whaleVANCOUVER, June 24, 2009 -- As the International Whaling Commission (IWC) continues its 61st Meeting in Madeira, Portugal, whales and the rest of the world are still being held hostage by Japan, Norway and Iceland according to Michael O'Sullivan, Chairman & CEO of The Humane Society of Canada (HSC): "The killing of whales by Japan and Norway is on the rise. There are 191 countries representing over 6 billion people on earth – and yet, Japan, Norway and Iceland --three of the wealthiest nations on earth continue to slaughter whales in defiance of international law."

A mountainous, island nation, Japan has inadequate natural resources to even come close to supporting its growing economy and large population. Trade is vital for the country to earn the foreign exchange desperately needed to purchase raw materials that are critical to its economic growth and survival. Japan has a history of buying votes from smaller client nations to whom they give foreign aid.

This year, once again Japan is not playing fair, according to the animal charity. In secret meetings for the past two years, Japan has been negotiating with the IWC Chairman, Dr. William Hogarth, a holdover from the Bush administration, to end the “impasse” on whaling. By impasse, he means where three nations continue to kill whales in disregard of the overwhelming international majority of nations opposed to it.

Dubbed the “Hogarth Deal” this deal would have essentially given the Japanese the ability to legally commercially hunt whales in their coastal waters under the term “Cultural Coastal Whaling” and in exchange they would reduce the number of whales that they killed for “scientific purposes” in the Antarctic region.

“In other words, once more confusing his classroom with reality, academic Dr. Hogarth was unilaterally intending to essentially give a green light to ‘kill those whales over here, but not those whales over there.’” During his first months in office, President Barack Obama has shown his administration cares deeply for animals, and we hope that Dr. Hogarth will soon return to academic life where such reckless and unthinkable decisions will not have very real devastating real world consequences for whales and dolphins,” said O’Sullivan.

However, O’Sullivan says the story doesn’t end there. Japan, recognizing a poorly skilled negotiator when they sit across the table from one, has unequivocally stated that they will never end scientific whaling, and when Japan finally released the two sets of numbers of whales that they were seeking to kill with this new deal, there was no decrease in numbers for the Antarctic whaling expeditions, but now they had a second area where they could legally slaughter.

“Fortunately, for the moment, at least, common sense has prevailed, and the deal has fallen apart. Unbelievable as it may seem however, there are some at the IWC who are still trying to keep it revive this non starter. A bad deal for whales made in bad faith by people who should long ago have remembered to check their egos at the door,” according to O’Sullivan.

Also coming to light at this year’s IWC is that fact that Japan has deliberately falsified catch statistics, following the revelation that Russia during the Soviet period did as well. If this catch data is used by the IWC to determine quotas, or for governments to set their own quotas, this will result in a completely mismanaged hunt, and too many whales being killed.

“If Japan is truly interested in showing courtesy towards, rather than contempt of, the right of other nations who want to protect and not slaughter whales, they should make arrangements to immediately bring an end to this behaviour. If not, then we hope that other signatory nations, on behalf of their billions of citizens, approach Japan and demand they adopt a more respectful attitude towards the voices of other nations to protect whales, dolphins and other marine life and the marine environment which we all share,” says O’Sullivan.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.

Background on the International Whaling Commission (IWC)

A reported 85 nations have now signed the international whaling agreement and there is strong evidence that Japan has bought the votes of small developing nations. Japan and its allies are expected to use these votes to support secret ballots and other mechanisms in those dealing with environmental threats to whales, animal welfare, whale sanctuaries, whale watching and slaughter of whales and dolphins. In open defiance of the twenty one year old ban on whaling, Japan, Norway, Iceland and other countries have slaughtered over 30,000 whales; and in the opinion of The Humane Society of Canada these countries are nothing but environmental outlaws.

The Humane Society of Canada supports ECO which is published at the whaling talks by a coalition of non-governmental organizations and can be found here.

The animal charity is also a member of the Global Whale Alliance fighting to end the slaughter of whales.

More work about our efforts to protect whales can be found here


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