Australians Attack Japanese Whaling
June 26, 2013

Australians Attack Japan’s ‘Scientific’ Whaling Practices In International Court

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

Australia stood up at the United Nation's highest court on Wednesday and defended the largest mammals on Earth.

Representatives argued before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague that Japan's excuse to hunt whales for "scientific" purposes is nothing more than a disguise to simply hunt whales. Australia argued that Japan is exploiting a loophole by continuing to hunt whales as "scientific research" in spite of a 1986 International Whaling Commission ban on commercial whaling.

"Japan seeks to cloak its commercial whaling under the labcoat of science," one of Australia's lawyers in the case, Bill Campbell, told the court in a case that activists say is crucial for the giant marine mammals' future, according to a report by AFP.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Campbell asked the court to consider the consequences if the other 88 member states of the International Convention of the Regulation of Whaling conducted whaling on the same scale as Japan. Japan takes up to 935 minke whales in the Antarctic each year, so if every member state did the same, a total of 83,215 minke whales would be killed per year.

"If one took Japan's view of the convention this would be entirely permissible. Of course, the consequences of taking 83,215 minke whales a year would be catastrophic for the minke whale population but in Japan's view would be legal," Campbell told the court. "In short, Japan seeks to cloak its ongoing commercial whaling in the lab coat of science."

He pointed out that the court meeting had an opportunity to decide for the world what did and did not constitute scientific activity.

Japan's delegation leader, Deputy Foreign Minister Koji Tsuruoka, defended the country's right to hunt whales, calling Australia's claim "invalid."

"Japan’s research whaling has been conducted for scientific research in accordance with international law," Tsuruoka said in a statement. "Japan places great importance on international legal order and the rule of law as a basis of the international society. Japan will participate in the proceedings before the ICJ with utmost sincerity."

According to the Huffington Post, Australian Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson pointed out to the judges that no other nation has found the need to engage in lethal scientific research on anything like this scale.

Next, Australia plans to bring an American mathematician to battle on the whales' behalf. The country will be utilizing the University of Southern California’s fisheries stock assessment expert Marc Mangel to battle Japan's argument for scientific whaling.

Research by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) found that Japan's whaling industry is being backed by government money. The report found that annual government subsidies for Japanese whaling averaged at around $9.78 million, but in 2011 increased to around $28.55 million.