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Commercial whaling resumes in Japan
"If they want to continue whaling, Sea Shepherd will continue to stand with the global community that wants to see an end to whaling."
Move criticised by conservationist groups

Commercial whaling has resumed in Japan following the country's decision to leave the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

According to BBC News, five vessels are expected to set sail in July with the whaling taking place within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The move comes after Japan failed to persuade the IWC to allow whale hunting under sustainable quotas.

In the mid-80s, Japan agreed to a temporary ban (or hunting moratorium) to allow whale populations to improve. But it assumed this would remain only until all members of the IWC could agree on sustainable quotas. Instead, the ban became almost permanent.

Under the ban, some nations were allowed to continue whaling for scientific purposes. Japan is believed to have taken advantage of this exception and, since agreeing to the moratorium, has destroyed between 200 and 1200 whales every year.

Japan said the killing was carried out to monitor stocks to determine a sustainable quota. But critics argue this was used as a disguise for Japan to hunt whales for food. Indeed, much of the meat from the killed whales is reported to have been sold.

Conservationist group Greenpeace Japan said in a statement that Japan’s withdrawal from the IWC “is out of step with the international community” and called on the government of Japan to “act urgently to conserve marine ecosystems, rather than resume commercial whaling”.

Sea Shepherd Global CEO Alex Cornelissen also criticised the move, saying: "We see the resumption of Japan's commercial whaling as merely a continuation of the Japanese Government's blatant disregard of international laws and treaties - a fight that we have been leading for over a decade.

'If they want to continue whaling, Sea Shepherd will continue to stand with the global community that wants to see an end to whaling."

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.