Win for whales! IUCN motion for the ocean

The IUCN condemns the killing of whales by Japan under the façade of science.Experts from around the world have voted overwhelmingly against Japan’s so-called scientific whaling in the Antarctic and the North Pacific. 

The motion, condemning the killing of whales by Japan under the façade of science, was passed with a 95% majority by the IUCN’s (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) World Conservation Congress, which is currently meeting in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

The whaling motion specifically calls on Japan to; remove lethal sampling from its whale research programmes; revoke any existing ‘special permits’, which the government of Japan issues to authorise the killing of whales for alleged scientific research, and to stop issuing further special permits.

READ: Explainer: Is Japan’s Antarctic whaling legal?

It is well-recognised by the international community that these permits are issued solely to allow Japan to circumvent the global ban on commercial whaling which has been in place since 1986.

Alarmingly, Japan has killed almost 16,000 whales under special permit since this moratorium on commercial whaling came into effect. These deaths are cruel and unnecessary and represent a disregard for both the commercial whaling ban and more recently, the ruling by the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice, which declared Japan’s whaling to be ‘not for scientific purposes’.

Along with a coalition of fellow NGOs, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) helped move this important motion through the IUCN process and the outcome speaks volumes.

Yet again, Japan’s whaling has been condemned on the international stage.

The passing of this motion by the world’s largest conservation network can be celebrated as a success for whale conservation and welfare, placing yet another obstacle in the way of Japan’s cruel and outdated whaling. Perhaps this will be the opening needed to shift Japan’s research programme into the 21st Century - studying whales alive.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation