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June 23, 2009

Nearly a Third of Whales Killed in Japan Antarctic Hunt are Pregnant

Humane Society International

MADEIRA, Portugal — Humane Society International condemns Japanese whalers for killing pregnant whales. Data provided by the Japanese government has revealed a large number of pregnant and lactating female whales killed. The data was made public at the International Whaling Commission meeting Monday.

Of 679 whales reported to have been killed during the 2008-2009 whale hunt in Antarctica, 304 were female. Four of the female whales were lactating, and 192 were pregnant at the time of death. The Japanese government's "Cruise Report" gives gruesome details on the fetuses killed. The four lactating females killed would each have had a dependent calf who would inevitably have starved to death. 

"Humane Society International strongly condemns this hunt, which takes place in a whale sanctuary under the guise of science," said Kitty Block, HSI vice president. "Killing pregnant and lactating females makes it all the more egregious."

HSI commends the commissioner of Monaco, Frederic Briand, for expressing concern about the large number of pregnant females killed. He made his remarks during a discussion of animal welfare issues.

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Humane Society International and its affiliate organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. HSI is creating a better future for animals and people through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs.  Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the web at hsi.org.

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