Whaling refers to the act of hunting and killing whales for various purposes. The Japanese have been hunting whale for their meat ever since the 8th century A.D. Their techniques have since been refined and the Japanese are the foremost whale hunters in our modern world. A lot of controversy has sparked up over this issue of Japanese whaling. Many anti-whalers claim that the Japanese are indiscriminately hunting down the whales in order to serve profits for the country. The many Japanese whalers deny this and say that they do whaling for scientific purpose. In any case, Japanese whalers hunt kill hundreds of whales each year. This is having a very bad effects on both the environment as well as the society as Japanese whaling expeditions are working to eradicate many whale species, and this is causing militants branded as 'environmental terrorist' to be formed.
The Japanese whaling expeditions are known for their indiscriminate killing of thousands of whales. A fleet of whale hunters recently killed more than a thousand whales in a single expedition. Most of these were minke whales, but the kills also included such endangered whales as the fin whales and the humpback whales (Greenpeace). This is something that is of great concern to many people and environmentalists around the world. They are scared that Japanese whalers may in fact be responsible for completely exterminating certain species of whales, such as the humpback, which are already on the endangered list. Interestingly enough, it is believed that there is only one purely white humpback whale alive in the world today, and many people fear that the current Japanese whaling expedition may kill her too. This would be a great loss for the world, as we would lose the only white whale that exists in the world today.
Another very interesting effect of Japanese whaling is that it has irked many different kinds of groups around the world. These anti-whaling groups openly protest against Japanese whaling fleets. The Japanese, however, are adamant and they refuse to stop their whaling activities. This has led to the anti-whalers to get aggressive and such groups have worked to threaten the Japanese whaling fleets through various sabotage efforts and physical attacks. Since most of the Japanese whaling takes place in oceans that are close to New Zealand and Australia, most of these 'environmental militants' stem from these two countries. Last year, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an Australian 'militant environmentalist group,' threatened to ram the Japanese fleet with a ship fitted with a bulldozer-type blade. The group has been branded environmental terrorists by Tokyo (Squires).
The Japanese whalers argue that they are doing the whaling for scientific research. They refute all claims of the environmentalists and say that the only reason for their whaling expedition is for the sake of scientific research. Most of the environmentalists disagree. They do not believe that whale hunting is any sort of a science and the International Whaling Commission has concluded that any data that the whalers gathers is not helpful in any way, and all the data that is collected by killing the whales can also be collected by non-lethal means (Greenpeace).
We see that Japanese whaling is having many negative effects on the whole. First, it is endangering the already endangered species of whales that can be found in nature. And second, it is having negative effects on the society by encouraging the formation of militant groups. The Japanese whalers claim that they are doing all of this in the name of science, but it has been proven that the data can also be collected without having to kill the whales.
Greenpeace, “Whalers Depart Japan: Humpbacks to be Hunted,” Greenpeace International. Available online: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/whalers-depart-181107
Squires, Nick, “Japan May Kill World's Only White Whale,” Telegraph.co.uk. Available online: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/11/12/eawhale112.xml