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The whales granted a reprieve at the International Whaling Commission

June 23, 2010

Agadir, Morocco –  After two days behind closed doors, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has failed to reach consensus on the future of whaling and therefore postponed a vote that could have seen an increase in commercial whaling quotas for the first time in 25 years. WSPA is happy that the whales have been given a reprieve and urge the IWC member states to use the “cooling off period” to consider the inherent cruelty of whaling.

As the IWC plenary sessions reconvene today it is clear that the negotiations have been futile and that the proposal to partially lift the ban on commercial whaling will not be put to a vote at this meeting. WSPA is disappointed that the proposal wasn’t rejected outright – consigning commercial whaling to the history books once and for all – but recommends using the coming months to seriously address the fundamental welfare problems of whaling.

WSPA’s Marine Mammal Program Manager, Joanna Toole, said: “Whales have been granted a reprieve but they’re not out of danger yet. WSPA is calling on the IWC and its 88 member countries to wake up to the simple fact that whaling is unacceptably cruel and has no place in the 21st century. WSPA will continue our vital work in Norway to shut down this industry – in the meantime the IWC must maintain and strengthen the whaling ban.”

During the morning session of the IWC meetings, several countries, including Monaco, Costa Rica and Germany, put forward alternative suggestions that included “non-lethal” use of whales such as whale watching.

WSPA’s Marine Mammal Program Manager, Joanna Toole, said: “We will attempt to work with the non-whaling nations to make sure that whales – not whaling - become the future of the IWC.”
 
Earlier this month WSPA released appalling new footage which shows the brutal reality of whaling in Norway, and demonstrated why the international ban on commercial whaling must be enforced - not lifted. The footage was captured at an investigation carried out by WSPA in late May working alongside partners Norwegian Society for the Protection of Animals (Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge) and NOAH – for Dyrs Rettigheter.

To schedule an interview or for further information, please contact:
Lasse Bruun, International Media Consultant, WSPA: +44 (0)79 2028 0640 or email: lassebruun@wspa-international.org

Notes to editors

Rather than prop up a dying industry, animal protection groups believe the Norwegian government should invest in developing its whale watching industry – by far the most profitable, sustainable and humane use of whales in the 21st century.

WSPA, Dyresbeskyttelsen Norge and NOAH- for dyrs rettigheter are all members of Whalewatch, a global network of 50 non-governmental organizations opposed to commercial whaling on welfare grounds – www.whalewatch.org

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

A fin whale underwater