By Nisarg Tripathi:
Bill Vaughn has rightly said “The whale is endangered while the ant continues to do just fine.” The biggest creature on earth is on the verge of extinction and who’s responsible for this? It’s none other than the ever hungry and cruel humans. Whaling is the act of killing the whales for food and oil, a sin well passed on by our ancestral beings as old as 3000 B.C. Whaling is carried out in countries like Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Russia and the United States.
1200 whales are being hunted every year of which 650 whales are hunted only in Japan in the name of scientific research. Statistics by the Green Peace International reveal that the blue whales of the Antarctic have depleted to as low as 1% of their original population, the humpback whales to a mere 20000 and least of them all, the West Pacific grey whale with a population of just a few 100 remaining. Whaling is not only harmful for the whales but also for the humans. The consumption of whale meat is very harmful to the human body due to its contamination with organochlorines such as the PCB’s and pesticides which lead to reproductive problems.
To solve this problem an International Whaling Commission (IWC) was set up on 2nd December 1946 to provide proper conservation of whale stocks and to maintain an orderly functioning of the whaling industry. The 2010 meeting of IWC was held in Morocco where representatives from 88 member nations gathered to discuss the pros and cons of lifting the 24 year ban on commercial whaling. Whaling in all forms must be prohibited and opposed to maintain a proper balance of the oceanic ecosystem.
The corrupt practices adopted by the Japanese were openly exposed by 2 Greenpeace activists namely Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki which led to their arrest soon after. This led to a major uprising among the people to free them which they call an act of injustice towards humanity. This campaign to release the activists was led by Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Betty Williams. To stop this act of illegal cruelty a mass movement and media attention is necessary. Some steps that we can take on our part to contribute towards saving the whales and hence saving the oceans are:-
Animal Planet’s famous television show Whale Wars places cameras aboard the ships of the Sea Shepherd Conservation society which track down Japanese Whaling program. The Sea Shepherd claims that the countries in IWC, who should be enforcing the law to curb whaling are themselves involved in earning money at the whale’s expense. You would be shaken to know that 7 of the 13 whale species are endangered. Now I want to pose this question to all of mankind “is it right to kill whales just because it is your prehistoric and cultural birth right?”