Cruelty of Japanese Whale Hunt Unveiled in New Scientific Report

Saturday, 17 June, 2006
Frigate Bay, St. Kitts
The cruelty of Japan’s whaling methods was unveiled today with the release of a new report on the scientific analysis of Japanese whale hunt video footage. The report provides clear scientific evidence that contradicts the message touted by Japan for years – that their whaling is done humanely.

Australia’s Minister for the Environment and Heritage, the Honorable Ian Campbell, heralded the report today at the IWC meeting saying, “this paper I commend to anyone who wants to have a thorough understanding of the killing methods that are employed in the name of science by Japan. It is quite disturbing.” 

The report found that the video shows:

•  More than 80% of whales are not killed instantly once harpooned. This is due, the report states, to the lack of ability of harpoon gunners to hit the area close to the whale’s brain

•  Once harpooned, whales are often alive as they are winched into the hunting ship with the harpoon embedded into their flesh, causing severe suffering

•  Whales that are winched in alive often don’t die from the blow of the harpoon, but die of suffocation, with their blow holes forced under water by the process of winching them in.

•  Whales that are not killed instantly by the harpoon may struggle from 10 to 35 minutes before dying, exhibiting signs of suffering during this period

IFAW Australia Country Director Mick McIntyre said: “What Japan is doing to whales is not just cruel it’s criminal – and the IWC has ignored this fact for too long. We are very pleased Australia – a key member of the IWC – has acknowledged the importance of this report, and has taken a lead to put the issue of cruelty front and center at this meeting.”
IFAW expert and co-author of the report, Vassili Papastavrou said: “Japan has concealed this cruelty for almost two decades. But not anymore. At last we have the footage and scientific evidence that proves otherwise. But you don’t need to be a scientist to figure out that firing harpoons in to whales and then slowly suffocating them is unacceptable. It’s got to stop.”
Greenpeace representative Mike Townsley said: “Greenpeace captured on video, for all the world to see, the brutal reality of whaling: the slow and agonising death of one whale after another. IFAW has examined the video, and produced a damning new analysis showing that a great many whales have died in agony,” said Mike Townsley, Greenpeace
IFAW is calling on IWC members to take a strong stand against commercial whaling at this year’s meeting. To make your voice heard in support of whales, visit IFAW’s campaign website  today.

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