Controversial whaling proposal fails

Wednesday, 23 June, 2010
(Agadir, Morocco – 23 June 2010) – The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has welcomed news that a controversial proposal to legalise whaling has failed at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Agadir, Morocco.

Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW’s Global Whale Campaign, said: “Under a cloud of corruption allegations the IWC is taking a safe course, opting for a cooling off period that protects the moratorium and other IWC conservation measures. Had it been done here, this deal would have lived in infamy.”

The failed proposal, three years in the making, had included a compromise between whaling and non-whaling nations which regularly clash at annual IWC meetings. Among its most hotly debated components was a plan to overturn the worldwide ban on whaling, in place since 1986, by allowing legalised hunting of whales by Iceland, Norway and Japan – the last three countries still hunting whales commercially. Japan, Norway and Iceland have illegally killed nearly 35,000 whales since the inception of the moratorium.

“This was an intense three-year effort but one conducted behind closed doors and focused on defining terms under which commercial whaling would continue rather than how it would end,” said Ramage. “The proposal it produced could not withstand public scrutiny and ignored the overwhelming global support for permanent protection for whales. Any future process of negotiation should not leave the views, expertise and perspective of the global NGO community sitting outside.”

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, added: “IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary. Now that this deal has failed we look forward to seeing the IWC return to the conservation of whales. We all still need to keep working to preserve the ban on commercial whaling and protect whales for the future.”  

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