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Discussing the undeniable


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Today, there are less than ten percent of the whales that existed in 1900.

This statement alone provides a clear idea of the path to follow. We cannot continue killing whales. The “resource,” if it ever was one, is ceasing to exist. It’s time to stop. However, as I write this note, the 55th International Whaling Commission is meeting in Berlin, still debating the issue after 55 years.

Representatives from fifty countries continue to discuss what to do with the whales while they are becoming extinct and disappearing from the seas. The most respected marine biologists and whale specialists in the world, authors of internationally recognized studies, continue to collide head-on with the lack of criteria and the absence of any logic from whaling countries that refuse to halt the killing.

No argument seems valid enough. Not even the latest studies demonstrating that whale watching generated an incredible sum of one billion, forty-nine million US dollars worldwide in 1998. It’s a rapidly growing industry that currently employs more people than the whale hunting industry. A study that proves that “observing” is better than “killing.” Even Japan, the only truly whaling country today, practices whale watching as a thriving business that grows day by day, while the killing industry inexorably declines because there will be no whales left to kill.

If the international context lacked spice, it was the support for Japan’s stance from countries such as Antigua and Bermuda, Benin, Dominica, Grenada, Guinea, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and the Solomon Islands. These are countries that do not engage in whale hunting but support Japan in exchange for hopes of future benefits. Most of these countries are islands surrounded by the sea that is intended to be killed. Most of these countries practice whale watching but illogically vote for the continuation of the killing.

Over the past two hundred years, whales have become a symbol of persecution, slaughter, and slow agony. Today, they are a clear symbol of absurd negotiation, corruption, and many years of useless discussion. They have become a symbol of human incapacity to solve its own problems.

Saving the whales is so easy, desperately easy, that it only requires stopping their killing. Saving whales from extinction is so simple that if human beings cannot save them, there will be nothing in this world that we can save.

I dream of a sea with whales swimming freely. I dream that someday the International Whaling Commission will stop discussing the undeniable and cease to practice what is already impractical. It should begin, once and for all, to defend life before it’s too late, before the last whale becomes extinct.

“One cannot defend what one does not love, and one cannot love what one does not know.”