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IWC Agrees Call To Action On Whale Welfare

IWC Agrees Call To Action On Whale Welfare

SORRENTO, Italy - Resolution on the suffering of whales passed at IWC. International agreement on the need to address the inherent cruelty of whaling was reached today at the 56th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Sorrento, Italy. The Resolution by New Zealand, with 16 co-sponsoring countries, calls for action to stop the suffering involved in modern day whaling activities and reconfirms the IWC’s mandate to address animal welfare issues.

“This is a real victory for whale welfare. For too long, the inherent cruelty of whaling has been ignored, despite the IWC’s mandate to address welfare issues”, says Major General Peter Davies, coordinator of WhaleWatch, an unprecedented coalition of over 140 animal welfare societies in more than 55 countries led by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

“Far too many whales have suffered and continue to suffer agonising deaths from the whalers’ harpoon. We are delighted that the IWC has agreed that cruelty can no longer be tolerated and that committed action should be taken to stop it.”

The Resolution on whale killing issues: Recognises that the welfare of hunted whales is an issue of international concern; Reconfirms the IWC’s mandate to address welfare issues; Recognises that current whaling methods do not guarantee death without pain, stress or distress.

Calls on the IWC to reconvene its regular Working Group on ‘Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues’, which was dramatically dropped from this year’s agenda, in what was seen by many animal welfare organisations as a clear sign that the IWC was not taking welfare seriously.

New Zealand’s Resolution was co-sponsored by the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Austria, Mexico, South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, India, Argentina, Finland and the United States of America. It was passed by a simple majority vote of 29 votes to 22 against.

The WhaleWatch coalition launched a global campaign in March this year to urge the IWC to watch whale welfare. This included publication of a scientific report, ‘Troubled Waters’, with foreword by naturalist and broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough. The report concluded that in whaling there is no reliably humane way to kill a whale at sea

Over 20,000 great whales have been killed since the ban on commercial whaling came into force in 1986. Between them, Norway, Japan and Iceland are already at sea killing hundreds of whales in commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whale hunts which are likely to command a death toll of about 1,400 whales this year alone. The Whalewatch coalition is calling for an end to all commercial and ‘scientific’ whaling operations.

Leading organisations in the Whalewatch coalition include Campaign Whale, Care for the Wild International, Danish Animal Welfare Society, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Fondation Brigitte Bardot, Japan Animal Welfare Society, Lega Anti Vivisezione (LAV), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), RSPCA, WDCS (Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society), and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

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