Whale Wars, Part XXII: Japan Targets Humpback Whales
The apparently insatiable Japanese appetite for whale meat is driving yet another Japanese whaling expedition to the South Pacific. This time, Japan is planning to hunt the much more endangered humpback whales. Japan is apparently hunting these whales under Article VIII of the Protocol to the International Whaling Convention:
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Convention any Contracting Government may grant to any of its nationals a special permit authorizing that national to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research…
Australia and New Zealand have long opposed these hunts and have accused Japan of blatantly abusing this exception. This year, the new Labor Australian government (not yet elected, but a shoo-in next week supposedly) has promised to dispatch military surveillance planes to track the Japanese whaling fleet. Apparently, this would be part of its fact-gathering for an eventual lawsuit in some international tribunal. Of course, the Japanese won’t announce when they will begin their hunt. Let the pre-litigation discovery begin!