Wednesday, February 16, 2011


TOKYO (AP) - Japan has temporarily suspended its annual Antarctic whaling after repeated harassment by a conservationist group, a government official. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships have been chasing the Japanese whaling fleet for weeks in the icy seas off Antarctica, trying to block Japan’s annual whale hunt, planned for up to 945 whales. Japan has halted the hunt since Feb. 10 after persistent “violent” disruptions by the anti-whaling protesters, said fisheries agency official Tatsuya Nakaoku. So far, the attacks have not caused any injuries or major damage to the vessels, he said, but the protesters are throwing rancid butter in bottles and once the protesters got a rope entangled in the propeller on a harpoon vessel, causing it to slow down. Nakaoku said they have temporarily suspended their research whaling to ensure safety, and plans to resume hunting when conditions are deemed safe, he added, but declined to say how long the suspension is planned for.

The whale hunts, which Japan says are for scientific purposes, are allowed by the International Whaling Commission as an exception to the 1986 ban, but opponents say they are a cover for commercial whaling because whale meat not used for study is sold for consumption in Japan. Japan has failed to fulfill its catch quota in recent years due to escalating protests by the anti-whaling campaigners. “It’s extremely regrettable that our research activity has been obstructed by the acts of sabotage, which could lead to serious injuries or damage,” Nakaoku said. Last year, Japanese whalers ended up catching only about half of their target.

Japan’s fisheries agency has called Sea Shepherd a terrorist group for its militant actions. In this way, Japan has rejected foreign demands that it abandon whaling as hypocritical, and has denounced as dangerous and illegal Sea Shepherd’s tactics of manoeuvring its vessels to directly obstruct whaling ships. While whale meat isn’t widely eaten in Japan, many people there believe it is hypocritical for Westerners to condemn whaling, while they kill cows, pigs, fish and lambs for food. Indeed, this is a true hypocrisy that some activists, wildlife protectors, who daily consume beef or other animal’s meat, accuse whales’ hunters of killing and slaughter.

“Only man has a soul ... animals are simply ‘chemical reactions’”. Accepting this twisted doctrine, truly unspeakable horrors are committed to millions of other living entities daily. For the sake of the satisfaction of the tongue, animals are routinely slaughtered. For the sake of vanity, for the sake of smelling pretty, animals are tortured in laboratories to test the lethal dosages of colognes and perfumes. For the sake of fashion, animals are killed just for their fur or skin. Contrast this with the doctrine of ahimsa (nonviolence). In the Buddhist scripture, the Dhammapada (129-130), the Buddha says, “All beings fear death and pain, life is dear to all; therefore the wise man will not kill or cause anything to be killed.” And in the Hindu scriptures, the Padma Purana proclaims, “Ahimsa paramo dharma”: Non-violence to other living entities (ahimsa) is the highest (paramo) duty (dharma).

Śripad Yajnavalkya Dasa :
“Defending Dharma”
Chapter One: “The Basis”

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