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New Zealanders oppose whaling deal


New Zealanders oppose whaling deal

The New Zealand Government has the opportunity to oppose commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commissions (IWC), which is to be held in Chile next week. According to research released today by The Nielsen Company, more than three-quarters of New Zealanders believe that the New Zealand Government should continue to oppose any form of commercial whaling.

Many countries, including New Zealand, have indicated willingness to come to the table to discuss a deal which could legitimize whaling. One option being considered is a new category of coastal whaling in exchange for an agreement by Japan to stop its “scientific” whaling.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals’ Programmes Manager, Bridget Vercoe, said the Nielsen Company research clearly showed that instead of brokering deals on new categories of whaling, New Zealanders wanted their Government to work towards an end to commercial whaling.

According to the research, 92% of New Zealanders supported the worldwide whaling ban, with 97% citing cruelty as their reason for supporting the ban.

Ms Vercoe said that strong opposition to commercial whaling was part of New Zealand’s national identity.

“New Zealand has long prided itself as a leader in animal welfare. Scenes of bleeding, thrashing whales being dragged on to whaling ships horrifies most New Zealanders.”

“Although only a handful of countries have any desire to practice whaling, the IWC, charged with the conservation and management of the world’s whale populations, spends the vast majority of its time and resources pandering to their interests to the neglect of its conservation mandate.”

“In today’s world any attempt to hunt these long-lived, slow breeding mammals can only be considered irresponsible and needlessly cruel,” she said.

ENDS


Notes to the editor

• Whales are usually killed with explosive harpoons that detonate inside their bodies. Despite the power of the explosive harpoon, a second penthrite harpoon or a rifle is often needed to kill the whale.

• During some hunts it can take over an hour for whales to die.

• The meat from whaling operations is used for human consumption. The killing methods for whales fall well short of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines for the humane slaughter of animals for human consumption.

• Whale watching is economically more significant and sustainable to more communities and people worldwide than whaling is. The whale watching industry is estimated to be a U.S $1.25 billion industry enjoyed by over 10 million people in more than 90 countries each year.

• The Nielsen Company Research surveyed 1,000 New Zealanders over the age of 15 between 23 to 29 January 2008.

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