Canon Can Save Whales

Feature story - June 19, 2008
In a highly unusual scene for central New Jersey, a whale tail broke the surface of a pond outside Canon Inc.’s offices. Greenpeace activists soon arrived alongside the creature in one of the organization’s iconic inflatable boats holding a banner proclaiming: “Canon Can Save Whales.”

Greenpeace delivered the whale tail prop to call attention to the photography giant's unwillingness to oppose Japan's whale hunt, which has been widely condemned by the international community and rejected by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Canon's global headquarters is based in Japan and the CEO of the company's Japan division also heads the Japanese Business Federation, which courts substantial influence with the country's prime minister and government. The IWC is holding its 60th annual meeting in Santiago, this week.

Japan has long contended that the hunt is needed to collect scientific data on whales, and Canon has said that it would not address the whaling controversy until consensus has been reached as to the program's scientific value. But for years there has been scientific consensus that the hunt offers no meaningful contribution to whale research as well as international public outrage against the needless brutality the program inflicts on whales. Since the program began in 1987, it has not produced any peer-reviewed papers and the IWC has repeatedly rejected the scientific justification for the hunt.

Greenpeace is urging Canon to make the following statement: "Canon is committed to building a better world for future generations, and does not support the hunting of endangered or threatened species with anything other than a camera. Canon believes the lethal whaling research program in the Southern Ocean should be ended, and replaced with a non-lethal research program."    

Canon says on its website that it wants to "hand over a beautiful earth for future generations." We think the earth would be incredibly less beautiful without whales. Don't you?

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