June 24, 2005 10:04 ET

Whaling deal blocked as welfare wins at the IWC

Delegates vote down cruel compromise deal Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, World News Editor ULSAN, SOUTH KOREA--(CCNMatthews - June 24, 2005) - Fears of a pro-whaling majority were blown out of the water as animal welfare advocates belonging to Whalewatch celebrated victory for whales and their welfare at the close of the 57th International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Ulsan, South Korea, today. A coalition of over 140 non-governmental organizations in more than 55 countries, Whalewatch is opposed to the resumption of commercial whaling on the grounds of cruelty.

Despite the accession of six pro-whaling countries into the IWC, anti-whaling nations managed to maintain their slim majority aided by absentees and tactical lobbying, once again ensuring that the inherent cruelty of whaling remains firmly on the political agenda.

Leah Garcés, Campaign's Director for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), a member of the Whalewatch coalition, said "The passage of this year's IWC has shown that the world condemns any cruel deal for whales. In a year when we thought all was lost, the future of whales and their welfare came out on top. There is hope yet for these magnificent creatures."

A dramatic u-turn late Thursday afternoon saw Sweden withdraw its proposed Resolution for a special meeting to discuss lifting the 19-year moratorium on commercial whaling. Co-sponsors Finland, Netherlands, Oman, and Switzerland also withdrew, leaving Denmark and IWC host country Korea to carry the proposal through.

Delegates voted down this cruel compromise deal that Whalewatch argues could have led to the lifting of the moratorium and the resumption of commercial whaling. Instead they voted in favour of a counter proposal submitted by Ireland, South , Africa, and Germany, late yesterday, that called for Ministerial intervention to help break the deadlock on the Revised Management Scheme (RMS) - a set of rules that would govern any future whaling activities. It also recognised the progress made over the past year and called for intersessional meetings to be held before the next IWC meeting.

This year's meeting also included a consensus agreement to hold a workshop on the welfare implications of whaling at next year's IWC. It also saw a Japanese proposal to re-open commercial whaling fail and Japan faced a resolution of censure over its so called 'scientific' whaling programme.

Whalewatch remains concerned at the killing of over 1500 whales each year by Japan, Norway, and Iceland, in spite of the long-standing IWC ban on commercial whaling, According to Whalewatch representatives there is no humane way to kill a whale at sea. The group will continue its work to counter Japan's threat that next year will be "the turning point of history" and that "real change is soon to come". /For further information: For interviews, information, contact:
Patrick Tohill, Campaigns and Communications Manager, Canada
416 369 0044 work # 416 898 9448 cell # tohill@wspa.ca / IN: ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES, INTERNATIONAL, POLITICS

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