William Hogarth, the outgoing head of the International Whaling Commission, stepped down. Appointed byGeorge W. Bush, this biologist leaves the IWC deeply divided and in a state of crisis.The scandal known as "Whalergate" broke under his watch, when activists exposed a clandestine deal that would allow Japan to kill more whales along its coast for reduced "research and scientific" hunts in the Antarctic. He also failed to negotiate an agreement with Japan, Korea and of other pro-slaughter nations ahead of this summer's IWC meeting, when key votes could see the resumption of commercial whaling this year.
News also broke yesterday that Iceland's whalers were heading to sea to hunt and kill 250 whales despite protests and letters of opposition from all around the world. Following the collapse of the nation's banks, Iceland's government had been taking out full page ads promoting whale slaughters as a way to ease the financial crisis. Meanwhile, with children observing 'to learn,' natives of the Faroe Islands killed 150 pilot whales. Inhabitants here claim the slaughter of pilot whales is a tradition that allegedly dates back 1200 years and point to the discovery of bone fragments found in Gøta to justify the hunt.