Whales are warm blooded aquatic mammals and the largest creatures on earth. There are about 80 species of Whale, the magnificent Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) being regarded the largest animal that has lived on this planet ever! They are some of the most awe inspiring creatures alive! Whales are also considered highly intelligent, research suggesting they have brain cells previously only found in humans and other higher primates! The preservation of such unique intelligent and amazing creatures for future generations must be a priority!
Archaeological evidence suggests that Stone Age people were hunting Whales for food as long ago as 2,200 B.C. They hunted slow-swimming, coastal species such as the Bowhead (Balaena mysticetus), Grey (Eschrichtius robustus) and Right Whales (Eubalaena glacialis, Eubalaena australis, and Eubalaena japonica). This subsistence hunting is still practised by some societies such as the Inuit people of North America and Greenland, where the Whale plays an important part in the people’s survival as well as being deeply imbedded in their local culture. These practices are far removed from the commercial whaling industry methods that were first developed in the seventeenth century, evolving into the highly sophisticated but still barbaric practices used today such as the use of sonar, helicopters, and long range explosive harpoons.
So sophisticated did this hunting become that whale species numbers plummeted dramatically, until finally in 1948 the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling was created and the International Whaling Commission was established. Today, the International Whaling Commission has 85 member states, including whaling countries, former whaling countries, and countries that have never had whaling industries but joined to have a voice in the conservation of whales.
However, the whaling nations of Japan, Norway and Iceland retain politically influential whaling industries that wish to carry on whaling on as large a scale as possible. All three countries are exploiting loopholes in the Whaling Convention in order to kill nearly 2,000 whales each year despite the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling.
Norway hunts whales under its objection to the convention, and Japan has been whaling under the guise of supposedly carrying out “scientific research“. Iceland joined the International Whaling Commission with a formal objection to the convention in 2002 and, although claiming they would not undertake commercial whaling before 2006, immediately began another suspect “scientific whaling” program.
I really struggle to fathom that in this so called enlightened modern age, three so seemingly ‘developed’ countries still persist in cruelly hunting Whales! It is easy to feel helpless as an individual against changing Government policy, but there is a simple way to make your feelings clear, and as the proverb goes “large streams from little fountains flow, and tall oaks from little acorns grow” so do your bit by showing your outrage at the continued commercial Whaling in the world!
Follow the link below and sign the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) petition to stop whaling and create ocean sanctuaries for Whales to live in safety!
IFAW STOP WHALING NOW!
Check out this stunning footage of Whales in the wild to realise what we are at risk of losing!
Persistent, sustained public pressure can be a powerful influence on democratic process – it is perhaps only continued international protest, aimed particularly at those few countries still insisting on Whaling, which will hopefully ensure Whales remain protected and therefore preserved for generations to come.