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World conservation congress calls for end to Japanese ‘scientific’ whale hunts

Japanese whale hunting has been dealt a further blow after the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN – a global nature conservation organisation) called on Japan’s government to end its ‘scientific’ whale hunts.

The IUCN passed a motion denouncing the killing of whales for research purposes at its World Conservation Congress this week, a meeting held every four years. The vast majority of the organisation’s 1,300 experts also went further, calling on all states to refrain undertaking any research that involves the killing of whales.

The IUCN Congress brings together scientists and environmental professionals from over 170 countries and is the most recent influential body to criticise Japanese research hunting.

The Scientific Committee at the International Whaling Commission (IWC – the body that regulates whale hunting) recently looked at Japan’s research whaling and concluded that it was not scientifically justified. In addition, the Japanese government has continued to ignore a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that ordered Japan’s scientific whale hunts in the Antarctic to stop on the grounds that they offered little scientific value.

WDC’s CEO, Chris Butler-Stroud, welcomed the news. “Whales play an integral role in the ecosystem, making nutrients available for the ocean’s primary producers who photosynthesize the air that we breathe. There are no thresholds of removal that we should consider sustainable and we applaud the actions of this international body of world leaders and international scientists and NGOs for calling for an end to this cruel and unsustainable hunt. The continued loss of whales from human causes is ultimately our loss and it needs to stop.”