Virtual whale grabs attention with anti-whaling message

Thursday, 4 November, 2010
Sydney, Australia
The mystery of reported sightings of whales in Darling Harbour, Australia, was solved today (Thursday) as the International Fund for Animal Welfare ( staged an ambitious stunt to highlight the cruel slaughter of whales.

Using state-of-the-art technology, IFAW replicated the blow of a whale on a giant aqua screen in the water at the busy spot in Sydney, followed by three more bursts showing the bloody effects of a whale being harpooned along with public calls to action.

The stunt was timed ahead of the imminent departure of Japan’s whaling fleet to the pristine Southern Ocean Sanctuary where its harpoons will be trained on more than 1,000 whales this season alone.

In defiance of global opposition and several international laws, whalers aim to kill up to 935 minke whales, 50 endangered fin whales and potentially 50 vulnerable humpback whales.

Despite the worldwide ban on commercial whaling, Japan hunts whales in Antarctica under the loophole of “scientific whaling”.

Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW’s Global Whale Programme, has called on the Japanese government to cease whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

He said: “IFAW scientists and policy experts played a leading role in achieving the declaration of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in 1994. Japan was the lone nation to vote against that designation and illegally kills whales in the Sanctuary each year in the name of science.   

“It's time for this sham to stop and for Japan, Norway and Iceland, the last three countries killing whales for commercial purposes, to end this cruel and outmoded industry and join the emerging global consensus for whale conservation.”

IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary; there is simply no humane way to kill a whale. Footage of Japanese whaling analysed by IFAW scientists has shown whales can take more than half an hour to die.

The Australian government has presented a case against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean to the International Court of Justice. IFAW calls on all governments to take the strongest diplomatic action possible against Japan and demand that it ends its whaling programme now.

Footage of IFAW’s stunt will shortly be available for viewing on YouTube.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation