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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Should the whaling ban be lifted?
Whale's tail

Is it acceptable to hunt whales?

A bid to resume commercial whaling has been rejected by the International Whaling Commission.

The main whaling nations - Norway, Iceland and Japan - argue that hunting some species is now sustainable.

The current international agreement permits some whales to be killed for scientific research and isolated arctic communities are allowed to catch a small number of whales for their subsistence needs.

Do you agree with the IWC decision? Should the whaling ban should be lifted? Do whales deserve special conservation measures?

We discussed whaling in our global phone-in Talking Point on Sunday 26 June.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Since whales have been on the planet longer than us, the way I see it is they have more of a right to be here than we do. Keep the ban in place or we may find that future generations will be asking their parents and teachers what a whale was.
Michelle, Peterborough, UK

I would have no problem with the Japanese taking whales for research, so long as they signed on the dotted line that not one of them would end up being eaten. This only proves that they are not really serious about the science.
Ross Walker, Melbourne Australia

I'm 100% against the hunting of whales. Whales have the right to live on this planet exactly as we do. That's why, it's our responsibility to protect those animals which complete an important chain in the biological system we are living in.
Firas Al-Kabbani, Dubai, UAE

Norway, Iceland and Japan are helping us in a positive way
Joses Sanga, Honiara, Solomon Islands
Small island states depend on fish for their economy and food. What happens if the small fish around South Pole, Australia and New Zealand are in short supply? The obvious thing is for these big animals to migrate to the equator and start competing with human beings. By the time we realise it all our small fish will be gone. Islands in the Pacific do not have the ability to keep the whale population from its small fish stocks. So Norway, Iceland and Japan are helping us in a positive way.
Joses Sanga, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Can't we just leave these beautiful creatures in peace? Hunting nations argue that 'hunting some species is sustainable'. Famous last story! Live and let live I say.
Nicola Courtney, The Hague, The Netherlands

There never should have been a complete ban on commercial whaling. A scaling back, yes, but as the whaling population recovers, the ban should be lifted. Too many so-called environmentalists believe that these bans should last "forever" - nonsense!
Tom Coffey, Hartford, USA

Before we criticise the Japanese we should ensure the EU stops killing dolphins with its fishing methods.
Ian Baldwin, Buntingford, England

The cultural argument is bogus
Axel, Charlotte, USA
For one thing, the cultural argument is bogus; Japan is quite a modern country, especially in food culture, and younger Japanese that I have met never tasted whale meat. With the introduction of whale burger, maybe they will try for the "cool" of it.
Axel, Charlotte, USA

It's unfortunate that sea life and mammals in general are hunted. I wish all forms of sport hunting were banned. Why do we feel less if a deer is shot by a hunter, but, if a whale is killed, that is wrong, and protested? We still have not clearly made the distinctions that killing for pleasure is wrong? To sustain life is one thing, done humanely as all life is important, but to kill for sport and fun, no thanks!
Robyn, USA

I notice a lot of people mention farm animals when they talk about how it's okay to kill whales. I am of the opinion that an animal that is being husbanded and kept in special surroundings where it is safe from all other predators is in a different category than whales which are at the mercy of the elements and other natural killers. I also think that scientific research would be much more useful done on living animals rather than dead ones. How can we know how an animal lives if we kill it first?
Jessie, Toronto, Canada

Leave the whales to the Inuit on a controlled basis. Allow these magnificent whales the opportunity to flourish so all mankind may enjoy their beauty and splendid grace.
J. Baillon, Phoenix , AZ, USA

The whaling ban should be strengthened! Global warming and the effect of massive pollution of the oceans are just beginning to show their effects. Whale populations must be allowed to grow as much as possible since the effects of climate change are just starting.
Steve Slater, Haiku, HI, USA

Whales seem to be surviving at current levels. Ban should continue as they are, or if not be doubled. Seas are polluted in many ways; whales may be just surviving, not thriving. Populations should be monitored for at least another decade before lifting whaling bans.
Lucy Boyce, Port Matilda, PA U.S.A.

I don't hear many people complaining about the way Halal or Kosher butchers operate
Chris Pook, Plymouth

As a marine biologist who has studied the arguments for and against whaling I think the ban should be lifted. Nations who have a historic association with whaling for survival should be allowed to retain such a large part of their culture. As for the arguments regarding ethics I don't hear many people complaining about the way Halal or Kosher butchers operate.

In addition the moratorium on whaling is deeply flawed as it concentrates protection on a handful of well known species whilst other smaller cetacean species are vulnerable to continued fishing effort without any protection; a situation which has driven many species to the brink of extinction, such as Dall's porpoise. Management programs should be based on sound science and nothing else.
Chris Pook, Plymouth, UK

Ban or no ban, whaling continues. On my last trip to Norway (as on most of my trips to Norway) I ate whale meat. I like it. As someone else pointed out, pigs are also intelligent, yet few people are demanding a ban on killing pigs, and many food animals are far more beautiful as well. So, if you don't want to eat whale meat, then don't, but please don't tell me or anyone else what we are allowed to eat.
Tom O'Hara, Lugano, Switzerland

Caution argues for maintaining or even strengthening the ban
John Byrd, Durango, Colorado
The pro-whaling group seems to argue that there is a level of whaling that could occur today that would maintain populations at their current level. But that assumes that current whale populations are appropriate. Given the impact of whaling up to the ban in 1986 it is hard to believe that whale populations are anywhere near what the eco-system can support or what is ideal for the indefinite survival of whales.

Until we know a lot about whale reproduction, growth and susceptibility to natural events, a sustainable harvest target cannot be developed without putting whale populations at risk. Since an error in setting a 'sustainable' harvest target could do irreversible harm (i.e., extinction) caution argues for maintaining or even strengthening the ban.
John Byrd, Durango, Colorado, USA

I can't understand why some people are saying that Inuits should have the right to hunt whale, but no-one else. I am undecided on the issue, but surely there should be one rule for everyone?
Tom, Japan

Many Japanese citizens actually don't know about this issue. It's never covered in the TV news or in Japan newspapers. I'm so disappointed with the Japanese government. I hope in the future there will be no catching whales. We don't need that old style, we can remember old culture without practising it. Please make your voices louder because the Japanese government is a little bit deaf.
Kana Ohsako, Tokyo, Japan

People should focus on scientific discussion about sustainability, not on emotional and subjective claims about whales' beauty or on fishy myths concerning their intelligence. It is incomprehensible that people who strongly condemn whaling do not seem to be particularly opposed to hunting and sports fishing, which are about killing animals just for fun and provide animals with much longer pain than whaling does.
Jun, Tokyo, Japan

"Whaling as a tradition" is no reason to resume it. Through modern life so many traditions have been given up. When there are no more whales left, the tradition dies anyway. Better give it up now.
Rolf Lattmann, Mombasa, Kenya

The IWC meeting in South Korea is a clash of 'food' cultures
T Joensen, Faroe Islands
The whaling ban must be lifted. Whales do indeed belong to all peoples of the world, not just Australia, New Zealand or the other countries that oppose whaling. Let's face it, the anti-whaling nations do not see the whale as a food source. Therein lies the real problem. The IWC meeting in South Korea is a clash of 'food' cultures.
T Joensen, Faroe Islands

I am fed up with individuals and nations hiding behind their "culture" as an excuse for the barbaric, unnecessary killing of sentient creatures. At some point we must all look beyond ourselves and our selfish desires in order to protect this planet and its inhabitants (and I include my own country in this admonishment). Whaling should unquestionably be banned permanently.
M Nichol, Ft Lauderdale, FL, USA

To hunt a creature so near to dying out completely for no reason other than bogus "scientific purposes" is a huge step backwards for both whales as well as mankind. No matter what their scientific findings are, we can never truly evolve if we keep reaching backwards into unnecessary barbarism.
Rana, New York, USA

The ban should definitely not be lifted - 'scientific research', it's just a ruse to eat them. If it was so called research then they must have found out all there ever could be about them! Our world would definitely be a worse place without whales and 'tradition' will never justify any killing.
Alison Sinclair, UK

We don't want the whales to go the way of the Dodo
Kathleen Hodgson, Australia
There are only 4000 humpbacks left. How can anyone think that if 50 were hunted a year, their numbers would be sustainable? All whale hunting should be stopped. We don't want the whales to go the way of the Dodo.
Kathleen Hodgson, Australia

The best way to decide the fate of whales is to go and see them in the wild. I'll be doing that this weekend. A whale surfacing in front of a boat or kayak, will give the viewer a clear answer to what our roles with whales should be, and that is for once leave something alone.
Terry Dillon, North Vancouver, BC

