The International Whaling Commission will gather this Friday in St. Kitts for its annual meeting. For 20 years now, Japan and other pro-whaling nations have done everything in their power to convince the IWC to reverse the whaling moratorium it set back in the ’80s.
What remains a mystery is why Japan is so obsessed with the resumption of whaling. Recent polls suggest that fewer than half of Japanese people have ever tried whale meat, and just 1% eat it regularly. Over 2,000 supermarkets have stopped selling it in the last few years, due to lack of demand.
Regardless of the motivation, Japan has been unsuccessful at garnishing the votes it needs to resume whaling. So it’s done the next best thing: recruited the votes it needed to join the IWC.
In recent years Japan has encouraged at least 19 countries to join the commission and support expanded whaling. This year, assuming all the countries show and pay their dues, the whaling nations should have a majority. Fortunately, a majority just isn’t good enough to overturn the whaling. That would take three-fourths of the vote and a lot more recruitment by Japan. However, a simple whaling majority could force some big changes, like stopping the IWC from controlling the welfare and killing methods of whales (yes, whales are being killed in the name of “science” despite the ban — but that’s for another blog…).