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Two generations of whales killed with one harpoon

26 July 2006

Japan killing two generations of whales with one harpoon

News that almost 60 percent of female whales killed by Japan in Antarctica over summer were pregnant is being greeted with dismay by Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei.

A Japanese Government report shows that 224 out of 391 female Minke whales killed by Japanese whalers were pregnant, as were 2 out of 10 female Fin whales. Anti-whaling campaigners also claim that 90 percent the total whale take were killed inside the area of the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

"These figures are appalling. Not only is Japan slaughtering large numbers of whales in the name of scientific research whose meat ends up languishing in stockpiles or on institutional menus, but it now transpires that they are wiping out the next generation at the same time," Mrs Turei says.

"The Japanese Government claims that Minke whales can be harvested sustainably, but their claim is seriously undermined by this news. 60 percent of the time they are not just killing one female whale, but her baby as well. This will have a huge impact on the overall Minke whale population, both now and in the future.

"It is also very bad news if claims that 90 percent of whales are taken from within the Australian Whale Sanctuary are true. The Australian Humane Society is currently seeking an injunction against a Japanese company to prevent them from whaling inside the sanctuary and I can only hope that this important action is successful.

"In the meantime, I hope New Zealand's Conservation Minister Chris Carter will raise the issue of pregnant whales with Japanese Ambassador Masaki Saito when they go on a whale-watching tour together tomorrow in Kaikoura.

"Perhaps if Mr Saito is luckily enough to see a pregnant or baby whale during his tour he will be compelled to urge his Government to stop this cruel and dangerous slaughter of pregnant female whales," Mrs Turei says.


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