Japanese Whale Hunt

IFAW: Japanese whaling fleet sets sail for Antarctica - with humpback whales added to target list
Monday, 19 Nov 2007 08:04

Japanese whaling fleet sets sail for Antarctica – with humpback whales added to target list

(Shimonoseki, Japan - 18 November 2007) In defiance of growing international pressure and a global whaling ban, Japan launched its whaling fleet this morning (Sun) for an international whale sanctuary around Antarctica to kill more than 1,000 whales – this time its harpoons will also be trained on the threatened humpback whale for the first time in decades.

The whaling fleet is heading for Antarctica’s Southern Ocean Sanctuary, an internationally recognised sanctuary for whales, where over the next four months it will hunt 935 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales, as well as adding 50 vulnerable humpback whales to the target list. The humpback had been protected from commercial whaling for more than 40 years after being hunted to near extinction in the last century.

Japan claims its expanding annual whale hunts are for “scientific” purposes, but little science has been produced and the whale meat is put on sale in restaurants and supermarkets. New findings from international legal experts in recent weeks have challenged Japan’s claim that its expanding whaling is legal under international law. Organisations including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - http://www.ifaw.org) are calling for an end to Japan’s so-called scientific whaling.

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “IFAW opposes whaling because it is inherently cruel – [b]there is simply no humane way to kill a whale[/b]. Our scientists have analysed footage of Japanese whaling which shows whales taking over half an hour to die a very slow and agonising death.

“Killing endangered whales for products that nobody needs is beneath the dignity of a great nation like Japan. It’s time for Japan to put away the harpoons and join the emerging global consensus for whale conservation in the 21st Century.”

A global moratorium on commercial whaling was adopted by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986. Japan’s self-allocated “scientific” whaling quota for 2007/8 includes more than 1,400 whales of seven different species: Antarctic minke, common minke, fin, sei, Brydes, sperm and humpback whales from the North Pacific and the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica, established by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1994.

Legal analyses by international panels of independent legal experts convened in Paris and London have found Japan’s expanding whaling to be in violation of IWC regulations and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

IFAW is calling on the UK Government, and the governments of other anti-whaling countries, to take diplomatic action at the highest level to halt Japan’s whaling.

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