June 15, 2005 19:01 ET

Investigation into Norwegian whaling yields proof of whale suffering

On eve of International Whaling Commission Meetings in Korea, group says whaling should cease on welfare grounds Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Science Editor, World News Editor ULSAN, SOUTH KOREA--(CCNMatthews - June 15, 2005) - Undercover video footage of whale hunting released today, dispels the myth promoted by pro-whaling countries like Norway that whales are hunted and killed within two minutes of being harpooned.

The footage, believed to be the first of its kind filmed by an NGO for over a decade, was filmed off the coast of Vardo, Norway, last month by investigators from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). The investigators followed the licensed Norwegian whaling ship, 'Willassen Senior' and obtained footage of a minke whale being hunted and eventually killed over a two hour period.

Investigators witnessed the whale being hit by a grenade-tipped harpoon, then repeatedly resurfacing and splashing frantically before it finally died at least 14 minutes later. During this time, the whale was shot with a rifle seven times. It continued to live on for seven times longer than the average 'time to death' of approximately two minutes that whalers currently admit to.

Leah Garcés, WSPA's Campaigns Director, said, "This footage is further proof, as if any were necessary, that there is no humane way to kill a whale at sea and that all commercial and scientific whaling should cease on grounds of cruelty alone."

EIA spokesperson Claire Bass commented, "Our investigators have exposed the dirty truth behind so-called modern whaling, where an animal can suffer being hunted and killed over a two hour period during which time it is wounded and then repeatedly shot."

In just a few days, governments from more than 60 countries will decide on the future of the world's whales during the 2005 meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) taking place in Ulsan, South Korea.

WSPA and EIA are members of Whalewatch, a coalition of over 140 non-governmental organisations in more than 55 countries lobbying the IWC to stop all commercial and scientific whaling. Whalers will kill approximately 1,500 whales this year, taking the total death toll to over 25,000 since a ban on commercial whaling came into force in 1986. /For further information: For more information, or to obtain photos and video, contact:

Patrick Tohill, Campaigns and Communications Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals 416 369 0044 work # 416 898 9448 cell # tohill@wspa.ca

Editor's Note: The 57th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission begins on June 20th and runs until the 24th. Closed session meetings commenced this week on June 13th. For updates related to WhaleWatch's campaign, please see the WhaleWatch website at www.whalewatch.org beginning Monday.

Contact Information

  • Pat Tohill, Campaigns and Communications Manager, World Society for the Protection of Animals
    Primary Phone: 416-898-9448
    Secondary Phone: 416-369-0044
    Toll-Free: 800-363-9772
    E-mail: tohill@wspa.ca