Secret government meetings could usher in a new era of legal commercial whaling for the first time in more than 20 years, the Independent reports. Twenty-eight whaling and anti-whaling nations have met twice to reach a compromise on the ban, which came after the near-extinction of many species. Environmentalists say the plan amounts to “waving the white flag” to whaling nations such as Japan.
While the International Whaling Commission has been ineffective for decades, Japan has continued killing whales for "scientific" purposes, though it has also sold whale meat for food. An animal rights advocate called the unpublicized talks "a political fix to give Japan what it wants," but a diplomat leading the negotiations says the "possibly painful" compromise is "eminently practical."