Japan fails in pro-whaling push, but still makes gains

Four proposals widely viewed as steps toward a resumption of commercial whaling were defeated this weekend at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission. Animal-rights activists, enviros, and other folks opposed to the needless killing of large, intelligent mammals expressed relief; pro-whaling Japan had come close to garnering enough support to start demolishing the international whaling ban. However, Japan and supporters did manage to pass a symbolic resolution saying that the moratorium is temporary and unnecessary. The resolution was put forward by six Caribbean nations, which said whales eat lots of fish and thereby put their peoples’ food supplies at risk; anti-whaling forces dismissed that argument. Japan has been accused of using foreign aid to entice small and developing countries to join the IWC and vote the pro-whaling line. A move to overturn the moratorium would need approval from 75 percent of IWC member nations.