Target: South Korean Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forests, and Fisheries
Goal: Thank Ministry for withdrawing plans to kill endangered whales for “scientific” purposes
Whales are massive creatures that have mystified humans for millenia. Ancient stories and fables retell of both peaceful and violent encounters with these giant animals, and many native cultures believe whales possess magical powers.
Sadly, while these creatures captivate our imaginations, they also draw the attention of hunters. In the nineteenth century, many whale species were brought to the brink of extinction due to unrestricted slaughtering by whaling companies. Whale fat was used to make margarine and fuel oil lamp, fetching a very high price in European and American markets. Add ship collisions, pollution, warming oceans, and fishing gear accidents, and whales have become one of the most threatened animals on the planet.
Thankfully, an international ban on commercial whaling in 1986 allowed many species to recover in recent decades. However, there is a loophole in the ban that allows whale hunting if the animal’s body will be used for “scientific” research. While this loophole appears innocuous, many governments take advantage of the law’s general language. They permit the slaughter of hundreds of Antarctic whales, claiming the hunt is for scientific research. The whale meat obtained in the hunt, however, is illegally sold for human consumption. Unfortunately, little is being done to investigate these suspicions and threatened whales like the Minke, Bryde, and Grey species continue to be killed each year.
Luckily, not all governments are participating in this ruse. South Korea’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forests, and Fisheries recently decided to forgo its whaling proposal and simply use non-lethal techniques to study whales (skin sampling, tagging, and underwater acoustic surveys, for example.) The Ministry claims that, after careful investigation, it could not support killing whales for scientific or commercial purposes.
This decision is a great victory for whales. South Korea’s Ministry understands that killing endangered animals for either science experiments or human consumption is morally wrong. These animals must be protected to save them from disappearing forever. With any luck, other countries will soon follow South Korea’s lead and stop the terrible slaughter of some of the world’s most majestic creatures.
Thank the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forests, and Fisheries for its recent decision.
Dear Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forests, and Fisheries,
Thank you very much for withdrawing your proposal to begin killing Antarctic whales for scientific research. Your decision protects hundreds of creatures from unnecessary deaths each year, and you should be highly commended.
As you know, whales are very endangered. In the nineteenth century, many species were hunted to the brink of extinction. Their bodies were used to make margarine and fuel oil lamps, fetching a very high price in European and American markets.
While commercial whaling is now banned, countries like Japan, Norway, and Iceland continue to hunt the animals under the guise of scientific research. There is little evidence, however, that the whales killed are actually used for experiments. Many activists believe the hunt is used to illegally obtain and then sell whale meat to consumers around the world.
Thankfully, you at the Ministry will not participate in this ruse. By choosing to study whales in a non-lethal manner, you are announcing to the world that killing these animals is wrong. They are beautiful, majestic creatures that should to be protected, not slaughtered and eaten. With any luck, your decision will inspire other countries to also place a ban on whale hunting, and these animals will be a little bit safer.
Again, thank you very much for withdrawing your whaling proposal.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: DreamingImages via Flickr