Thursday, April 22, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Whale Hunting May Soon Reach Its Final Days

By Chris Brancato

Whale hunting has been a tradition throughout the world for hundreds of years. As a supply for nourishment and outerwear, whale meat and skin has been capitalized on extensively – especially in countries like Japan, Norway and Iceland. But as time has progressed, humanity and ethical issues have brought this subject matter into much debate, especially over the past few decades and now, the United States is pushing strongly on a new bid to lower the rate of whale hunting and ultimately, end the practice once and for all.

Through the 88-nation International Whaling Commission, a compromise deal is being drawn out that would allow the three countries aforementioned to continue whale hunting for the next ten years, but in much more limited numbers. To help execute such negotiations, operations would be heavily monitored through the use of tracking devices on whaling ships and participation in a whale DNA registry to track global trade in whale products, reports the New York Times.

Though completely ending whale hunting on an international basis is the International Fund For Animal Welfare’s number one goal, it seems to be that some countries are not prepared or willing to abide with such demands, at least at this time in point.

With whale killings rising from 300 in 1990 to nearly 1,700, many believe that now is the most opportune time to alter these traditions before extinction becomes even more of a prevalent concern.

The terms of the compromise would entail the three whaling countries to cut roughly half of their whale harvest that would result in saving roughly 5,000 whales over the next ten years. It also details that no new countries would be able to take whales and that whale ships would be monitored by the whaling commission and all whale products would be banned internationally.

Additionally, whale hunters would have to report the time of death and means of killing of all whales, while also providing a DNA sample of every whale killed to the central registry to help track the end use of the dead animals.

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