Say "No" to Japan's Plan to Kill Humpback Whales

Famous for serenading the seas with their haunting melodies, the humpback whale has been protected since 1966, when it was on the brink of extinction from commercial whaling. But a new threat has emerged, as media reports indicate that Japan is now seeking to resume commercial whaling of humpbacks, defying international agreements and sanctuaries under the guise of "scientific research."

Using a loophole that allows whales to be killed for scientific study, more than 25,000 whales have been killed since a worldwide ban on commercial whaling was passed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986. Yet it's unnecessary to kill whales in order to study them, since non-lethal alternatives already exist. What's worse, some whales remain alive up to an hour after a harpoon explodes inside them. These cruel methods, first employed over a hundred years ago, are still used today.

At the International Whaling Commission meeting beginning June 20th, the world will vote on Japan's outrageous proposal to hunt humpback whales. Several countries remain undecided and are very sensitive to external opinion. With a little pressure, they can be swayed to protect the whales and stop Japan from slaughtering them.

That's why it's critical we tell the Swiss, Danish, Chinese and South Korean Ambassadors in our countries to oppose Japan's plan to kill endangered humpback whales - before it's too late.

UPDATE: We are thrilled to report that on June 22, 2005, by a strong majority vote member countries of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) rejected a proposal put forward by the Government of Japan to resume commercial whale hunting, which has been banned by the IWC since 1986. 29 countries voted against the Japanese proposal, 23 countries voted for it and 5 countries abstained from the vote.

Disappointingly, however, at the same meeting Japan announced plans to double its annual catch of minke whales to 935 from 440 and up to 50 larger fin and humpback whales to the list within a few years under its new so-called "scientific research" program. The program is widely viewed as a cover for a limited amount of commercial whaling.

Dear Ambassador,

I am deeply opposed to Japan's plan to slaughter humpback and other whales in the name of "scientific research," especially when it defies international agreements and violates protected sanctuaries and species. I urge you to support the Conservation Committee of the International Whaling Commission and to reject Japan's proposal to expand its cruel whale hunt to include humpback and fin whales.

Not only does whaling inflict painful suffering to whales, it is not needed for research purposes. It is obvious to the rest of the world that the whaling Japan conducts for 'scientific' reasons is nothing but commercial whaling in disguise. The International Whaling Commission and leading scientists have repeatedly called on Japan to stop this abuse of a loophole in the International Convention on Whaling. By continuing to kill whales in the name of science, Japan is not meeting its international treaty obligations in good faith.

It is long past time for the Japanese government to abide by the wishes of the international community that supports whale conservation measures such as whale watching, which is both more economically viable and sustainable. Please tell Japan to end this outrageous act of cruelty to whales immediately.

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