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Danish minister to sell out on commercial whaling

For immediate release: 15 June 2006

News Release

Danish minister to sell out on commercial whaling

Ignoring public opinion, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller has instructed Danish representatives at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in St Kitts to support a partial lifting of the international ban on commercial whaling.

Denmark, which also represents subsistence whaling communities in Greenland and the Faroe Islands at the IWC, is in favour of resuming commercial whaling in restricted areas, according to the Danish Broadcast Incorporation.

Birgith Sloth, Danish spokesperson for the Whalewatch coalition in St Kitts, said: “If Greenland complies with the rules of the IWC they receive their hunting quota and approval from the Commission to carry out their activities. The government of Denmark has no justification to use these communities as an excuse to endorse the resumption of commercial whaling.”

She added: “The slaughter of whales for commercial and ‘so called’ scientific purposes is wholly unjustifiable. There is simply no humane way to kill a whale at sea. By supporting the resumption of commercial whaling the Danish Foreign Minister would go against Danish public opinion not to mention Danish and EU policy on animal welfare and marine mammal protection.”

News of the Danish position increases fears on the eve of the 58th annual meeting of the IWC (16-20 June) that some previously anti-whaling countries are now prepared to compromise.

The pro-whaling nations are suspected to have gathered enough support at this year’s IWC to overturn some vital and long standing conservation and welfare measures.

Andy Ottaway, spokesperson for Whalewatch, said: “Countries serious about whale protection must take action now to ensure that years of work on crucial conservation and welfare measures are not destroyed.

“Moreover they must remember that the whaling debate is not only about numbers and conservation but also about the inherent suffering that these animals face at the hands of whalers.”

The Whalewatch coalition will continue to lobby ministers to ensure that the welfare concerns associated with all modern day whaling activities are addressed and calls on the public to take action at www.whalewatch.org


ENDS


Note to editors:

An opinion poll carried out by AC Nielsen in 2005 found that the majority of the Danish public is against lifting the ban on commercial whaling.

Greenland, as part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is represented by the Danish Government at the IWC.

The Whalewatch coalition is represented at the IWC 58 by: World Society for the Protection of Animals, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Humane Society International, Environmental Investigation Agency, Campaign Whale, Finns for Whales and The Kido Ecological Research Station Sanctuary.

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