October 18, 2006 Man has hunted whales using boats and spears since at least 6000BCE and big business in Northern Europe for 500 years. Some countries such as Iceland and Japan have a long tradition of continuous whaling for more than a thousand years, and at points in history would not have survived without whaling. It is no coincidence that the Icelandic word "hvalreki" means both "beached whale" and "jackpot". Harpooning of whales by hand began in Japan in the 12th century, but it was not until the 1670s, when a much less dangerous and far more effective method of catching whales using nets was developed. This catalysed a whaling boom and whale meat became a primary source of food and protein for the population. In the post WW11 famine, the population became dependent on whaling again. So there’s a very staunch pro-whaling group, and there’s an equally staunch anti-whaling lobby.There are many arguments against whaling with the most emotionally compelling being that it’s unethical to kill an intelligent animal. There is also widespread agreement that it is morally wrong to exterminate a species of animal and agreements were made at the 1986 International Whaling Commission (IWC) global moratorium that are about to be broken because Iceland is preparing to resume commercial whale hunting for the first time in 20 years. The decision, which makes Iceland the second country along with Norway to hunt commercially, has drawn sharp criticism from both the UK government and animal conservationist groups like IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). Officials from the Icelandic Fisheries Ministry say Icelandic fishermen will hunt nine fin whales (an endangered species) and 30 mink whales by August 2007.
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