The World Society for the Protection of Animals and members of the Whalewatch network came together in a peaceful protest on Monday 8th December to deliver a super-sized Christmas and New Year card to the governments of Japan, Norway and Iceland with the message: ‘tis the season to stop whaling for good!
Representatives from over 25 countries around the world are gathering together in Cambridge from 8th December for a three day meeting – finishing today – to discuss the future of the world’s whales.
The meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), closed to the general public and the media, seeks to negotiate a compromise between whaling and anti-whaling nations and decide the future of the troubled organisation.
Many charities are concerned that a compromise could turn back the clocks and sanction the return of commercial whaling.
A world away for whale welfare
As meeting delegates take their seats, thousands of miles away the Japanese whaling fleet is preparing its harpoons with around half a tonne of explosives.
Another season of whaling will see the bloody slaughter of up to 1,000 whales in the pristine waters of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.
WSPA and other members of the Whalewatch Network are calling for commitment to change from the three whaling nations.
WSPA’s Marine Mammals Programme Manager, Claire Bass said: “We speak on behalf of millions of people around the world when we call on the governments of Japan, Norway and Iceland to put their whaling plans on ice – permanently. That these civilised societies consider grenade-tipped harpoons an acceptable way to kill an animal simply defies belief. It’s time they consigned this brutal practice to the history books.”
No humane way
Members of the Whalewatch network are fundamentally opposed to commercial whaling as there is no humane way to kill whales at sea.
Of the 2,000 great whales due to be slaughtered by Japan, Norway and Iceland next year, only around half are likely to die within 10 seconds, the remainder left to suffer from horrific harpoon wounds, some for over an hour.
Claire concludes: “This cruel slaughter may be out of sight but it is certainly not out of mind: the international community demands an end to this outdated and unnecessary practice. In this, the season of good will, we call upon Japan, Norway and Iceland to lay down their harpoons for good.”
Find out more about WSPA’s work on whaling >>
The IWC member countries meeting in Cambridge include: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Republic of, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, South Africa, Sweden, UK, USA.