Japan urged to recall whaling fleet and abandon dying whale meat industry

Tuesday, 6 December, 2011

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW- www.ifaw.org) is urging Japan to recall its whaling fleet which today left port for Antarctica to train its harpoons on around 1,000 whales.

According to Japanese media reports, the country’s whaling fleet is en route to the pristine Southern Ocean Sanctuary to kill up to 935 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales, in defiance of global opposition and several international laws. Japan is believed to have provided around US$30 million in additional government security budget to protect the fleet this season.

Japan hunts whales in the seas surrounding Antarctica under the loophole of “scientific whaling” despite the worldwide ban on commercial whaling.

Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW’s Global Whale Programme, said: “We are disappointed although not surprised that Japan’s whaling fleet has once more set sail for Antarctica to slaughter more whales. The reality, though, is that the whaling industry is dying and this is its last gasp. The economics show that whaling is unprofitable and a bad policy for the Japanese people as well as for whales.”

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.

While whaling is uneconomic, whale watching offers a humane and profitable alternative to the cruelty of whaling, generating around US$2.1 billion annually for coastal communities.
According to recent media reports the Australian Customs ship Ocean Protector, docked in Hobart, may be preparing to sail to the Southern Ocean to monitor the whaling season.

Australian government ship Oceanic Viking has been used in the past to monitor Japanese whalers and the Australian government has presented a case against Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean to the International Court of Justice.
IFAW encourages all governments to take the strongest diplomatic action possible against Japan and call for an end to its whaling programme.
During the last season of Southern Ocean whaling, the Japanese fleet headed back to port early with less than half of its self-allocated catch quota following pressure from many fronts.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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