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Australia joins protest against Iceland’s whaling

Australia joins 25 countries in diplomatic protest against Iceland’s whale hunt

(Reykjavik, Iceland – 1 November 2006) – The International Fund for Animal Welfare ( IFAW – www.ifaw.org) welcomes increased diplomatic pressure against the Icelandic government due to its whaling policy. Ambassadors from 25 countries, including Australia, delivered the demarche—a diplomatic statement signed by representatives of the countries—to the Icelandic foreign and fisheries ministries.

The demarche expresses the countries’ opposition to the resumption of commercial whale hunting and asks the Icelandic government to reconsider its policy.

“We are heartened by the strong global reaction and hopeful that the Icelandic government will reconsider its misguided decision,” said Darren Kindleysides, IFAW Asia Pacific Campaigns Manager.

It has been confirmed that Icelandic whalers have killed seven fin whales and one minke whale which has generated worldwide condemnation. Fin whales are second only to the blue whale in terms of size, growing to average lengths of 18-22m and weights of 30-80 tons. Hunted in significant numbers by whalers in the past, they are now considered endangered under the World Conservation Union (IUCN) guidelines.

By tradition, Icelanders do not consume fin whale meat, leaving only Japan as a potential buyer for the whale meat. But Japanese Ambassador to Iceland Fumiko Saiga publicly announced that Japan did not want the meat, citing current whale meat surpluses in Japan.

Mr Kindleysides said: “With no market for the meat, the question remains: why has Iceland recently revived such a wasteful and economically unnecessary pursuit from the past?”

“There are three victims of the Icelandic Government’s flawed decision—the whales themselves, Iceland’s tourism industry and their international reputation.”

IFAW is calling on its 2.5 million supporters worldwide to take action against the government’s decision to resume commercial whaling. To learn more, visit www.ifaw.org today.

The full list of countries signed on to the demarche is: France, United States, Germany, UK, Italy, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, Chile, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Monaco, the Netherlands, Sweden, Luxembourg, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Peru, along with the EU Commission.

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