners it provides an occasional nostalgic trip down memory lane.

Japan’s former top international whaling negotiator Komatsu Masayuki for instance, told the world’s press he had never tried whale meat before he took on the whaling propagandist’s job.

This was the top man putting Japan’s argument for continuing to kill and eat whales saying he had never even tasted whale meat.

Why is it then that Japan is prepared to make itself such a pariah in world opinion? One popular view, and it is certainly the one I subscribe to, is that it is Japanese pride that will not accept other countries defining just what the Japanese nation can and cannot do.

Pride and humiliation are two sides of the way that Japanese people see their position in society and their nation’s place in the world.

If the world in general thinks it can tell the Japanese to stop killing whales, then that might be all the argument the Japanese need to keep up the bloody slaughter.

Some better whale news

Back in last September I wrote about a beluga whale that was spotted in the River Thames.

According to experts the 11-foot (3.5m) whale is still alive and well, and has been spotted regularly almost every week off the Kent coast in the Thames estuary.

Stop whale killing now

This August 2017 video says about itself:

Blue Whales 101 | Nat Geo Wild

Blue whales are the largest animals to have ever existed. Learn why they’re larger than any land animal and why they were hunted for years, making them endangered.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Friday, August 3, 2018

The bloody slaughter goes on and on

A sad PETER FROST discovers that despite a little good news the slaughter of whales still continues

IT SEEMS incredible, and very sad, that every year we have to return to the subject of the bloody slaughter of whales and other sea mammals.

Japan, Iceland, and Norway still think it is OK to ignore worldwide public opinion and even the increasing anti-whaling views of their own populations.

One bit of recent news cheered me up a little. Holiday giant Thomas Cook has announced it will stop selling trips to aquariums and animal parks that keep killer whales, orcas, in captivity.

The tourism giant said it had made the decision because more than 90 per cent of its customers were concerned about animal welfare hence they will no longer sell tickets to SeaWorld in Florida and Loro Parque in Tenerife.

“When so many of our customers are so clear in their view, I could not allow our business to ignore them”, Peter Fankhauser CEO of Thomas Cook said.

Less good news has just arrived with the return of the Icelandic whaling fleet after killing a very rare, threatened and supposedly legally protected blue whale.

The Icelanders rushed to find DNA evidence that it was only a blue whale hybrid.

After viewing the photographic evidence of the dead whale being winched aboard the ship most experts agreed the corpse had all the features of the largest animal that has ever existed on Earth. Mottled blue skin, black baleen, tiny hooked dorsal fin — a blue whale.

The Icelandic fleet had resumed its whale hunt in June, after a three-year break caused by the Tokyo government being unhappy with the standard of the meat Iceland was seeking to sell to Japan.

Others suggested that the real reason was that the demand for whale meat in Japan was falling dramatically.

This year Iceland set itself a target of 191 fin whales and early reports suggest it has met this target. Most meat will be heading for the sushi bars of Japan, the Icelanders hope, but the international freight shipping market and many ports refuse to have anything to do with this bloody trade.

A recent poll by Iceland itself shows that even in Iceland support for whaling continues to drop. Only 34 per cent of Icelanders now support continued commercial whaling while another 34 per cent of Icelanders say they are opposed to whaling — 31 per cent say they are neutral.

As recently as five years ago a solid majority of Icelanders supported whaling. A 2013 poll found that 60 per cent of Icelanders supported it, while only 18 per cent opposed it.

Another whaling nation, Norway, hasn’t just continued whaling but has angered environmentalists by provocatively announcing a 28 per cent increase of its annual whaling quota to 1,278 whales.

This despite the fact that in recent years Norway’s whalers have failed to catch the quotas set by Oslo and the number of whaling ships has plummeted.

The Norwegian government hopes that, by raising the quota, more whalers will join the fleet — there were just 11 Norwegian whaling ships in 2017 and that was just half of the previous year’s number.

Norway says it only hunts the minke whale, which it kills using explosive harpoons.

