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WSPA: Redefining the whaling debate

Jun 20, 2008

WSPA will be at the 60th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Chile next week, lobbying for the ban on commercial whaling to continue on welfare grounds and for a change in IWC focus. 

The IWC, formed to regulate whaling and conserve whale populations, introduced a commercial ban in 1986. Since then, member nations have been locked in unproductive debates about the possible resumption of whaling.

Over 20 years on, WSPA wants to reframe the debate. Rather than ‘how many whales can be killed sustainably?’, the key question must be: ‘as whales cannot be killed humanely at sea, should they be hunted at all?’

Focus on the future: conservation and research

This year’s meeting offers an opportunity to tell whaling and non-whaling member nations that the time has come for the IWC to devote its resources to protecting these animals and encouraging a sustainable industry of whale watching, helping us understand more about how these creatures live. Read our Time to Refocus report >>

We have evidence that the public agree: in just two months over 34,200 people from 66 countries signed WSPA’s online letter calling for this change in focus and denouncing the cruelty of whaling. 

WSPA is displaying Bryant Austin’s stunning photography at the meeting – see slideshow above – and giving a copy of our film The Hidden Lives of Whales to all IWC commissioners and national representatives. We hope the stunning images and unique footage will serve as a reminder of how much we still have to learn about these animals. Watch the film now

A strong, sound call for change

Our new report – Whaling: defying international commitments to animal welfare? – asks why humane slaughter guidelines that international bodies accord to farm animals are absent from the whaling debate, when sound research proves there is no way to kill whales at sea without causing intense suffering.

WSPA will be asking commissioners to make the commercial ban permanent on these grounds.

We will also be calling on those nations defying the ban to provide full welfare data to the IWC. Withholding information prevents a full discussion about the welfare of hunted whales – which WSPA can prove is massively compromised – and ultimately hides the ugly truth.

You also have a voice. Please write to whaling nations and encourage them to turn away from unsustainable and cruel activities.  Sample letters and embassy addresses >>

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Whales not whaling

It's time to focus on whales, and consign whaling to history

A minke whale, copyright Matt Curnock