UN Court calls bullshit on Japan’s whaling program!  »


Image from Greenpeace.

Yay! The International Court of Justice has ordered a temporary halt on Japan’s annual whale slaughter! The UN Court does not think the program is truly in the name of science (screw science anyway, save all the whales!). And according to BBC, Japan said it will honor the ruling. 

From NYT:

Reading a summary of the judgment, presiding Judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia said that the present “research program,” dating to 2005, has involved the killing of 3,600 minke whales and a number of fin whales, but that its “scientific output to date appears limited.” The ruling suggested instead that Japan’s whaling hunt served political and economic reasons.

Lawyers attending the proceedings said there was a gasp in the audience when Judge Tomka ordered Japan to immediately “revoke all whaling permits” and not issue any new ones under the existing program.

AWESOME! Let’s hope it sticks!!!

A final note from Captain Alex Cornelissen of the deservedly proud Sea Shepherd Global

Though Japan’s unrelenting harpoons have continued to drive many species of whales toward extinction, Sea Shepherd is hopeful that in the wake of the ICJ’s ruling, it is whaling that will be driven into the pages of the history books.



Guest post: Japan resumes whaling, I resume crying  »

I’ve been following the updates from Taiji, Japan on Twitter—Taiji is where The Cove was filmed, and where every year dolphins are slaughtered in a cove for low-priced and mercury-laden meat after the ones suitable for “fun” (read: awful) places like SeaWorld are picked out and sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Sad things happen there. Sea Shepherd is in Japan bearing witness to the dolphins killed in Taiji in the hopes that the world will take notice and put pressure on Japan to stop it.

This created chunks of sadness in my Twitter feed—between videos about cute cats and Vegan MoFo blog posts—and now I’ve started seeing tweets about this as well: Japan is going to resume its “scientific” whaling program after stopping it due to pressure from groups like Sea Shepherd. (I put “scientific” in quotes because that’s totally not the case.) Why you gotta do me like this, Japan?!

Officials announced on Tuesday that Japan will resume whale hunting in the Southern Ocean this winter, and stated their intentions to protect their ships.

"The Fisheries Agency will send a patrol boat and take increased measures to strengthen the protection given to the research whaling ships," Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano said at a news conference Tuesday.

Fortunately, the Sea Shepherd crew are a bunch of badasses and don’t plan to make the hunt easy for Japan.

They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again…. We will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion of arrogant greed into what is an established sanctuary for the whales.

That’s from a statement by Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson, who says that more than 100 people will be in the Southern Ocean to block the Japanese whaling fleet. How can you help? For starters, you can support Sea Shepherd so they can continue their work. You can sign a petition against whaling at Whales Revenge. You can write to your government reps to make it clear you don’t support whaling, and you want them to make their lack of support for whaling known as well. Adopt a whale from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. And you could talk to people about why whales are awesome and whaling is not, and encourage them to take action too. Highly recommended: following Sea Shepherd’s updates, online and/or Twitter.

Have any other suggestions on how awesome Vegansaurus readers can fight whaling in the Southern Ocean? Tell us about them in the comments!

photo by John Krzesinski via Flickr


"The friendliest whales in the world" from the Telegraph. Apparently these gray whales will like come right up to your boat to check you out and get pets! They even got a dude kissing them! God, whales are so awesome. This whale doesn’t look that big in this picture but check out this one; he’s huge!
I can’t believe whaling exists. People are the worst.

"The friendliest whales in the world" from the Telegraph. Apparently these gray whales will like come right up to your boat to check you out and get pets! They even got a dude kissing them! God, whales are so awesome. This whale doesn’t look that big in this picture but check out this one; he’s huge!

I can’t believe whaling exists. People are the worst.


Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson—he’s so totally the man. My favorite part: “We’re just insane.” Because people are TOTALLY INSANE. Except me. I’m like Princess Sane-a-lot. It’s exhausting.


I’m totally jazzed about this video of David Rothenberg and crew jamming to the smooth sounds of humpback whale songs (that was my radio disk jockey impersonation! Genius idea: I could be a radio disk jockey for Halloween! That way I could stay home and send a radio to the costume party in my place)! There’s an interesting interview with Rothenberg, a professor who "explores the world of interspecies music," over on the New York Times' Dot Earth blog. When I say interesting, I mean it was short enough so even I could finish it. They talk about the different issues surrounding whaling. Rothenberg stays pretty lame diplomatic on the subject. He makes some good points about the need to navigate cultural differences in the matter.

