Celebrities and environmental groups are demanding that Japan reverse its decision to resume whaling, condemning the "cruel and archaic practice that has no place in the 21st century."
An open letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe criticizes Tokyo's decision to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC), as activists plan a peaceful protest march at the Japanese embassy in London on Saturday
Actors Ricky Gervais and Joanna Lumley, announcers Stephen Fry and Ben Fogle, and naturalist Chris Packham are among the signatories. Packham said: "To the utter chagrin of the rest of the world, Japan is trying to resume whaling." We do not need statements of disgust, we need penalties that harm. If the shame doesn't change the Japanese, then the economic pain could. '
Japan faces international condemnation after confirming in December that it will resume commercial whaling in July for the first time in more than 30 years. Greenpeace has disputed Japan's view that whale populations have recovered.
Japan has killed 8,201 minke whales in Antarctica since 1986, activists say.
The protest march to the Japanese embassy in London is scheduled for noon on Saturday and is organized by the London Committee for the Abolition of Whaling.
Fogle, a UN patron in the desert, said: “Whaling is a despicable practice that offends our most basic humanity. I ask Japan to heed the wealth of global voices calling for an end to a senseless slaughter of whales once and for all. "
The open letter asks Abe to stop whaling and rejoin the IWC. “There is no human way to kill a whale. "Whales die in agony when harpooned, often taking a long time to die in bloody and painful conditions," he says.
"There is really no justification or need to resume commercial whaling for cultural, commercial, scientific or ethical reasons," adds the letter, published in the Daily Telegraph.
In Japan, where the amount of whale meat consumed has dropped from 233,000 tons in 1962 to 3,000 tons in 2016, "clearly there is no longer a great demand for this meat," the letter says.
It adds that the protection and international ban on whaling is "critical" and that some species of whales, almost exterminated due to commercial hunting, are slowly recovering.
Signatories also include primatologist Jane Goodall, Born Free Foundation actor Virginia McKenna and Will Travers, television and radio host Nicky Campbell, naturalist Steve Backshall and broadcaster Selina Scott.
Original article (in English)