This Week's Report: Whale Hunting

Once hunted aggressively for their oil, blubber and other byproducts, whales and other marine mammals are widely viewed today as intelligent creatures in need of protection. But despite a voluntary moratorium on commercial whaling in place since 1986, Japan, Norway and Iceland still hunt whales, and Japan continues to slaughter dolphins for their meat.

As this week’s compelling report details, hunting of whales, dolphins and porpoises continues to spark bitter disputes between animal-welfare activists and countries that defend whaling as legitimate. Meanwhile, other forces are also threatening marine life. They include climate change, entanglement in commercial-fishing gear and ocean noise pollution.

This report includes sidebars on a rare dolphin species in China that has gone extinct and on links between underwater sonar testing and the death of marine mammals. The report is ideal for classes on environmental policy, animal rights and international politics.

-- Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor