In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) enacted a moratorium on all commercial whaling. Yet Japan, Iceland and Norway continue firing harpoons into these gentle creatures for products that nobody needs. More than 30,000 whales have been killed and brutally slaughtered for commercial purposes since the ban in 1986. The IWC does not have the capacity to enforce the moratorium.

Many of these whaling operations are carried out under the guise of “scientific research”, despite the fact that there has been evidence to the contrary. For instance, recently, Greenpeace exposed evidence of widespread embezzlement of whale meat occurring right under the noses of the public officials who run the Japanese whaling program. More than a ton of whale meat was snuck from the whaling ship this year alone, and it wasnt for “scientific research”.

The best cuts of whale meat, used to make whale bacon, are smuggled into crew cabins, preserved in salt, and then shipped home in boxes marked “cardboard” or “salted stuff” to be sold on the black market. Greenpeace intercepted one such box — worth up to US $3,000 — and presented it to the Tokyo Prosecutor’s office as evidence on May 15th, 2008.

In order to defend it’s whaling program, for years Japan has been “recruiting” countries with no obvious interest in whaling to join the IWC and vote in its favour, by using development aid as an incentive. As the number of pro-whaling IWC members grows, the ban on commercial whaling becomes increasingly threatened.