There was one statement that sounded particularly odd to me: “No one NEEDS to eat [whale meat], but it is possible to eat such things and also love them and want to save them. That’s part of the paradox of being a human being.” Is that really possible? It sounds less possible and more ridiculous than an alligator barbershop quartet. I’m not trying to take a hard line on this but loving something and eating it? That’s kind of a totally perverse idea and it just makes me think of cannibals and zombies.


This week certainly has been trying; thank goodness it’s time for the link-o-rama!  »

This is Wilson, a bunny from Harvest Home Sanctuary. He could be your best new bunny pal, if you are in Berkeley tomorrow! HE HAS HIS OWN BUNNY TO CUDDLE!! Wilson is a meta-bunny! Read about where and when to find him below.

Event-y things!
Your Vegansaurus loves bunnies; what about you? This week, the SFPD confiscated 23 bunnies from a pet store—it’s illegal to sell them in the city—and you can adopt them from Animal Care and Control starting tomorrow, Saturday June 19, at noon. Harvest Home Sanctuary is also holding a rabbit-adoption event in the East Bay, in conjunction with the House Rabbit Society, on Saturday! You can meet rabbits at Berkeley’s 4th Street Shopping District, at 1824 4th St., from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

News-ish items!
What the FUCK: Miami is building a new stadium for the Florida Marlins, which will include two saltwater aquariums as part of the walls around home plate. “To safeguard it from impact, Lexan—the material used for bulletproof windows—will be installed in front and in back of the acrylic panels.” I’m sure that the animals living in those aquariums will totally appreciate the thickness of the material, seeing as how it has to be designed to withstand fucking BASEBALLS BEING THROWN AT IT.

On the sea creatures tip, let’s talk about whales. Japan, what is your goddamn problem? Some groups are hardcore protesting showings of The Cove, while you’re bribing the fuck out of members of the International Whaling Commission?! Just disgusting. Apparently 95 percent of people in Japan have never eaten whale—just drop it already. EVERYONE JUST FUCKING DROP IT. Norway and Iceland, you too. Maybe Pierce Brosnan will convince you? Maybe.

Egg production is supremely fucked up; for one, “egg production” is a tidy euphemism for “forcing hens to lay eggs.” Even “free-range” is a lie: the Humane Society filed a complaint against Rose Acre Farms this week because the conditions the company’s chickens live in are fucking horrific, certainly not the “humane and happy environment” full of “happy” chickens Rose Acre is selling people.

Look, they grow vegetables at the North Pole! Yes, even iceberg lettuce (not that that’s funny, per se). Here are some tips on storing your lettuce so as to keep it fresh and crispy as long as possible. Oh and try not to feed anyone juice boxes or fruit cocktails, as even the “organic” ones are full of lead.

Matt Baume "meets the city’s most unlikey pets" in the Bold Italic; the founder of Slow Food USA wants to integrate slaughterhouses, by way of mobile units, into cities. That’s what I want on my streets—the sounds of mass-murder! Definitely the solution is more, smaller slaughterhouses in urban areas. Alternatively, we could do like U.S. Designer of the Year John Bartlett and stop participating in terrible systems of death.

Terrible system of the week: wildlife photography. It is mainly a lie; the animals are bred in captivity, rented out for pictures, and often sold on the exotic-animal black market. The feature in Audubon magazine on these horrific, depressing, disgusting practices is shocking. And gross. You absolutely must read it.

OK right, everything continues to be really awful, and I’m sorry about that. Science says that good things happen to people who do good things, though, so keep on doing your part for the animals. Be as cynical as you like; the key is not losing your empathy (I think).


What’s up with Obama lifting the ban on commercial whaling?  »

There hasn’t been enough in the news lately about marine life being killed by the excesses of civilization, so what the hell, let’s talk about whaling. Food Fight Grocery alerts us to a FOX News report (via UPI) that Obama is set to “break his campaign pledge to end the slaughter of whales” by negotiating a compromise to lift the ban on commercial whaling. The International Whaling Commission next meets on June 20, when they will take up the proposal for a vote.

FOX News is trying to score cheap political points, but for once, they’re not wrong on the facts. Environmental groups are angry, and there’s a lot to not like here. The International Fund for Animals, along with Greenpeace and HSUS, released an open letter [PDF] condemning the compromise and has been urging action to flood the White House with calls.

So what’s this all about, anyway? The compromise would allow Iceland, Japan and Norway, the three remaining nations that hunt whales, to hunt whales legally for commercial purposes. In exchange, the nations would have to cap whaling below their current numbers and agree to tighter monitoring and regulation, including new efforts to help with conservation of whales and other marine life.