In both Norway and Iceland few people actually eat whale any longer. In Iceland most is consumed by tourists curious to sample the exotic, if contentious, novelty.

Most of the Icelandic whale meat is sold to Japan but over the last few years the Icelandic whalers have had great difficulty finding ships or transit ports prepared to handle the bloody cargo.

Which brings us to Japan itself. When three Japanese whaling vessels returned to port from a controversial trip to Antarctica earlier this year they had caught 333 minke whales. Tokyo claims the slaughter is for scientific purposes.

Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission moratorium on whale hunting but makes use of a loophole that allows the mammals to be killed for scientific research.

Commercial hunting of whales was banned in 1986, but Japan would like to see it permitted once more. Tokyo makes no secret of the fact that slaughtered whales often end up being eaten.

After tiny samples go to the laboratory, the rest ends up on Japan’s dining tables or feeding Japan’s many lap dogs.

Tokyo’s insistence on continuing with whale hunts draws regular protests worldwide and Japanese ships have clashed at sea in the past with animal rights campaigners. This season there appear to have been no such protests at sea.

The most recent hunt killed 120 pregnant female whales among the 333 total. The International Whaling Commission said that apart from the pregnant whales another 114 were immature.

The Japanese proudly displayed pictures of the slaughtered pregnant whales, each slit open to reveal a fully developed foetus.

In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled that the annual whale slaughter programme was for commercial purposes, which is illegal.

The Japanese government scrapped the illegal whaling programme and began a new one in 2015 described as having a scientific purpose, but again it is clearly just a cover to continue whaling for profit.

Even in Japan, eating whale becomes less and less popular. Much of the whale harvest ends up in expensive treats for pet dogs. Still Japan’s legendary pride won’t let it fall in to line with the rest of the world and ban the slaughter of whales forever.

Only a continued political campaign against Iceland, Norway and, most of all, Japan will end this murder forever. Are you playing your part in saving the whale?

Scandinavian whaling already before Viking Age

This video is called North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis).

From Uppsala University in Sweden:

Large-scale whaling in north Scandinavia may date back to 6th century

June 13, 2018

The intensive whaling that has pushed many species to the brink of extinction today may be several centuries older than previously assumed. This view is held by archaeologists from Uppsala and York whose findings are presented in the European Journal of Archaeology.

Museum collections in Sweden contain thousands of Iron Age board-game pieces. New studies of the raw material composing them show that most were made of whalebone from the mid-6th century CE. They were produced in large volumes and standardised forms. The researchers therefore believe that a regular supply of whalebone was needed. Since the producers would hardly have found the carcasses of beached whales a reliable source, the gaming pieces are interpreted as evidence for whaling.

Apart from an osteological survey, species origin has been determined for a small number of game pieces, using ZooMS (short for Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometer). The method shows that all the pieces analysed were derived from the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), a massive whale weighing 50-80 tonnes. It got the name because it was the right whale to hunt: it swam slowly, close to shore, and contained so much blubber as to float after being killed.

Whalebone gaming pieces appear at the same time as production features for blubber and large boathouses were multiplying in northern Norway. The gaming pieces were probably made in this region, from where they were transported south and ultimately used as burial gifts in Sweden.

The origins of large-scale whaling in northern Europe have long been shrouded in mystery. Written sources refer to whaling on a large scale during periods corresponding to the Viking Age in Scandinavia. Ninth-century sagas about the Norwegian merchant Ohthere/Ottar (a guest and informant at the court of King Alfred the Great) mention his extensive hunt for large whales, but these stories have long been controversial as factual sources.

The gaming pieces not only indicate early whaling. To the archaeologists, they are an important component in research on extensive early trading networks. These were well-functioning several centuries before the formation of towns in Viking times. The new study, along with several other archaeological studies over the past few years, shows increasingly substantial exploitation of marine resources, and also of inland resources in northern Scandinavia. In a supplementary in-depth study, the results will also be used to study human influence on the marine ecosystems in relation to whale population trends, since it is now realised that the inception of large-scale whaling took place further back in time than was previously known.

Seventeenth-century Spitsbergen whalers’ inadequate clothes

The whale train oil cookery of the Amsterdam chamber of the Northern Company at Smeerenburg; painting by Cornelis de Man (1639)

In 1614, Dutch whalers established the camp, later village, Smeerenburg on Arctic Amsterdam island close to bigger Spitsbergen island. They especially aimed at killing slow-swimming bowhead whales.

From Groningen University in the Netherlands:

PhD defence Sandra Comis

Excavated Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century whalers’ clothing from Spitsbergen

15 November 2017

A series of archaeological excavations carried out by the Ar[c]tic Centre of the University of Groningen between 1979-1981 uncovered the remains of a Dutch whaling station on Spitsbergen. Hundreds of textile fragments were found in and around the houses and the blubber furnaces, that were exploited from 1614 to around 1600 [sic; 1660]. Amongst the finds were fragments of felt hats, jackets, breeches, stockings and mittens. The men evidently wore their normal winter clothing at work. The remains of textiles were also found in the graves of seven whalers who died during the overwintering attempt of 1634-1635.

In 1980, excavations were also conducted on the island Zeeuwse Uitkijk [now: Ytre Norskøya]. Here the graves of 50 whalers were investigated. The graves contained a total of 33 knitted caps, one fur-brimmed leather cap, eight jackets and four pairs of breeches, either complete or in fragments, as well as several stockings. On the basis of the clothing styles some of the graves can be dated to the period between 1650 to around 1750. This forms the largest collection of workmen’s clothing from this period in Europe.

In an interview with Dutch daily De Volkskrant of 22 November 2017, Ms Comis said these clothes, made for winter in the temperate Netherlands, were wholly inadequate for Arctic Svalbard.

Climate foiled Europeans’ early exploration of North America. ‘A Cold Welcome’ examines how the Little Ice Age and other factors shaped colonial history: here.

Stop Norwegian whaling

This video says about itself:

Norway Whaling: The reality

12 March 2017

Norway hunts minke whales under an ‘objection’ to the International Whaling Commission‘s (IWC) global ban, or moratorium, on commercial whaling. The hunts rely on state subsidies and the government is constantly searching for new markets to exploit, with young people and tourists being major targets. Norway has aggressively fought to retain its right to hunt whales despite it being unnecessary, uneconomical and unquestionably cruel.

From Avaaz.org today:

Dear friends,

In just a few days, Norway will start up a horrific annual tradition — the ruthless slaughter of hundreds of whales. But we’ve got a strategy to say ‘NO WAY!’

Whales are awe-inspiring, beautiful beings. We now know they communicate with each other in song, and experience human-like emotions. But in Norway, every year these amazing creatures are hunted down and killed, then hacked apart to become animal feed and ingredients in beauty products. It’s unbearable.

Norway has managed to slip under the radar as the #1 whale slaughtering country. But if we now rally unprecedented global outrage, we can push Europe to close its ports to Norway’s whalers. We did it with Iceland — let’s do it again! Sign the petition below with one click:

Add your name to say NO WAY! to Norway’s whaling

To the Norwegian government, the European Commission and all leaders of countries that allow Norwegian whale shipments to pass through:

As concerned global citizens we appeal to the Norwegian government to end the whale slaughter, and to all others to close your ports to Norwegian whale meat shipments. Your decision will set precedent that could save thousands of whales, and help stop whaling across Europe.

Add your name to say NO WAY! to Norway’s whaling

Our movement and our partners already got Germany and the Netherlands to move to shut their ports to Icelandic whalers, got a major Icelandic whale hunter badboy to shut down his operations, pressured the International Whaling Commission to clamp down on “scientific whaling”, and helped set a path to have 30% of our oceans protected by 2030.

Norway has got away with this mass murder for too long and the government just announced that it’s intending to double its slaughter quotas! But it is only profitable if they can export, and they rely on European ports to ship their bloody whale meat overseas.

