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Tragic day for humpback whales

June 25, 2010

Agadir, Morocco -- The International Whaling Commission today buckled under pressure from Denmark when it narrowly approved a proposal for Greenland to hunt 9 humpback whales each year for the next three years, supposedly for subsistence use. The World Society for the Protection of Animals strongly condemns the move.

Despite strong statements of opposition from many governments, acting IWC Chair Anthony Liverpool asked those in opposition not to block this proposal. In a shocking and disappointing u-turn, the 25-strong EU block pledged their support, while numerous Latin American members opposed this highly controversial request.

Marine Mammal Programs Manager, Joanna Toole, said: “We are extremely disappointed that some members of the IWC have buckled under relentless pressure from Denmark. The EU's support is shameful - they've signed a death warrant for 27 humpbacks. What is the point of protecting whales in EU waters and then voting for them to be harpooned just a few hundred miles further north?”

Greenland last caught humpback whales in 1986 and has provided no convincing evidence of a subsistence need to start catching them again. WSPA’s 2008 investigation showed that around a quarter of Greenland’s whaling is commercial in nature and it seems that commercial demand is only increasing.

Joanna continued: “Crude slaughter methods mean that these gentle and charismatic humpbacks will suffer immensely when killed - all to end up on supermarket shelves or to satisfy the appetites and curiosities of tourists in luxury restaurants. Inflicting such immense cruelty in the name of profit is simply unacceptable to WSPA.”

WSPA Costa Rica’s Program Manager, Marcela Vargas, said: “Whales do not belong to one particular country, they belong to us all. The humpback whales which Greenland plans to kill around its coast, migrate to the breeding grounds around the coast of the Caribbean and Central America where there is a flourishing whale watching industry. This humpback hunt will seriously affect the lives of the people in the Caribbean and Central America who rely on whales for their whale watching industries.”


Notes to editors:
WSPA's position on aboriginal subsistence whaling
WSPA does not contest the hunting rights of indigenous peoples with genuine and proven subsistence need and where product use is local and non-commercial.

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

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