Whaling is an unacceptable and useless form of commerce. The oceans have long been treated as an inexhaustible food supply, but quite simply we can't just keep taking. Whale populations are fragile, and it is up to humans to make sure that their kind do not go extinct. Those who claim extinction is 'natural' and that humans are merely acting as tools of nature don't seem to notice that animals being dragged from the oceans by the dozen and killed, cleaned and cooked by a factory ship aren't experiencing anything "natural". If we don't stop commercial whaling, the entire ecosystem that whales exist in will fall out of balance, and quite simply, humans have done enough damage to the oceans as it is.
Monique Collins, MA, US

Whales are no different from tuna, trees or soybeans - all of which are harvested in a sustainable manner
Vernon, Naashville
Lots of interesting comments, mostly from people who romanticize these beasts. I wonder how many of them have ever tasted whale? It's awful! But, whales are no different from tuna, trees or soybeans. All of which are harvested in a sustainable manner.
Vernon, Naashville, USA

Absolutely not, its disgusting, hunting whale - is a crime against nature. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) must keep the ban on whale hunting.
Emil, Baku Azerbaijan

How can you say that hunting, and killing a whale, or any living creature is for the sake of science? That makes about as much sense as cosmetic testing on animals. The only way it will serve any purpose for scientific research is if the animal is kept alive, but clearly that is not what happens here.
Christian Seith, Sandy Spring, Maryland, USA

Everything comes down to economics at the end. If anti-whaling Europeans and Americans feel strongly enough, simply stop buying any Japanese products, electronics, cars, motorbikes etc and see how long it takes the Japanese Government to have a re-think on the necessity of whaling. Even a 1% drop in global consumer spending on Japanese products would probably do the job!
Andrew Lynch, Geneva

Those who don't eat whale meat don't understand why we want to resume commercial whaling
Akira Tsutsumi, Japan
I think many of us (Japanese) keep quiet on this issue. Because we think those who don't eat whale meat don't understand why we want to resume commercial whaling. And we are fed up with the no-whaling nations who do not try to understand the different culture and have a "we are always right" attitude.
Akira Tsutsumi, Nara, Japan

Whales should never be hunted. They, like elephants care for there young and care for one another. Only the Inuit should be allowed to hunt whale. Whale hunting for profit should be banned forever.
Keenan Phelps, Silver Spring, MD USA

Keenan Phelps: If the Inuit can hunt whales based on tradition why can't the Japanese? Japanese whaling is just as much as a tradition as Inuit whaling. If the world is to have a whaling ban then it needs to be a total ban without exception.
Anon, USA

Sustainability is the key. Anyone who thinks whales and tuna or cod are the same issue needs to think a little more before declaring their ignorance to the nation on a message board such as this.
Lee Hambly, UK

It is not logical to hunt a species to extinction. Once commercial whaling is resumed, numbers would rapidly begin to decline.
John, Honolulu, US

Humans neither have the need, nor the right to kill whales for any reason
Sheelah Dunn Dooley, Canada
The whaling ban should not be lifted. With the exception of indigenous peoples of the North, such as Inuit, (not nation states as in Norway and Iceland), humans neither have the need, nor the right to kill whales for any reason.
Sheelah Dunn Dooley, Ontario, Canada

Despite my feeling that whales are truly impressive, it is still reasonable to ask why it would matter if they became extinct. That is both natural and normal for every species, and most are pushed out by new comers - humans are not the only species that destroy others, merely the most efficient to date, and we won't be around forever either.
Peter Filicietti, Bangkok, Thailand

Until the anti whaling crowd drop the sentimentalised view of whales as cuddly (killer whales are anything but) and highly intelligent (so are pigs) and engage on the basis of managing and protecting the species of whales which are endangered (several are not, including Minke whales) they risk losing the debate to the whalers.
Tom, London, England

My heart tells me to protect whales, but I am not sure of the answer to the question, Why is it acceptable to eat cod, tuna etc, but not whale?
Rob Greaves, Cheshire, UK

Let's focus on tourism and whale watching
Jana, Austin, USA
Just like the overfishing and destruction of all animals on this planet, the whales too will once again be endangered if the ban is lifted. Let's focus on tourism and whale watching - not the senseless destruction of life.
Jana, Austin, USA

I personally don't agree with whaling but I am dumbfounded by the attitude of people who wish to deny that humans are at the top of the food chain. Hunting is a natural instinct, without which we would not have survived and an animal that lives free and is hunted has a far better quality of life (and death) than a factory farmed chicken.
Sally, Sheffield, UK

Everyone knows that this "research" stuff is just a joke. Whales are beautiful sensitive living beings, not something to be "harvested". Humans may realise one day that killing isn't the solution.
Robert Ellis, Brescia, Italy

It is a huge step backward for the evolution of humankind to allow the unnecessary killing of one of the earth's oldest and greatest creatures
Kim Tomlin, Wanaka, New Zealand

I am so tired of hearing the argument that things should be the way they were in the past. Nothing stays the same nor has it ever. We must adapt to changes such as the drastic decrease in whale numbers. We must live in the present. The value of feeding our families is a good one but no-one has to kill whales to eat. More tofu...less whale!
Mindy Gelder, Iwakuni, Japan (US citizen)

Whaling should be banned indefinitely. Whales have a naturally high mortality rate as it is. Just another example of how the human race is the only species that has failed to adapt to its environment.
Angela Cruickshank, Medicine Hat, Alberta

I personally believe that whales should be protected indefinitely. It is a matter of conservation of an endangered species rather than just a case of preferential treatment towards certain animals. However, even if you take the obvious emotive element out of the subject, and you are still left with the scientific fact - whales were very nearly hunted out of existence and the current populations simply cannot withstand a return to hunting.
David Redfearn, Worksop

Eating whale in Japan is no more or no less barbaric than eating tuna in the west
Rachel, Leicester
Eating whale in Japan is no more or no less barbaric than eating tuna in the west. The only concern anyone should have is whether the hunting is done in a sustainable manner to ensure that these and other animals that humans feast on don't become extinct.
Rachel, Leicester, UK

We have over-fished and over-hunted every species that we have come across. The results are beginning to appear horrendous, whether it be turtles or marlin or cod; we are endangering every species. The only way forward for future generations is good management, which will impose fair and sustainable harvesting. The crisis is truly global, and no one country can claim that it has special "needs". And we all know that the Japanese claim of harvesting for "research" is bogus. The whaling issue is just like everything else that seems intuitive - subject to total political corruption. Time for a global parliament?
Ian, Bethel, CT, USA

I strongly feel the global ban on whaling should be continued in perpetuity. The problem, however, is that whale populations are dying from immune disorder diseases before their reproductive age, from the effects of pollution (PCBs). Result: very few whales are being born; too few to maintain a stable population.
Titus Meissner, Napa, California, USA

Why not. We hunt other animals. We raise animals in cages, kill them and eat them, so what's the difference? We eat steak, chicken, lamb, for food and we use their skins and bodies for clothing, textiles etc. Why is one animal excluded while others are not? Is it because they are "smart". Or is it because the killing of other animals for food and clothing occurs behind closed doors where we don't need face the reality of the slaughter. Only hypocrites say no to one and yes to another.
Michael S Nowak, Indiana, PA, USA

It is time for the world to stand up with the courage to ban the practice for good
Derek Hunter, Lyndhurst
The whales are a natural resource that belongs to the world to leave as a legacy for future generations to enjoy. It is time for the world to stand up with the courage to ban the practice for good. If we can do it for poverty in Africa lets do it for the whales.
Derek Hunter, Lyndhurst, Hampshire

I've always had a problem with consuming the meat of an animal that is possibly more intelligent than my own species. It may sound strange, but that's how I feel. I now live in the Arctic where the Inuvialuit annually hunt beluga whales and hold not only the bounty but the experience as a sacred part of their culture. However, these Western Arctic people never take more than can be used in a season and use nearly every bit of the animal. Commercial operations are an entirely different kettle of fish and need to be strictly monitored. Sure the Japanese, Norwegians and Icelandic whaling operations will contend that the 'food source' is sustainable but I'm sceptical at best.
Jason Unrau, Inuvik, Canada

There just is no good reason for any nation to hunt whales in modern times. Sustainable or not. I'm really surprised at Norway, Japan and Iceland insisting on this. All countries very respected by the world community, with highly educated population and considered culturally advanced. For me this "cultural" attitude towards whaling is disturbing.
Peter Curtis, Tamarac, FL, USA

Those who try to apologise for whaling as being part of a country's culture should remember that slavery and killing "witches" were part of our culture until people realised that what they were doing was so very wrong.
Andrew, London, UK

The simple fact is, whaling was once sustainable - now it's no
Ryan Nielson, Ireland
The simple fact is, whaling was once sustainable - now it's not. Post war over-fishing has depleted stock levels to the extent that the industry, and the jobs it offered, have been lost. If companies wish to whale, let them start private pods, but hunting wild pods is no longer a realistic option.
Ryan Nielson, Ireland

There has always been a whiff of cultural imperialism about the whaling debate. Perhaps we should stop killing cows and instead admire them for their grace and beauty.
John Kearney, Canada

The ban should not be lifted. The whaling nations should put their efforts into establishing whale-watching tourist ventures. New Zealand and Australia have found this far more profitable than the whaling nations have from the sale of whale meat for human consumption.
Andrew Clark, Dunedin, New Zealand

Japan, Norway, Iceland and the other whaling nations should have the right to hunt whales as much as they like....inside their own waters. Any further than the 12 mile national limit and their whaling boats should be arrested and impounded. They don't own the world's whales and don't have the right to destroy them.
John R Smith, UK

It is nothing more than a barbaric and backward practice
Andy White, USA
It is disgusting that whaling, in the 21st Century, is even being discussed. Pray tell, Japan et al., just what 'scientific' gains you are making by culling one of the planet's most intelligent and graceful mammals. It is nothing more than a barbaric and backward practice.
Andy White, VA, USA

It's sick that they are even thinking about lifting the ban, how can you kill such a magnificent animal? There is just no good reason why it should be done and lifting the ban shouldn't even be considered.
Hannah, Cardiff, Wales

The killing of apes is considered abhorrent because they are intelligent creatures very closely related to ourselves. Of course it helps that they resemble humans. Why should whales get any lesser consideration just because they're adapted to the oceans rather than the land? Whaling has no place in the 21st century.
Andrew, Cardiff, UK

Whales are just like any other food source
Bob, US
Whales are just like any other food source. As long as the population can be sustained there is absolutely no reason not to hunt them.
Bob, US

Well, well. Isn't it remarkable how quickly people forget...have we forgotten the campaigning of so many people and organisations who initially pressured the international community to stop whaling altogether. Have we failed to recall the documentaries on our televisions describing whales and their behaviour as arguably more civilised than our own, never mind their intelligence. These people who worked so hard did so from a scientific and academic point of view, not emotional. The whaling companies will be interested in competing for profit, not sustainable management...if you do not believe this then just look at the situation in our own domestic fishing industry. This decision will send us backwards and is a retrograde barbarism of our developing civilised society. We must learn to respect other species even if we cannot do so with each other...for our own long term survival.
R Baldwin, High Witcombe, UK

Whale stocks have not recovered sufficiently for truly "sustainable whaling" to be an option. Whaling is not important economically for any of the nations that want to pursue it.
Peter Kaufmann, Annandale, USA

Whaling is only necessary to the survival of a few indigenous people in rural communities. Whaling for fun or for money is unacceptable. The ocean belongs to sea life and is shared by all.
Whitney, Roswell, USA

The anti-whaling nations should turn the tables on Japan in the IWC. Pack the IWC with anti-whaling countries. The IWC website says that "Membership of the IWC is open to any country in the world that formally adheres to the 1946 Convention."...Cool. Pay these countries' membership fees (should be pretty small I guess) and own their vote!
Rajesh, Bangalore, India

It's pretty obvious this issue is coming to a crisis: where one stands depends on how one sees whales. Fairly obviously, the numbers of at least some species have recovered to the point where they could survive regulated hunting. This leaves the question: is it moral to hunt whales at all? Are they like men, whom of course would be off limits regardless of their numbers, or like giant sea-going pigs, a resource which may be exploited with a perfectly clear conscience by most? Those who tend towards the former view will continue to vehemently oppose whaling almost regardless of the numbers they reach, while those who tend towards the latter will of course favour an increase in hunting quotas as the stocks continue to increase.
Colin Wright, Richmond, Ca, USA

To say that non-whaling nations have no right to get involved in whaling nations' business and that whaling nations should be free to hunt whales within their national borders or on the high seas totally misses the point. Just how will whaling nations take steps to protect diminishing whale populations? This is contrary to political will and commercial interests. Whales are a unique and delicate part of our natural heritage, which should be enjoyed and protected by the world community and its descendants. Protection of that heritage transcends national and commercial interests.
Robert Morgan, Port Douglas, Australia

Whaling is a very cruel practice to intelligent and already environmentally impacted creatures, no land animal would ever be treated this way!
Karl Fuller, Auckland New Zealand

All reasonable efforts should be made to avoid the extermination of any life form. In the case of whales, the "reasonable" effort is to simply not hunt them. Japan and Norway are rich countries that have no "scientific" arguments to continue the hunt.
Michael, Calif, USA

To say that only whaling nations should have a say in conservation issues is ludicrous. Whales are endangered just as many African, Asian and American species. Should European nations then stand aside and let be what be? All conservation of flora and fauna is for the benefit of all, not just for those who are to make money off it.
Andy Campbell, London, UK

I don't think that we should get involved in what Japan is doing and how many whales it kills. Their laws don't apply to us so why should we worry? We make up our laws and they make up theirs, it's not our business.
Alex Young, Grantham, Lincolnshire

If this is about economics and Japan protecting their whaling industry then I say don't buy Japanese products. If enough people took this action then we'd soon see a change of stance.
Graham Martin, Brighton, UK

Current whale population levels are nowhere near what they were hundreds of years ago
Kathleen Harrison, New Mills
What do Norway and Japan learn from the whales that they currently catch for 'scientific proposes'? I have yet to see any studies published on the knowledge that has been gained from the continued hunting. While some may say that it is fine to hunt whales if they are within national waters, who are we to say a mammal should die because it strays too close to one country, when its environment is the whole ocean? Current whale population levels are nowhere near what they were hundreds of years ago and to claim that the growing whale population is to blame for fish stock depletion is ridiculous.
Kathleen Harrison, New Mills, England

We don't know enough to say levels of 'whales' are sustainable. Continued over fishing by humans will cause whale numbers to drop. Until we have an efficient system for monitoring all marine life, it will be best for all sides concerned (commercial and otherwise) to err on the side of caution.
Dr J Taylor, London, England

Why is this even being considered? Japan should be made to explain how whales caught for scientific purposes are ending up as food for the Japanese. Where are the scientific findings produced from these captured whales? Why is there no accountability?
Beth, Kentwood, Michigan, USA

If these countries insist on hunting whales, they should be forced to investigate a way of either encouraging whale numbers, or be able to farm them successfully. If not, they should not be allowed to kill a species we already know is on the decline.
NS, Dorset, England

Some compromise is needed
Alan Brown, London
I have tasted whale meat and it is delicious, possibly the best meat I have eaten. I understand the whaling nations love of the meat, which is part of their culture. Whale numbers are rising, and sustainable whaling, properly enforced, would enable millions of people to enjoy this wonderful source of food. The green activists would never be placated anyway, so some compromise is needed.
Alan Brown, London

No, it's cruel, nasty and it puts the animals through terrible pain. No the ban should stay.
Brendan Chilton, Great Britain

The countries shouting most loudly about whaling are themselves responsible for hunting less glamorous species like cod to near-extinction. It's totally hypocritical that they should try to impose controls on Japan and Iceland without accepting limits on their own industries.
Julia Hayward, St Neots, UK

I'm from New Zealand, and as such see no logic or right for northern hemisphere countries to be hunting in the southern oceans of the world. If they want to catch whales then they should conduct hunting in their own areas. If they don't have the whale populations in their areas then maybe this is a message to them that they are over-harvesting them.
Scott Brundell, New Zealand

How can Japan say that the capture of whales is for scientific reasons if they cannot produce any scientific data? Whales should not be caught unless they prove a danger to humans and I can't remember hearing of any whales trying to hunt humans.
Bruce Eyre, Amesbury, England

Hunting whales is never acceptable. Many are endangered, they migrate widely across the world's oceans, so don't "belong" to any country. Not to mention that they are intelligent mammals. Let's just admire them for their grace and beauty.
Paul F, Houston, USA

What business is it of non-whaling nations to get involved in whaling nations business?
John Jones, London
What business is it of non-whaling nations to get involved in whaling nations business? If whale numbers are getting too small then it is for whaling nations to take the right steps to safeguard the future of their industries.
John Jones, London, UK

In the first place, John Jones, whales aren't an "industry" but a living thing. In the second, if you think countries will "safeguard their future" for profit and because it's obviously the sensible thing to do, then you are naive. They will do just as humans always do, namely exploit the "resource" in question as fast as they can until it is exhausted.
S Burns, Wales

John Jones of London asks, "What business is it of non-whaling nations to get involved in whaling nations business?" The implication of this question seems to be that somehow a wrong is less wrong if carried out by some other country. I don't subscribe to that argument. I will always reserve the right to speak out against cruelty wherever it happens as in this case. It is my right and my duty.
Patrick, Orpington Kent

Japan shouldn't have the freedom to hunt whales within their own waters. Whales are migratory animals not only confined to Japan's waters - it is an international decision that should be made.
Mason, London, England

If the killing of whales is indeed for purely scientific purposes then surely whaling nations will have no issue with banning the consumption of whale meat.
Dan , Auckland, NZ

Let's not forget that there is no humane method of killing these animals and that death is a drawn out and cruel affair. For a country like Japan whose general population are ambivalent about eating whale (and it is already freely available here on supermarket shelves under the dishonest guise of scientific whaling) this really has to be taken into account in any discussion.
AMP, Okinawa, Japan

Whales migrate across the world's oceans so they do not 'belong' to any one nation
Adrian Phillips, Evesham
Whales migrate across the world's oceans so they do not 'belong' to any one nation. This is one reason why the killing of them by the Japanese, Norwegians and Icelanders is unacceptable. As most nations oppose the resumption of whaling, the whaling nations have no right to impose their values on the rest of us.
Adrian Phillips, Evesham, UK

I think this issue should be discussed purely from the viewpoint of whether hunting whales would be sustainable or not, just like any other marine resources. Some opinions seem to be from the viewpoint of abhorring consumption of whale meat, but eating whales has a long history among many cultures. At least I don't think eating whales is comparable to eating chimps or gorillas.
Akira Nagasaki, Tokyo, Japan

As long as the whales are hunted in a sustainable way then I see no problem with it. I'm sure a lot of the people who speak out against whaling are just acting on emotion rather than looking at the scientific realities.
James, UK

The Whales have to be preserved rather than hunted. Marine life and whales are already under enough pressure from pollution and climate changes as well as loss of breeding grounds etc.
Jed Burdon, Bolton UK

As the whale population rises the fish stocks are being depleted

Richard T Ketchum
As the whale population rises the fish stocks are being depleted. Has anyone stopped to think these may be connected?
Richard T. Ketchum, USA

To Richard T Ketchum, USA: No being on this Earth is another's property. A country's self governing/regulation has never worked. Anywhere. Unless your are eating plankton don't worry about what the whales are eating. For the whales that do eat fish, fish and whales have existed for millions of years together. The drop in numbers has not happened until man started getting involved. We are the problem, not them. We have other choices of food, they do not.
Scott Thomas, Wisconsin, USA

It always amuses me when people talk about whales and/or seals decimating fish stocks. Whales have existed for millions of years, fish for far longer. There didn't seem to be much of a fish shortage until relatively modern times, when large-scale fishing by humans began.
John, Edmonton, Canada

While some whale populations have increased following the international ban on commercial whaling, it is not clear that any have recovered sufficiently for the resumption of commercial whaling. Japan's use of captured whales for "scientific purposes" is and always has been highly questionable. Iceland and Norway have better claims to whaling as a traditional industry. However, until or unless studies of whale populations indicate that some "harvest" is possible without risking extinction of species, all whaling should be severely limited.
Dave Woods, Cleveland, USA

Absolutely not, except for research purposes. If the whale species have recovered enough in some places Mother Nature will take care of that. Who are we to decide that some whales need to be killed because they are in abundance.
Rupak Thapaliya, Minnesota, USA

The moratorium on commercial whaling should only be lifted when sustainable commercial hunting is regulated and quotas enforced under international agreement.
Eddie Espie, Cookstown, Northern Ireland

Japan should have the freedom to hunt whatever they like within their borders
Yes, Japan should have the freedom to hunt whatever they like within their borders, like any other country.

Do they really want to catch them for scientific purposes or is it for consumption under the pretext of science?
Nima, College Park, USA

If it wasn't for the ban the whaling nations would never have stopped the slaughter and these wonderful, harmless creatures would have been extinct. There is no justification, under any circumstances, for a return to whaling.
David, Sussex, England

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) should not lift the ban. Instead, the IWC should tighten the restrictions on killing the whales because the 3 countries may continue to kill more whales, claiming that it is for scientific research when some or most of them end up on the dining table.
Firdaus, Singapore

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