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"Save the Whales!" One of the earliest slogans of the environmental movement, it galvanized a generation of conservationists. Awe-inspiring behemoths that breached the ocean's waves and could communicate with one another underwater, whales inspired public support in a way endangered snail darters and obscure plants never could. And to a significant extent, the campaign worked: A quarter-century after the first anti-hunting regulations were approved, several whale populations have stabilized and a few seem to be rebounding. Now, in light of that comeback, delegates from around the world will decide in the coming weeks if they should condone commercial hunts once more. The International Whaling Commission will consider a controversial plan seeking a truce in the battle that has raged since a global whaling ban took effect in 1986.
Japanese schools are currently trying to figure out a way to get children to eat the meat for lunch, possibly turning to whale burgers or fish stick-style preparations. But some Japanese traditionalists still enjoy gamey, unadorned strips of whale meat sashimi.