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Whaling footage shows severe suffering and cruelty

News statement
7 February 2006

Whaling footage shows severe suffering and cruelty

New footage released by the Australian government of Japanese whalers engaged in their cruel and bloody hunt in the Southern Ocean confirms - once again - the inherent cruelty of whaling.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)’s analysis of the footage reveals evidence of the severe cruelty and suffering inflicted on whales in the Japanese whale hunt. WSPA New Zealand’s Programmes Manager, Bridget Vercoe, makes the following observations:

“In several of the pictures we see harpooned whales alive and fully conscious, thrashing in the water and even attempting to dive against the harpoon line in a desperate attempt to escape. It is clear that in some cases the harpoon has entirely penetrated the whale’s body; one whale is seen blowing blood through its blowhole as a esult of the devastating internal injuries caused by the harpoon.

“Whaling nations claim that whales which are shot in the head or between the neck and the abdomen die instantly, but here we see several whales still alive and conscious despite being shot near the head. The fact is that the whalers deliberately use the minimum amount of explosive charge to disable the whale; their priority is not the welfare of the animal but the preservation of as much meat as possible.

This year over 1,400 whales will be slaughtered by Japan. Japan’s own statistics show that up to 60% of these animals will not die immediately. In four weeks time the IWC, which manages whale populations worldwide, will be meeting to discuss its future.

WSPA is calling on its supporters to add their name to a global petition which asks the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to shift turn its attention to protecting whales - and turn its back on whaling.

Ms Vercoe concluded ‘’The Australian government’s footage is yet more evidence of what we’ve known all along – whaling causes slow agonising deaths to intelligent, sociable animals. Whales simply cannot be killed humanely at sea, which is why whaling must stop.’

You can find out more about the cruelty of whaling and sign the petition by visiting www.wspa-international.org

*ENDS *

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