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Disastrous proposal from IWC could harpoon commercial whaling ban

April 21, 2010

London, England: On April 22, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) is set to publish a proposal which, reports suggest, would destroy the 24-year ban on commercial whaling. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is outraged by the plan, which fails to acknowledge the fundamental problem with commercial whaling: that it is inherently inhumane.

Claire Bass, WSPA’s Marine Mammal Program Manager, said today, “The fact that this proposal is even being discussed shows just how far out of touch the IWC is with modern values - it is entirely missing the point that blasting conscious animals with exploding harpoons is grossly inhumane.”

The deal, championed by the United States, has emerged at the end of a 2-year series of negotiations to decide a future for the IWC, aimed at resolving conflict between anti- and pro-whaling nations. The deadly proposal, to be published by an advisory group of the IWC, will be voted on at the annual meeting of the IWC in June. If adopted in June, it would effectively lift the international moratorium on commercial whaling and award whaling quotas to Japan, Norway and Iceland for a 10-year period.

Animal welfare and conservation groups are united in opposition to the proposal, which would also mean a U-turn on years of opposition to rogue whaling operations by Japan, Norway and Iceland.

“Commercial whaling is cruel, archaic and unnecessary, it has no place in the 21st century. A proposal to resuscitate the world’s dying whaling industries would be a huge step backwards for animal welfare and conservation globally,” added Bass.

WSPA’s Marine Mammals Program team will be available for comment and analysis on the proposal as soon as it is published.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is the world’s largest alliance of animal welfare organizations, currently representing more than 1,000 member societies in over 156 countries. WSPA strives to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends. We bring about change at both grassroots and governmental levels, to benefit animals.


Notes to editors

1. WSPA is part of Whalewatch ( a global network of 50 non-governmental organizations united by a common opposition to whaling on welfare grounds.

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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