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US urges Japan to stop whale hunt


Washington : The US has urged Japan against following through on plans to hunt and kill hundreds of whales in the coming months.

“We call on Japan to refrain from conducting this year’s hunt, especially with respect to humpback and fin whales,” US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Monday, noting the two types of whales are among the more endangered species.

A Japanese whaling fleet departed Sunday toward Antarctica hoping to catch 850 minke and 50 humpback and fin whales each. The Japanese claim the purpose is to conduct research on the whales, but environmental activists say it is just an excuse to put whale meat on the market and get around a 1986 international whaling ban.

“While recognising Japan’s legal rights, under the Whaling Convention, to conduct this hunt, we note that non-lethal research techniques are available to provide nearly all relevant data on whale population,” McCormack said.

McCormack also called on environmental protestors not to take any dangerous steps by trying to block the Japanese whaling fleet, warning it could pose a danger to crews and the environment itself.

“We also urge restraint and measured approaches from all sides in any protest activity that may be planned against the Japanese fleet,” he said.

Greenpeace has pledged to send a ship to try to intercept the Japanese vessels.