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IWC proposal could harpoon commercial whaling ban

Apr 23, 2010

A disastrous proposal by the IWC could see the end of the 24-year ban on commercial whaling.

The so-called ‘compromise deal’ risks turning back the clock to the 1980s, and would be a death warrant for almost 13,000 whales over the next ten years.  Although the whaling nations - Iceland, Norway and Japan - constantly flout the internationally agreed ban, the deal would realize no significant overall reduction in the number of whales killed. Instead it would legitimize these cruel hunts and risk opening the floodgates for this archaic and unnecessary industry to expand.

The IWC - out of touch

This proposal shows just how far out of touch the IWC is with modern values - it entirely misses the point that blasting whales with exploding harpoons is grossly inhumane. Moves to resuscitate the world’s dying whaling industries are a huge backwards step for animal welfare and conservation globally.

The proposal follows two years of negotiations to agree a future for the IWC and resolve conflict between anti-and pro-whaling nations. It will be voted on at the IWC annual meeting this June.

Why this proposal is a disaster

Animal welfare and conservation groups including WSPA are united in opposing the proposal. If passed, it would:

  • award, for the first time in over 25 years, commercial whaling quotas, wholly undermining the whaling ban 

  • mean international endorsement of unnecessary animal suffering 

  • set a precedent for other countries wishing to start commercial whaling 

  • allow commercial whaling in a designated whale sanctuary 

  • fail to properly address existing loopholes in the whaling ban so in 10 years the IWC faces the same deadlock 

  • demolish 20 years of IWC criticism of Japan, Norway and Iceland for their flouting of the whaling ban 

  • mean tax-payers in anti-whaling countries would be subsidizing commercial whaling

Norwegians make their views known

This week Norwegian animal welfare organizations Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge and NOAH – for dyrs rettigheter captured media and public attention when they handed Norwegian MP and leader of the Business and Industry Committee, Terje Aasland a petition of over 4,000 signatures from members of the Norwegian public opposed to their government’s whaling policy.

As this protest demonstrates, as well as being condemned by the international community, whaling also has considerable opposition from the public in Norway, and now is certainly not the time for the IWC to be adopting a proposal which would legitimize this outdated and unnecessary industry.


Saving the whaling ban

WSPA will be working hard to lobby governments before June to derail this dangerous deal, and instead encourage a healthy focus on the IWC’s future as a body to manage whale conservation and whale watching.

Please help us show the Norwegian government that whaling is no good for whales or Norway’s international reputation – sign our petition now.

Photo credited to: Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge

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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