Is Whaling Humane? Essay

2061 words - 8 pages

Introduction

Whaling has become a global environmental issue as vast numbers of whales are killed commercially and scientifically every year. Intense debate on the necessity of whaling has been stirred but failed to be resolved due to the lacking of pragmatic measures employed by the responsible parties. Whaling nations continue to defend their whaling right for cultural and research purposes. Yet, ethical and humanity issues are among the controversial disputes raised by concerned public. In February 2010, International Whaling Commission (IWC) proposed a plan of lifting whaling ban by limiting scientific whaling activities with the intention of reducing overall number of whales killed besides solving the current impasse between pro and anti-whaling nations (Yamaguchi 2010). Statistics has revealed that 31,000 whales have been killed for commercial purposes while 12, 000 whales hunted lethally under scientific research since 1986. This leads to a critical extinction faced by Antarctic blue whales and Pacific gray whales (Tinch 2009). After series of negotiations, Japanese government finally decides to compromise by reducing the whale catch quota for annual research hunts with the condition of resuming commercial whaling (Yamaguchi 2010). However, one of the anti-whaling nations, Australia, has voiced out a strong disagreement and planned to take international legal action to cease whaling research (Yamaguchi 2010). Consequently, all the arguments above eventually lead to the investigation question:

“Should whaling ban be lifted?”

The three basic areas of investigation include
• Background of whaling
• Arguments for the lifting of whaling ban
• Arguments against the lifting of whaling ban

Sources in this investigation comprise of printed and electronic journals, books, newspapers, assessment reports, internet articles, videos and magazines.

1.0 Background
To provide an overview of the whaling dispute, definition of whaling activities and moratorium will be explained in details, complementary with the overall history of whaling activities in various nations.

1.1 Definition of whaling
Whaling is defined as hunting and killing of whales by humans for resources, mainly meat, blubber and baleen (whalebone) obtained from whales. These resources are then sold for commercial purposes and thus, whaling has become economical important for centuries (Joanne 2007; The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 2007). Scientific whaling is conducted by hunting whales for research purposes and further analysis to study on whale’s behaviour, characteristics and distribution (Joanne 2007). Commercial whaling is a controversial whaling practice that exploits whale products for trade and profit. Recently, Japan, Norway and Iceland are the major contributors of commercial whaling and deeply support any other whaling activities (Joanne 2007). Moratorium on commercial whaling 1986 is a global ban of hunting whales for commercial purposes,...

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