Whales will be the losers if talks collapse

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This week’s annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Morocco is already its most controversial since its implementation of the 1986 moratorium on the hunting of great whales.

At stake is the future of the blue whale, the fin whale, the humpback, the sperm whale and the minke. In the 20th century, 750,000 of these marine mammals were killed in the world’s oceans.

Yet they are still dying, at the hands of Norwegian, Icelandic and Japanese whalers who exploit loopholes in the 1986 agreement (a voluntary and temporary one, at best).

Pro-whalers claim there is no difference between killing cetaceans and domestic animals for food. This would be nonsense even if whales weren’t highly evolved creatures, capable