Narrowest of Votes Leaves Whales Safe – For Now – at International Whaling Commission

Friday, June 16, 2006
Frigate Bay, St. Kitts
Japan failed today by a narrow margin to lead pro-whaling nations to a simple majority voting control of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Representatives from 66 nations are convening in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, June 16-20, for the 58th meeting of the IWC to debate whether a 1986 global moratorium on whaling should be lifted, allowing whales to be hunted commercially.
Japan’s proposal for secret ballots was defeated 33 votes to 30 votes with one abstention. The news of the Japan’s failed takeover of the IWC left the global conservation community relieved, but cautious.
 
Dr. Joth Singh, IFAW Director of Wildlife and Habitat Protection said:
 
 “We are relieved but not relaxed about the early voting here. So far we have managed to dodge the harpoon, but let’s see how things go for the rest of the week. The story is not so much about the numbers of votes in this meeting, but rather the numbers of whales that Japan, Iceland and Norway are killing even as we gather here in St. Kitts. More than 25,000 whales have been killed since the commercial whaling moratorium was imposed 20 years ago. Almost 2,500 have been killed in the last 12 months. Whatever the outcomes here, the nations of the world need to do something to stop this continuing slaughter. It’s time for Japan to stop targeting whales and the International Whaling Commission and start protecting them for future generations.”
 
IFAW is calling on IWC members to take a strong stand against commercial whaling at this year’s meeting. To make your voice heard in support of whales, visit IFAW’s campaign website www.stopwhaling.org today.

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