Let’s end Norway’s trade of these magical species. When 1 million of us have joined, Avaaz will pull out all the stops to make this a PR nightmare until every port in Europe rejects them and Norway stops whaling once and for all. Add your name now and tell everyone — let’s turn up the heat to save the whales!

Add your name to say NO WAY! to Norway’s whaling

Momentum is moving towards ending this barbaric slaughter. But it’s the brutal whaling lobby vs. us — we need to sing for the whales as they cannot defend themselves. Let’s make this so loud we can’t be ignored and help end whaling for good.

With hope,

Rewan, Caroline, Diego, Allison, Emma, Danny, Alice and the entire Avaaz team


No fin whales to be hunted in Iceland this summer (The Guardian)

How Norway quietly became a whaling powerhouse (CS Monitor)

90% of Minke Whales Killed in Norway Are Female and ‘Almost All’ Pregnant (EcoWatch)

Norway’s Whaling Program Just Got Even More Controversial (National Geographic)

Frozen in Time – How Modern Norway clings to its whaling past (Ocean Care)

Whales in Britain

This video says about itself:

Two Beautiful Humpback Whales Dance – Animal Attraction – BBC

6 January 2016

Male humpback whales repeat each others’ songs and add to them so they become ever more complex and beautiful, showing off their memory and sheer volume.

By Peter Frost in England:

When the whales came to town

Friday 15th July 2016

PETER FROST fell in love with whales when, as a tiny nipper, his dad took him to London’s Natural History Museum. He is still fascinated by these wonderful, but threatened beasts today

Yet again whales are in the headlines. A 40-foot female sperm whale has been stranded on Perranporth beach in Cornwall and has died on the shore.

Crowds of visitors came to the beach to marvel at the sad sight of the magnificent creature. Just as they did a few months ago when a series of whales were stranded on various English beaches fringing the North Sea.

So what is the fascination with these behemoths of the oceans? They are of course the biggest animals ever to inhabit the Earth. A fully grown blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) can grow up to 100 feet in length and weigh up to 175 tons, making it far larger and heavier than any dinosaur.

When I was a tiny nipper in the 1950s my dad would take me to the Natural History Museum (NHM) in London where I could marvel at the full-size models and giant skeletons hanging high up in the Whale Hall.

Hence they became a lifelong fascination and love affair. I have watched them in Iceland, Norway, New England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Shetland and Orkney. I’ve written about them and campaigned to stop the cruel and unnecessary slaughter still practiced by some nations.

I’ve never watched them in captivity. Whales have no place in a marine zoo or so-called sea-life display. I also try to keep away from whale-watching cruises which in most popular places mean a ring of noisy boats surrounding and disturbing these quiet and gentle creatures.

Watch them from the coast if you possibly can has always been my advice.

I still return occasionally to South Kensington and the NHM where the affair started. The Whale Hall was built in 1938 when Britain was still a major whaling nation and its fleets, mainly in the Antarctic, were a major industry until the 1950s.

About that time whalers decided that the museum’s whales were so popular they wanted to make a few bob from the public’s fascination with these ocean giants for themselves.

In what must have been one of the most macabre travelling shows ever, three dead fin whales, Goliath, Jonah and Hercules, were once on an almost permanent tour of Britain right up until the 1970s. The whales were harpooned in Norway in 1952 and Jonah — the largest at 70 tons — was mounted in a 76-foot purpose-built trailer.

Thousands visited the preserved whales for both education and entertainment. Punters would pay an entrance fee to clamber through the huge whale carcasses strapped on the back of a lorry and parked in car parks and racecourses. The curious show visited The South Bank in London and then York, Coventry, Worcester, Bristol and Plymouth.

Each whale had a doorway cut behind its head. Exit was through a more natural orifice at the other end of the body.

Harpoons and other whaling tools were displayed next to and inside the whales. These almost unbelievable exhibits were initially driven around Europe to promote the whaling industry and the sale of whale meat after WWII.

