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Urge President Obama to protect whales, not whaling
This March, members of an International Whaling Commission (IWC) working group met to discuss the future of the commission, including a deal that would reinstate commercial whaling and spell disaster for whales. WSPA is adamantly opposed to this deal and fighting to save the ban on commercial whaling. Years of dead-end discussions about ongoing and escalating catches of whales by Japan, Iceland and Norway have led to frustration on both sides of the debate. Nothing could be more disastrous to fragile whale populations than caving to political pressure rather than listening to scientists about the best way to protect them. If this proposal is put into place, thousands of whales will continue to face slow and painful deaths by exploding harpoons.

Take action: Protect the whaling ban, protect whales!
On June 22 over 80 governments will meet to decide the future of the world’s whales. More than 25 years after the global ban on commercial whaling was passed, these intelligent mammals are in danger once more. At the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) annual meeting in Portugal, member countries will consider a proposal to allow coastal whaling – effectively lifting the international ban and spelling disaster for whales. Instead, this proposal would open the floodgates for this cruel industry to grow worldwide. Many hundreds will suffer from horrific explosion wounds for up to an hour before finally dying. The world’s whales urgently need you to tell your national representative at the International Whaling Commission to uphold the blanket ban on commercial whaling.

The whales granted a reprieve at the International Whaling Commission
After two days behind closed doors, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has failed to reach consensus on the future of whaling, and has 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’s evidence critical in victory for whale welfare
WSPA’s undercover investigation revealed that 25% of whales killed by Greenland – which they are permitted to hunt only for aboriginal subsistence purposes – are sold commercially, resulting in significant profit and exploding the myth that their whaling quotas are purely subsistence based. Last week we presented IWC commissioners with our compelling evidence, providing them with the information necessary to ensure a ‘no’ vote on June 26 from a majority 36 of the 65 voting nations. WSPA’s Claire Bass commented on the vote from the IWC meeting: “This is fantastic news as fewer whales will be cruelly killed. This is important step in preventing an erosion of the worldwide commercial whaling ban which has been in place since 1986.

WSPA condemns Japanese whaling fleets
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has condemned the Japanese fleets setting off for another season of cruel whale killing. For the first time since the 1960s, humpback whales will be hunted commercially. "It is clear that people all over the world are distressed about the killing of whales and the attempt to call it ‘scientific research‘ is a highly dubious excuse for harming such magnificent and intelligent mammals. "We must never forget that whaling causes slow and painful deaths. The whales are struck by explosive harpoons and can take over an hour to die. "WSPA believes that the hunger to kill whales is being replaced by a hunger to understand and protect them in their natural environment.

WSPA: Redefining the whaling debate
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. Since then, member nations have been locked in unproductive debates about the possible resumption of whaling. 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. 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.

Spring brings bloody waters in Norway - the whaling season has started
Sadly this will be the first of up to 1,052 whales which Norway is set to kill this season, in hunts which result in prolonged and extreme suffering as many whales do not die straight away. Data from the Norwegian Government itself reveals that 1 in 5 whales suffer long and painful deaths, some taking an hour or more to die after being hit with explosive harpoons. A recent poll showed that almost two thirds of Norwegians believe that it is unacceptable for a whale to take more than 15 minutes to die once shot. Ellingsen is currently responsible for processing approximately a third of the total catch each year.

Norwegian whaling season begins as appetite for whale meat fades
Norway’s 2011 whaling season – which will permit the killing of up to 1,286 whales between April and August – kicked off on Apr. 1, despite growing public opinion against the cruelty of whaling. Norwegian hunts kill whales using exploding harpoons which – according to the government’s own figures – fail to kill approximately 20% of whales instantly, causing them to suffer slow and painful deaths. In the coming days, animal welfare groups campaigning against Norwegian whaling are set to release a new study that demonstrates that, in addition to the growing concern over the way in which these animals are killed, the products from whale hunts no longer have viable markets.

WSPA denounces latest proposal to 'trade whale quotas'
In the latest issue of Nature, through a feature entitled "Conversation Science: A market approach to saving the whales," three researchers proposed a system that would give countries permits to catch a certain number of whales. WSPA criticizes this proposal on grounds that it ignores a fundamental reality: that whales are conscious, intelligent animals who suffer slow, agonizing deaths when hit by the whalers’ exploding harpoons. The researchers estimate that whaling generates about $31 million a year in profits, while environmental groups spend about $25 million campaigning against whaling. Read more about whale watching, including how to distinguish a responsible tour operator from one that puts whales at risk.

Take Action: Stop Icelandic Whaling
Iceland’s whaling activities have recently increased despite global bans on whaling and trade of whale meat and products. In 2010 alone, 148 endangered fin whales and 60 minke whales were slaughtered by Icelandic whalers and more than 750 tons of whale meat and products were exported to Japan. Please politely urge the Secretaries to protect whales by stopping Iceland’s defiant whaling program. There is no humane way to kill whales at sea and even well-aimed exploding harpoons are not always fatal – meaning that the hunts often involve prolonged and intense suffering. Once certified, the President can impose trade sanctions or prohibit imports of the certified country’s products.

Norway’s whaling: disregarding welfare, defying logic
Norway’s recently announced 2010 whaling quota is their largest since choosing to defy the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium – effectively a ban – on commercial whaling in 1993. But as Norway take hunting to new levels, so WSPA’s defense of whale welfare is growing. These will be presented to the government as the whaling season begins, along with our request for an urgent review of its pro-whaling position. Gather evidence We are confident that our soon-to-be commissioned independent study of the economics of Norway’s whale usage will demonstrate that whale watching has the potential to be a more lucrative and sustainable industry than whaling, and is the future for Norway's relationship with whales.

California Residents: Help End the Sale of Illegal Whale Meat in Japan
Despite the 1986 ban on commercial whaling adopted by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), Japan continues to hunt hundreds of whales annually under its so-called “scientific” whaling program – and then sells the meat for commercial profit. The majority of Japan’s whaling occurs within the Southern Ocean Sanctuary, which was established by the IWC to protect these animals. Recent investigations have revealed that FamilyMart, a major retailer in Japan with more than 7,500 convenience stores throughout the country, sells canned whale meat from animals hunted in the North Pacific and Antarctic Oceans in 25% of stores surveyed. Although Famima!! does not sell whale meat in its U.S. stores, WSPA is asking residents of California to contact the CEO of Famima!! and ask him to use his influence to encourage FamilyMart to permanently end the sale of all whale products from its stores.

Report exposes suffering at whale and dolphin attractions
The fourth edition of the report reflects the changing nature of the captive display industry. The demand from the tourism industry for marine mammal attractions at these facilities has resulted in increasing live animal captures from wild populations, particularly in Asia, the Caribbean, Russia and the South Pacific. However, captive animals are rarely considered ideal research subjects when attempting to answer questions related to wild populations and conservation. Marine mammals are some of the most charismatic creatures on the planet and it is certainly understandable that people are drawn to them. WSPA and the HSUS believe there can be no justification for subjecting these animals to traumatic captures and an impoverished quality of life.

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