Pigs, Whales and Shots. Week Ending 07 Mar 08

It’s been quite a week…
we’ve had pig farmers storming London because pig farming is expensive and they don’t earn enough money (stop doing it then), Japan fighting for support of whaling within the IWC (for a change), and the Sea Shepherd crew have reported at being shot at by Japanese whalers.
As usual at meatismurder, a caveat must be added to the whaling stories below – we report on the death of whales with the same passion and concern as we would report the death of cows or chickens as they are all sentient beings who deserve to not be caught in a machine of profit and greed.

Some 500 pig farmers and pig industry workers descended on Whitehall today to hand in a petition about the crisis threatening their industry.

The campaigners include Jimmy Doherty, the TV pig farmer and friend of Jamie Oliver who is having to cut his rare-breed herd of breeding sows from 95 to 30 because of the rising price of feed.

Pig farmers say they are losing about £26 on every pig sold for slaughter in Britain because pig feed has gone up from around £130 to £225 a ton in the past year.

But while wholesale grain costs have doubled they claim supermarkets have not increased farm gate prices accordingly.

Winnie the Pig, a veteran of a similar campaign in 2001, also joined the Pigs are Worth It! rally outside Downing Street.

From the Telegraph

Japan has denied claims it fired bullets at anti-whaling protesters in the Southern Ocean.

Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd accuses Japanese Coast Guard officers of firing stun grenades and rifles during clashes today in the Southern Ocean.

Sea Shpeherd Image

Captain of the Sea Shepherd ship, Paul Watson, says he found a bullet lodged in the the bullet-proof vest he was wearing and that one of his crew was hit by a grenade and received minor injuries.

But Japan’s Government denies that, saying it only launched “noise balls” – loud explosive deterrent devices – after repeated attacks on its whaling ship by Sea Shepherd.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Tomohiko Taniguchi says no shots were fired.

From ABCNews

Japan is looking for new supporters of its pro-whaling stance ahead of a major meeting on the future of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

A one-day seminar on Monday brought delegates from 12 developing countries, most of them not IWC members, to Tokyo to discuss “sustainable use” of whales.

Japan Whale Protest

An official told the BBC that Japan hoped these nations would join the IWC.

On Thursday, the IWC begins a three-day meeting in London aiming to plot a new course for the fractured organisation.

We want the idea of sustainable use to be understood by as many countries as possible
Ryotaro Suzuki
Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Officially charged with the effective regulation of commercial whaling, many of its member countries would prefer its central remit to become conservation of the “great whales” and their close relatives such as dolphins and porpoises, with virtually all hunting banned.

But Japan, Norway, Iceland and their allies in the pro-sustainable use bloc argue that there is no reason in principle why whales cannot be hunted like other wild creatures, provided quotas are small enough to be sustainable.

Japan believes the western love of whales is culturally specific
In recent years, both camps have sought to bring new member countries into the IWC to bolster their numbers.

At the 2006 annual meeting, the pro-whalers achieved superiority for the first time in 20 years with the passing of a resolution asking for the eventual return of commercial hunting.

By last year’s meeting, enough new anti-whaling countries had joined to give this bloc the upper hand once more.

Both blocs continue to lobby potential new allies – hence Japan’s decision to host Monday’s seminar looking at the sustainable use of cetaceans.

Some of the 12 countries attending, such as Palau and Cambodia, are already IWC members; but most, including Angola, Eritrea and Micronesia, are not.

From the BBC

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