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April 23, 2010

Humane Society International Asks Obama Administration to Shun Whaling Deal

Look to the future, don’t retreat to the past

WASHINGTON — Humane Society International is calling upon the United States to reject an ill-conceived deal to legitimize commercial whaling. The issue is scheduled for a vote at the June meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Agadir, Morocco.

"We appreciate efforts to seek a compromise with the whaling nations; however, the deal that's been brokered is fundamentally flawed. The way forward here is not to go backwards," said Kitty Block, vice president of Humane Society International. "Commercial whaling has been banned for more than a quarter-century. It would be awful to think that our greatest efforts to protect whales peaked in 1982 — and that we are now reduced to witnessing the erosion of the tremendous gains we made."

 The deficiencies of the deal proffered by the chair and vice chair of the IWC include the following:

  • It suspends the commercial whaling moratorium for 10 years;
  • It does not require countries to close the loopholes of so-called scientific whaling or whaling under objection/reservation, i.e. Iceland and Norway;
  • The moratorium is suspended even if whaling countries object to the deal;
  • It does not prohibit commercial trade in whale meat; and
  • Non-whaling countries will have to pay to regulate whaling.

The moratorium on commercial whaling, which took effect in 1986, was the single greatest conservation achievement for whales.  It was passed at a time when nearly every IWC country was a whaling nation. Today, only three of the 88 members — Japan, Iceland and Norway — continue to kill whales for commercial gain.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org.

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