Thursday 27 December 2018

Japan Resumes Whaling

The killing of whales for product consumption was banned across the globe in 1986 because so many whales were being slaughtered that they risked extinction. This is a subject I have been examining in detail because the subject of whaling comes up in my new novel Roswell Redeemed- Humanity After Disclosure, see: Ever since the moratorium by the International Whaling Commission, several countries have expressed a discontent with the total ban. The most vociferous of these has been Japan. Ever since 1986 it has continued to kill a certain number of whales for what it called "scientific research" although it then goes on to sell the meat on the market, a traditional Japanese delicacy. On Boxing Day Yoshihide Suga, a spokesman for its whaling industry, announced that Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019 within its own territorial waters. It believes that the numbers of some whale species have recovered enough to justify "a sustainable harvesting" of them. Japan also claims the "aboriginal subsistence" exemption to the IWC ban; this means that whaling is such a vital part of its indigenous history and culture that it would be an attack on its heritage to stop it. The thing is, every nation could say the same thing because whaling has been carried out since prehistoric times. I joked on Twitter that we could at least prevent other countries from following Japan into defying the moratorium on the grounds of cultural appropriation. Source:

The truth is, there is no justification for whaling. By the way, "whale hunting" is a misnomer in the modern world. The battles between men in small boats versus whales that could bite their legs off, as described in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, are long gone. Today there is no hunt. The whaling crews operate with the same impunity as abattoir staff. Whales are shot from point-blank range with explosive harpoons by ships that can sail faster than any of them can swim. They bleed to death and are dragged into the bowels of huge factory ships that process the carcass at sea. The products that the whale provided in the 19th century were primarily oil and bone. These are now obsolete since the use of petroleum and plastics took over the world. The economic impact of ceasing commercial whaling can be alleviated with subsidies for the conversion of vessels and the retraining of their crews. The majority of whale meat consumed in Japan was during World War II when the island nation was under siege. Whaling was the only way to prevent the people staving. When the whaling industry began, almost nothing was known about whales. They were regarded as little more than giant air-breathing fish. Since then we have found out that whales are highly intelligent and sensitive creatures. They live in tightly bonded family and community groups that resemble human societies. This alone makes it highly unethical to harm them. The claims by people like Stefan Molyneux, that they are just like "swimming doggies", is completely false, see: Perhaps the positive vibes that the whales bring into the world is why the Elite want them dead. Also scientists now know that whales play a vital role in marine ecology and the maintenance of a stable food chain. Take them away and life as we know it in the oceans would collapse; this would result in the same happening to life on land, including humans. As Heathcote Williams poignantly points out is his classic poem Whale Nation, in ancient Greece killing a whale or dolphin carried the death penalty; perhaps it still does for us all. The poem has been dramatized into a TV programme and I recommend watching it, although you'll probably only be able to do so once, as I can: I find the idea of killing whales utterly obscene. It is unjustifiable under any circumstances. Excuse the spoiler, but in Roswell Redeemed, a worldwide ban on whaling is imposed and the navy ends up taking action against whaling ships that breach the ban. I wish that would happen in real life.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't you go to Japan and put a stop to this? The new book is great by the way.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks, Anon. As for doing something to stop whaling. I'm working on that. See an upcoming article.