Sea Shepherdの活動は？ オーストラリアの学生に捕鯨問題に聞かれたら、どのような意見を伝えますか？
“I don’t agree to hunt whales, but have you thought if you are told by people from other countries to stop killing kangaroos because they are beautiful and friendly. No one has the right to criticize their culture. If you put yourself in the other person’s shoes; this may even be a shortcut to solving the problem.”
Hunting whales is a controversial issue that’s been back in the news lately. Anti-whaling protestors from a group called Sea Shepherd were accused of ramming a Japanese whaling ship. There’s been a debate about who was to blame but one thing we can be sure of it’s got lots of people talking about whaling again. Here’s Tash.
NATASHA THIELE, REPORTER: In the cold waters of the Southern Ocean, an intense battle is on between two sides. But this isn’t a battle over politics or land. It’s over an animal!
Whales are one of the largest and most intelligent animals in the world. But for centuries, they’ve also been hunted.
Commercial whaling in Australia goes back almost 200 years and it was a big business. Blubber, which is the fatty stuff found under a whale’s skin, was used in things like soaps, candles and cosmetics.
REPORTER: In the old days, whale bones were sometimes used in clothing. Ladies would wear corsets like this under their dresses, to make their waist look small. They were made with whale bones.
In some countries, whales have also been a source of food. But over the years, whale numbers declined, putting some species at risk of extinction.
People wanted something done about the issue. So in the early 1980s, a heap of countries got together to look into commercial whaling. Some wanted it to continue. But in 1986, the majority of those countries signed an agreement to ban commercial whaling.
REPORTER: There is an exception to the ban. Scientists need to be able to study whales to find out more about them, so countries are allowed to kill a certain number of whales each year for research.
This is what Japan says it’s doing. Japanese fishing boats hunt mostly minke and fin whales. These whales are found in many parts of the world. Although they’re not endangered, fin whales are a threatened species. The boats head out every year and can hunt almost a-thousand whales. Japanese whalers say it’s all for science, but some people reckon it’s more to do with selling the whale meat.
But some groups want Japan to stop whaling all together. The Sea Shepherd is an activist group that was set up to protect whales and other marine life. Some of the things they do can be pretty extreme and dangerous. Recently, they’ve been trying to stop a Japanese ship from hunting whales in waters that are under Australian protection. At one stage, the boats came so close they ended up crashing into each other, although no one will take the blame. Japan says the Sea Shepherd is putting lives at risk by going near their ships. But the group says that they’re the ones being attacked.
Some people think we should send in the Australian Navy or customs vessels to sort things out. But the government is leaving it up to an international court, where the issue will be argued later this year. For now, the Japanese ships appear to be heading towards home, which has lifted the hopes of the protestors that perhaps the whaling season may be over for this year at least.
1. Before watching the BtN Whaling story, discuss the whaling debate as a class.
2. What group were accused of ramming into a Japanese whaling ship?
3. In what ocean is the whaling in this story occurring?
a. Southern Ocean
b. Arctic Ocean
c. Pacific Ocean
4. What is the name of the fatty substance under a whale’s skin?
5. In the past, what things were made from blubber? List three items.
6. Over the years whale numbers have declined due to whaling which have put some species at risk of extinction. True or false?
7. Japanese fishing boats are hunting mostly what type of whale?
8. Japanese whalers are saying it is all for __________, but some people believe that’s not true.
9. List reasons why whales are important to people from different cultures.
10. Do you think that whaling should be allowed to continue? Explain your answer.
Teacher Resources: Activity file