Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke has rejected Japan’s recent top-level defense of whaling. He said that Japan has long abandoned any pretence of scientific reasons for whaling and should not even be bringing in culture and tradition into its reasoning for killing the mammals.
Burke is referring to recent comments by Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi who said that whaling is important to the marine food security of Japan and that the attacks against it by other countries and militant conservationists are an attack on Japan’s culture and tradition of whaling. Mr. Hayashi also indicated that Japan will not stop its whaling program, despite these protests and even a claim by Australia at the International Court of Justice that Japan’s scientific whaling is a “sham”. Burke added, ”How absurd has the argument become, if Japan is now arguing that it has a traditional cultural practice of travelling from one side of the planet to the other to kill whales in a whale sanctuary.”
Japan’s whaling program received a boost when a US Court severely criticized the tactics of Sea Shepherd in dealing with the whaling fleets. A panel of three judges led by the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals chief judge, Alex Kozinski said that their methods are the ”very embodiment of piracy”. The whaling fleet and Sea Shepherd were involved in an incident last Monday where the two sides accused each other of ramming its vessels.[ via Canberra Times ]