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As delegates from around the world converge on Portoroz, Slovenia for the opening of the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) today, pro and anti-whaling nations are set to clash over Japan's 'scientific whaling'.
stage is set for a critical meeting of the IWC, the conservation body
set up to protect whales, with up to 80+ member countries coming
together for the first time in two years against the backdrop of a
recent landmark judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
which ruled that Japan's 'scientific whaling' in the Antarctic was illegal and must stop.
After initially announcing it would comply with the March 2014 ruling and cancel its slaughter in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Japan
has stated that it intends to create a new research plan and resume
killing of whales in the name of science after a one-year pause.
A draft resolution by New Zealand
to be considered by the IWC aims to uphold the ICJ's ruling and help
ensure that no further illegal permits for scientific whaling will be
issued. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is urging
anti-whaling countries to support this resolution and resist any
attempts to weaken it.
Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW's Global Whales Programme, said: "New Zealand's resolution aims to secure the full promise of the ICJ judgment which gives whales in Antarctica
protection against slaughter for the first time in more than a century.
We need a concerted effort by conservation-minded countries to ensure
safe passage for this resolution and encourage Japan to permanently end its illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean."
recently sent an email to scientists around the world asking for
international help to review its plans for a new 'scientific whaling'
Ramage added: "This back to front approach – deciding to kill whales first and developing plans to justify it later - shows Japan
would rather just keep killing whales than join other countries in
carrying out legitimate and valuable scientific research. The stage is
set. The World Court set out clear criteria in its approach to
scientific whaling. We will find out this week whether the IWC is up to
the challenge of imposing court-ordered standards for scientific whaling
or content to stand on the sidelines while Japan continues commercial whaling by another name."
what is shaping up to be a watershed meeting for the IWC, many other
issues are also on the table, including proposals for Japanese coastal
whaling, creation of a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary and greater
involvement of other international organisations such as the UN on the
opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary; there is simply no
humane way to kill a whale. Responsible whale watching offers a humane
and economically viable alternative that is better for whales and
provides more sustainable livelihoods for people.
IFAW's team in Slovenia will be providing regular video blogs from the meeting via www.ifaw.org
Follow IFAW updates on Twitter via @Action4IFAW and @IFAWUKPress
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.