Iceland, Japan and Norway are going to keep hunting whales no matter what, and the number of slaughtered whales has been rising every year. Reducing this number would count a win, and by bringing outlaws under the watchful eyes of regulators, the worst abuses can be stopped—at least, that’s the logic behind the compromise. Environmentalists and other detractors say that passing the compromise would legitimize whale hunting, and that the compromise offers no long-term target to end whaling entirely.

At stake may also be the very existence of the IWC. If members can’t agree on a compromise, all signs point to the collapse of the 63-year-old organization. That would mean no standards, no monitoring, and nowhere to report illegal whaling.

No matter where you stand or which evil you feel is the lesser one, it’s clear that consensus on whale hunting will never happen without reaching the people who demand whale meat (and maybe smacking them upside the head). We’ve already gone after New Zealand for supporting this compromise, and if it passes, we’ll be really unhappy. But if it doesn’t pass? For the whales, it might be even worse.


Whales: maybe a little less screwed  »

According to the LA Times, Monday marked the end of an expedition in which scientists concluded that we don’t have to kill whales in order to study them. To this I say 1. BRAVO! and 2. ADOY!

Japan uses this claim that they need to kill whales in order to study them as a way around the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 ban on commercial whaling. Of course they do sell the whale meat after they “study” the whale but that’s just like so nothing goes to waste of course. Not because they just totally want to sell whale meat.

The expedition was proposed by Australia (yay Aussies!) and approved by the commission. It is the first of five expeditions they’re going to do. Yeah, it’s just the first one and already they are like, Hey Japan! Kiss it!

From the LA Times:

The scientists’ research focused on whale numbers, what they eat, how they move between food patches and how they travel to and from their breeding grounds in the central Pacific.
"All of those questions can be and are being answered using nonlethal techniques," expedition leader Nick Gales told reporters Monday.
Although Gales acknowledged that Japan does some “marvelous” nonlethal whale research, he said “the component of their work that results in the killing of the whales” is not the type of science the commission  requires.

Japan was like, OK hippies, how are we supposed to know what’s INSIDE the whales? I’m sure there are ways to do this or eventually there will be ways but here’s my suggestion: Hey science! Why do you have to know what’s inside everything all the time? It’s a complete obsession. And I think we’ve been nursing this fetish long enough! After all, it’s what’s on the outside that counts in this business called life!

[Adorable whale pic from the LA Times]



Urgent: Help save the humpback whales!  »

Alternative title: The IWC sucks and I heart Mister Splashy Pants

According to my new favorite animal welfare group, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), this is an important week in the fight to end whaling. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida this week to discuss a proposal that would legalize commercial whaling. More specifically: Greenland wants to kill humpback whales! WTF Greenland?

While commercial whaling is currently illegal, WDCS says that together Japan, Norway and Iceland kill over 2,000 whales each year. I guess they just want to be able to do it legally. A-holes! Jeez, Iceland, I used to think you were cool. Now I think you’re a big jerk.

To read more about this new proposal and see how you can help, visit WDCS’s website.

To learn more about humpback whales, stay right here! I mean, go to the WDCS site and then come back here and share my love for humpback whales.

When I was about five years old, my family went to Alaska for some unknown reason. I have many fond memories of this trip—I mean it was the first time I saw Weird Science (hello hotel cable!)—but when asked about my trip, I would proudly declare, “I saw half a dozen humpback whales!” It’s a melodic sentence, isn’t it? It’s also true! We were often on a boat, and kept seeing humpback whales jumping out of the water. It was AWESOME.

Humpback whales are super-popular because they are crazy sea acrobats and the males sing really intense whale songs. And guess what else! Each humpback whale’s flukes (duh that means the lobes of its tail [thanks, Joel!]) is distinct. You know, like fingerprints and snowflakes! Because of this, people have been able to totally document individual whales for decades. There’s famous ones like Salt, pictured here, who WDCS calls the “grand dame of the whale world” because she’s been photographed so many times and has a bunch of kids. Mister Splashy Pants is another famous humpback, he got his name in an online voting contest run by Greenpeace. A real internet celebrity!

If they legalized whaling, who’s to say that Mister Splashy Pants and Salt wouldn’t be the next casualties?! If you want to help Mister Splashy Pants, or the Notorious MSP as I will now call him, head over to Greenpeace and see what you can do. And at you can adopt Salt and any of her pals—you get a plush whale and everything. Not to mention mad props from Poseidon, I’m sure. Stop whaling!

[Image of Salt and “stop whaling” icon from the WDCS website]

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