Australians voice their reasons for no return to Antarctic whaling

IFAW’s beautiful artwork made from the words of our passionate supporters who want to see Antarctic whaling end for good. See the full poster below...There is a lot to enjoy about my job working for IFAW.

One of these things is working on issues that so many Australians care deeply and passionately about. This passion was on show nowhere more strongly than when we asked you last National Whale Day to tell us in your own words why you wanted to see a permanent end to Antarctic whaling.

Earlier this year the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Japan’s so-called scientific whaling in the Antarctic was illegal. This landmark judgment, which came as a result of Australia’s case against Japan, meant that whales in the Southern Ocean were given protection from slaughter for the first time in more than a century.

However, Japan plans to resume the killing at the end of next year.

To mark this reprieve from 100 years of whaling in the Southern Ocean, we selected 100 reasons from the many submitted to us to represent the voices of Australians who want to see whaling end for good.

We’re proud to now present these 100 reasons in this beautiful artwork.

Your reasons were many and varied. Lots of you spoke of the cruelty and pointless waste of whaling. Others spoke of the joy and value whales bring to us through whale watching or of the critical role whales play in ocean ecosystems. Some were short, some were long. Some of you even wrote poems. We had author and patron for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Tim Winton, supply a reason. As ever, his eloquent way with words cut to the heart of the matter. But you didn’t need to be a famous wordsmith to make our 100 reasons. As Rosemary put it quite simply and succinctly, “I'm not good with words but please don't kill any more whales!”

Now, we’re taking your words, the voices of passionate and caring Australians who want to see whales protected, direct to decision-makers. We’ll be descending upon Canberra to urge politicians to ensure the Australian government reflects the passion and dedication of its people at the upcoming meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Slovenia from 11-18 September.

As the country that took the ICJ case, Australia’s leadership will be crucial at this meeting. The IWC and its member governments, including Japan, must respect the ICJ ruling and make the transition to humanely studying live whales.

We need Australia and other like-minded governments to step up at this meeting and ensure it builds upon the success of the ICJ victory.

Sadly, ever since the ICJ verdict was announced, the Australian government has been largely missing in action. The Prime Minister’s complete failure to raise the issue with his Japanese counterpart when Shinzo Abe visited Australia recently is a reflection of how muted this government has been in comparison to previous governments of all political persuasions.

It seems the Coalition is determined to ditch its proud legacy of whale protection efforts, including the Fraser government banning whaling here in Australia.

Minister Hunt has been a whale advocate and supporter of the ICJ case but he is clearly being restrained by more senior cabinet colleagues. It appears he may not even be attending the upcoming IWC meeting despite a raft of his predecessors as Environment Minister, both from Labor and Coalition governments, attending previous meetings.

Thankfully, the New Zealand government, who also intervened in support of Australia in the ICJ case, has come forward with a proposal that would seek to ensure the ICJ judgment is respected by the IWC and its member nations.

The success of the New Zealand proposal at the meeting hangs in the balance. You can help us ensure the Australian government does its part by writing to your local MP and letting them know you want to see the Government take a robust position to the IWC meeting.

Please hurry, the IWC meets in just two weeks’ time, so we need to act now to let our politicians know how important this is to us.

As always, thanks for your passion and your support.


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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. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
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
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime