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Clashes between Japanese whalers and with anti-whaling ‘pirates’ continued as Japan’s new fisheries minister told Agence France-Presse the island country will never stop hunting and eating whales.”I don’t think there will be any kind of an end for whaling by Japan,” Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. “We have never said everybody should eat whale, but we have a long tradition and culture of whaling.”
Hayashi called anti-whaling protests “a cultural attack, a kind of prejudice against Japanese culture” as The Associated Press reported that America’s largest federal court deemed the to be “pirates” because of the violent nature of their some of the tactics.
From the AP:
“You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel. “When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be.”
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For the last few years the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society — a Washington state-based nonprofit — has chased Japanese ‘scientific whaling’ fleet off Antarctica for several years to prevent the mammals being slaughtered.
AFP notes that unlike Norway and Iceland — which openly flout the International 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling — Japan justifies its hunts through a loophole that allows for lethal scientific research.
Earlier this month an international team of researchers presented evidence suggesting that dolphins and whales are so intelligent they should be recognised as “non-human persons.”
Recent research shows that both dolphins and whales communicate with each other in a similar way to humans. Previous scientific studies have shown that dolphins and whales are earth’s smartest animals behind humans and ahead of chimpanzees.