The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is proposing to reverse its own 24-year ban on commercial whaling so that whaling for profit would again be legal, including in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The measure is presented as an attempt to better regulate illegal whaling by Japan, Norway and Iceland but it is misguided; it is even a logical absurdity, to kill whales to save whales.
All marine mammals, but especially all cetaceans—the whales and dolphins—are warm-blooded, social, intelligent, sentient creatures, our closest counterparts in the sea. We share many traits with bottlenose dolphins and orcas and it has even been proposed that dolphins be accorded the legal status of “non-human persons” because of their similarities to people and their need for protection.
The IWC does not regulate small cetaceans, like dolphins, but they and the larger whales are suffering from the same environmental problems, and the cost to capture and kill them makes them a luxury food item, not a staple product to prevent human starvation.
But there is even a more personal problem: they are potentially poisonous to consume. The mercury content in dolphins caught and sold for food in Japan is hazardous to human health, and the PBDE content (toxic flame retardants) in some orca populations is so high that the consequences are unknown. We have to be suspect of the larger whales as well.
All whales and dolphins share the challenge of a rapidly changing and unpredictable ocean environment brought on by climate change. If any action were to be taken by the IWC, it would be both more prudent and philosophically correct to apply immediate and burdensome sanctions on any country in violation of the existing whaling moratorium.
Help us get back to saving whales by not killing them.
Please take action by voicing your opinion to President Obama to keep his pre-election promise to “ensure the U.S provides leadership in enforcing wildlife protection agreements, including strengthening the international ban on commercial whaling.”
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