Later they were purchased by showmen, who gave them their Biblical names.

The whales were crudely preserved, hollowed out and sprayed with formaldehyde and equipped with an internal refrigeration plant. Their insides were illuminated with lanterns.

So where did the three whales end up? Hercules made it as far as Spain before the smell became too overpowering and he had to be disposed of. Goliath finished his days in Italy, and Jonah ended up in long-term cold storage in Belgium.

Even today there are rumours that he is legally owned by a British showman who has plans to resurrect him.

The NHM’s 82 foot female blue whale skeleton is much older as it comes from a animal beached off Wexford, Ireland, in 1891. It was already injured by a whaler before it was washed up. The museum paid £250 for the whale carcass and extracted 630 gallons of oil which helped towards the cost.

The huge decomposing corpse was dumped in the long-established whale pit in the museum grounds at South Kensington and allowed to rot down until the bones could be extracted, cleaned and reassembled as a complete skeleton.

The slow, stinking process of rotting down whales in the pit continued until the 1940s when complaints from locals finally halted the process.

Today the museum has a large whale collection with many remains stored in a London warehouse — a recent addition is the northern bottlenose whale that swam up the Thames in 2006.

The museum still conducts necropsies on the many whale carcasses stranded on Britain’s shores.

Now it has decided to update its whale collection and the massive blue whale skeleton that so impressed me as a kid will be moved to the main entrance hall and from summer 2017 — welcoming visitors as they arrive — and will be rearticulated to a more active pose to look as if it is diving.

It will act as a reminder and a memorial to the 360,000 blue whales that were hunted and killed in the 20th century. Best estimates suggest as few as 15,000 survive, and as these big whales found it hard to recover from whaling because the gene pool was so reduced, the survival of the species is still sadly uncertain.

It will also function as a fitting tribute to the diversity of species with who we share this fragile planet of ours and as a timely reminder of our duty as the supposedly most intelligent species to preserve the rest.

Save whales, stop Japan-European Union trade agreement

Whales, European Union and Japan

From Whales.org:

Don’t let the EU sell out 4000 whales

The EU and Japan are looking to increase trade in goods and services with each other – in other words make loads and loads of money. They are close to signing a new trade agreement.


So called ‘free trade’ deals like this one, and TTP and TTIP, are usually ‘great’ only for small numbers of corporate fat cats, not for most people or the environment.

Even if Japan would agree to stop whaling, then it would still be a rotten deal. It might, eg, force European countries to import radioactive Fukushima food; which the right-wing Japanese government is also trying to force down the throats of Taiwan, South Korea and elsewhere.


A. Japan hunts and slaughters hundreds of whales each year. It wants to kill 4,000 in the Antarctic over the next 12 years!

B. The EU does not support whale hunting. Most of the people in the EU do not support whale hunting!

This is nonsense!

We can’t allow a nice new trade agreement between the ‘whale friendly’ EU and a country like Japan – a country that has just announced that it will ignore an international court ban and kill 333 whales each year for the next 12 years in Antarctica.

Let’s stop the slaughter for good. Ask the EU to use its power and say ‘no new trade agreement until the whaling stops’.

Share our infographic on your web page.

Just copy and paste the code below.

Take action today. Ask the EU Parliament to say ‘no’ to a new trade agreement with Japan until the whaling stops. Please sign our petition today! Visit our campaign page and help us stop end the cruelty of whaling.

Pro-hedgehog beer in Britain

Hedgehog beer

As this picture shows, in Britain there is beer supporting the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

One should hope hedgehogs themselves won’t drink it, though …

Still, this idea is so much better than another brand of beer, connected to much larger mammals than hedgehogs. In Iceland in 2014, there was (I hope: no longer is) beer with butchered fin whale meat ingredients.

Vlieland island beer: here.

Stop whaling by Japan, Norway, Iceland

This video is called The Mystery of Whales: Nature Documentary.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Japan, Iceland and Norway must stop whale hunting

Friday 4th September 2015

David Cameron has to use the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement talks in Tokyo in 10 days’ time to ensure whale protection is put firmly on the agenda, demands PETER FROST

I was surprised and delighted by this pledge but remembering his earlier promise to be the greenest government ever I wasn’t sure it would amount to much. Would it save a single whale, I wondered.

The result of that earlier promise was certainly pretty disappointing. Exactly what I would expect in fact from Cameron, Clegg and the bunch of rich farmers, pheasant-shooters, grouse-breeders, fox-hunters, frackers, bee-poisoners and general despoilers of our green and pleasant land that made up the coalition environment team.

Now the Prime Minister has a chance to prove Frosty wrong.

He and his team will soon be off to Tokyo for trade talks with Japan — discussing the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement.

The 11th round of these trade negotiations was held in July this year in Brussels. The next round of the talks is scheduled for mid-September in Tokyo.

The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed several times his hope of successfully concluding the negotiations by 2016.

This will be the perfect opportunity for Cameron to keep his promise to speak up for whales. He must get the EU side in the talks to make clear their strong objections to the Japanese government-sanctioned whale killings and must make his objections and those of the British people known to the Japanese.

It is obvious that far from being “scientific research,” the Japanese whale hunt is just a commercial harvesting of whale meat.

We need to remind the Japanese that even their domestic market for whale meat is shrinking as more and more of the public reject the habit of eating these monarchs of the ocean.

This reduction in demand means that some whale meat is made into expensive treats for Japan’s pet dogs.

Cameron and his team need to bring these arguments to the table in Toyko. They are the vital bargaining points that could persuade the Japan’s politicians to call off the slaughter thinly disguised as a scientific research programme.

Despite an international moratorium on whaling since 1986 three countries — Japan, Norway and Iceland — have kept up the barbaric slaughter. They still kill 2,000 whales each year, mainly fin, minke, Bryde’s, sei, humpback and sperm whales.

In fact the international whaling industry is in decline and the demand for meat is falling. Substantial government subsidies help keep it going but the demand for the meat is not big enough so much of the whale meat is frozen and stockpiled.

Despite this, the three whale-killing nations are fighting hard to turn the tide and lift the global whaling ban. They want to increase the kill to 4,000 or more whales each year. It’s part of a campaign to get rid of the 30-year-old world ban on killing whales for profit.

Indeed these whaling countries cynically use the success of the moratorium, which they ignored but which has seen a major recovery in whale populations, as an argument to resume full-scale international whaling.

Over 30,000 whales have been killed since the ban came into effect because of loopholes that have allowed some countries to carry on the practice.

The Whaling Commission currently allows Norway to hunt under an objection to the ban and Japan uses a loophole, which allows countries to hunt whales for research purposes.

Iceland claims it is allowed to break the ban also because it left the commission in 1992 but was allowed to rejoin 10 years later under a reservation.

The commission also allows small numbers of whales to be killed by groups of aborigines who claim hunting whales is an important part of their culture and the small number of kills make their particular hunts sustainable.

A particularly grisly form of whale hunting occurs in the Faroe Islands — part of Denmark — where large pods of pilot whales are driven into a shallow bay and killed with knives by men and boys wading in the bloody water.

We need to stop all these cruel practices and allow whales to swim safe and free. If we don’t speak out now the governments in Japan, Norway, Denmark and Iceland could succeed in turning the tide and the seas could become more deadly for whales every year.

Right now, there are thousands of graceful, powerful whales swimming the world’s oceans, singing to each other and forming a vital link in the chain of life that connects us all.

If we are to save them we need to remind Cameron of his promise to speak out for whales. Together, we can make Britain a powerful voice for whale protection once more.

Let’s hope for once in his life Cameron will put his money where his blowhole is.

JAPAN TO START WHALING AGAIN Japan announced its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission next year and will resume commercial hunting in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone. [HuffPost]