Environment

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Australia’s Kangaroo Cull Draws Japanese Ire

March 18, 2008 11:10 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Japan has ridden out protests againts its whaling activities and now accuses Australia of hypocrisy on account of a plan to exterminate 400 kangaroos.

30-Second Summary

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Every year Japan sends boats to Antarctica to, according to Tokyo, capture whales for research.

However, critics say that the scientific rationale is nothing but a front for commercial whaling.

This whaling season has been marked by repeated confrontations between conservation groups such as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Japanese vessels.

Tensions recently came to a head when the crew of the boat The Steve Irwin sent protesters to board one of Japan’s boats and threw rancid butter and stink bombs. The Irwin’s captain claims he was subsequently shot at.

There are reports that Japan’s fleet expects to catch about 300 fewer whales because of the Irwin’s actions.

The Japanese media has responded by reporting heavily on Australia’s plan to kill 400 kangaroos. Pundits have claimed that it is hypocritical to condemn Japan for its activities in the Antarctic, only to slaughter hundreds of animals that are supposed to be protected by federal law.

Canberra says its plan is part of an effort to save native grasslands and other flora. To some animal rights activists, that sounds no more convincing than Tokyo's line on the whale "research."

A number of prominent individuals are opposing the kangaroo cull. But Peter Garrett, Australia’s Environmental Minister, has defended the plan.

Bolo’s blog agrees with Garett, writing that whaling and the kangaroo cull are fundamentally different because the former involves an endangered species, while the latter is a response to overpopulation.

Headline Links: Japan upset over kangaroo cull

Reaction: Sea Shepherd claims victory, whales and kangaroos are different and ‘eco-loons’ at it again

Related Topic: Second career for Australia’s environmental minister

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