Roz Kidman Cox looks at the continuing conflict over the pursuit of whales since the International Whaling Commission voted for a moratorium on commercial hunting in 1982.

0120071119She recounts the story of the moratorium and listens to the views of pro- and anti-whalers on the basic issues of welfare, sustainability and necessity.
She examines the tactics that each side has adopted to try to gain the upper hand throughout the war.
02 LAST20071126Despite the 25-year ban, Japan continues to kill thousands of whales a year in the name of science while environmentalists complain that this is simply commercial whaling in a different guise.
But does this apparent conflict actually suit both sides?


  • Twenty-five years ago, deep in the Pacific above the Mariana trench, a group of whales broke out the bubbly, linked fins and began a victory song.
  • What they were celebrating, of course, was the international moratorium on commercial whaling.
  • The poor fools thought this would stop the harpooning, until they discovered that some countries had not signed up to it, while others would get around it by conducting "scientific" slaughter.
  • The Japanese, for example, still kill hundreds of minkes every year, presumably to check that yes, they are still covered with blubber and yes, it's still vaguely edible.
  • Will the seas ever be safe for our krill-eating friends? Roz Kidman-Cox reports in The War of the Whales (9pm, Radio 4).
  • - Guardian pick of the day for 20071119