South Korea’s Plan to Continue Whale Hunting Earns Criticism

August 18, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. environmentalist (n.) 
[en-vahy-ruhn-men-tl-ist, -vahy-ern-] – a person concerned with protecting the environment and nature
Example: The school invited an environmentalist to talk about global warming.

2. formulate (v.) [fawr-myuh-leyt] – to come up with an idea or a plan
Example: The students were asked to formulate solutions to the city’s garbage problems.

3. front (n.) [fruhnt] – something used to hide or disguise an illegal or bad activity
Example: The research equipment on the boat was only a front for illegal fishing.

4. legitimate (adj.) [li-jit-uh-mit] –  accepted as true by rules or standards
Example: Before a business can become legitimate, government agencies must approve it.

5. considerably (adv.) [kuhn-sid-er-uh-blee] – greatly;  in a large amount or number
Example: Due to overhunting through the years, the number of tigers went down considerably.

Read the text below.

South Korea has recently announced that it may resume whale hunting for the purpose of scientific research, but this news has gained much criticism from environmentalists.

Kang Jun-Sook, the South Korean representative to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), said that they are currently formulating a proposal to hunt minke whales. Fishermen have been complaining that whales are reducing fishes in the Korean Peninsula.

Kang explained they want to study the whales’ numbers and feeding habits, and they will need to kill the whales to do so.

South Korea plans to submit this proposal to the Scientific Committee of the IWC. The country may want to follow Japan, which is allowed to hunt whales only for scientific research under IWC’s rules.

However, many environmentalist groups do not agree with hunting whales for research. They think research is being used as a front to the real purpose—commercial whaling. The groups also emphasized that legitimate research can still be conducted without killing the whales.

Others said fishing mismanagement by humans is likely the reason for a decrease in fish supplies, not the presence of whales.

The World Wildlife Fund said minke whales are already in danger of disappearing due to a low population. But South Korea insists the number of minke whales has increased considerably.

Kang said whaling has been part of their traditions, and some still use whale meat for traditional cooking. Around 1,000 whales were killed each year in South Korea before the international rule on whaling took effect in 1986.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that animals need to be killed for scientific research or study? Why or why not?
·         For what other reasons or situations is it acceptable for an animal to be killed?

Discussion B

·         Do you believe that animal rights and well-being should be protected? Why or why not?
·         What can people do to help animals that already have very low populations?

August 18, 2012