News and updates from the continent


Finally – good news for whales

Finally – good news for whales

Apr 9, 2014

In a massive victory for global campaigns against whale hunting, a UN court ruling has stopped Japan from undertaking its annual whale hunt. The court found the program to be a commercial activity, rather than the “gathering of scientific data” the Japanese have insisted it is.

Tokyo said it will honour the recent judgement by the international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague, but would not exclude the possibility of future whaling programs. With the backing of New Zealand, Australia brought Japan before the ICJ in 2010 in a bid to end the annual Southern Ocean hunt after Tokyo used a legal loophole in the 1986 ban on commercial whaling by suggesting the mammals’ slaughter was for “scientific research”.

The country has long held that its JARPA II research program was aimed at “studying the feasibility of whale hunting”. The ICJ, however, found that Japan had not looked into undertaking this type of research without killing the mammals.

According to reports, Japanese foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said Japan “regrets and is deeply disappointed” by the decision. Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s whale programme Patrick Ramage said: “The ruling has implications ultimately for whaling by Iceland and Norway as well. I think it will increase pressure on those two countries to re-examine their own whaling practices and the various reasons and pretexts given for that whaling activity.”

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