Bowing to international outrage, Russia last week agreed to stop commercial whaling. A few days previously, a Russian ship carrying the meat of 36 beluga whales had arrived in Japan, the first time in 13 years that international trade in whales had been conducted. But when word of the sale leaked out, the U.S. government joined international environmental groups in calling for an immediate halt to Russia’s whale hunt. Belugas, relatively small whales in size, are not protected under an international ban on the commercial hunting of large whale species, but until now whaling nations had observed a moratorium on commercial hunting of all smaller whale species.

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