Forty nations condemn Japan’s “scientific” whale hunt

The International Whaling Commission has been meeting in Anchorage this week, and as always, Japan is making a splash. Yesterday saw fierce debate over a resolution condemning that country’s “scientific hunt,” in which it’s allowed to kill about 1,000 Antarctic whales. The resolution, sponsored by New Zealand, ultimately passed by a vote of 40-2 — but Japan and 26 other countries angrily abstained. “I find [this resolution] extremely disturbing, vexatious, and in some ways irrelevant,” said one commissioner. “It is frivolous, devoid of action, and meaningless.” Apparently deemed less frivolous was a resolution condemning at-sea protests that risk human life and property; that one, aimed at groups like Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd, passed easily. (Greenpeace maintains that its protests are peaceful.) Today, IWC will decide whether to allow four coastal Japanese communities to hunt in the name of subsistence. The odds look slim, with opponents claiming it’s just a thinly veiled commercial catch.