T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruellest month, but among Antarcticans that month would have to be November in these times. For it is in November Japanese whalers set off on their cruel and brutal slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean. The Southern Ocean is part of the Antarctic -- (*to be pedantic, the Antarctic is the region south of 66 degrees south; Antarctica is the continent...) and this is part of our Last Great Wilderness. Like any wilderness, the idea is all who live there are left alone to be wild and free -- whales included.
So. It was with despair I looked at the Reuters story on this year's planned cull.
The Japanese plan to take 850 minke whales and 50 fin whales. Greenpeace, God love 'em, is not going on chase duty this year. This year they are working the legal system to stop this slaughter. Meanwhile, the Sea Shepherds, a renegade activist group, will set off from Australia in pursuit.
Any bright spots in all this? In 2007, the Japanese were thwarted in their quest for our beloved humpback whales. Too much protest from the United States. Wondering what you can do? Check out what the experts have to say:
No one in the world believes the Japanese argument that they are hunting whales under the auspices of a "cetacean research program." Everyone believes they kill them to eat them. What we need to hope for is the younger generation in Tokyo and elsewhere will evolve away from this taste for whale meat -- as they have for things like herring roe.
Next up: Stories on close encounters with whales from my voyages to Antarctica.
Causes Leslie Roberts Supports
Environmental causes of all stripes