humpback whaleVANCOUVER, JUNE 16, 2009 – While it is always up to the citizens of each country to hold their own government accountable for the way in which they discharge their public trust, the elected officials and civil servants of developing nations could seriously use some professional help in getting more foreign aid for the whaling votes they reportedly sell to Japan, according to The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).


“Setting aside for a moment, our serious concerns over the allegations of corruption and bribery, in our opinion, these guys are terrible negotiators and operating way out of their depth. It’s embarrassing. Each one of these developing nations could have demanded ten times more foreign aid from Japan in return for their whaling votes, and Japan would have had no choice but to put up the money,” says Michael O’Sullivan, HSC Chairman & CEO who is at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) talks being held in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

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.

“Rather than developing nations being dependent on Japan for foreign aid, Japan desperately needs those raw materials, to feed and sustain its own people. That puts the developing nations in the driver’s seat, but apparently their politicians and civil servants are too unsophisticated to understand the strength of their own bargaining position,” says O’Sullivan.

For example, in the 1980’s Japan’s import of marine fish and products began increasing dramatically, much of it from developing nations which had received Japanese foreign aid.

The net effect, O’Sullivan says, is that not only are these developing nations selling off their natural resources and heritage, they are doing so at bargain basement prices. “We believe that in a world of shrinking resources, Japan is not the only player at the table which covets the natural resources of developing nations. However, apparently this fact of life escapes the politicians and civil servants of some developing nations looking for short term gains at the expense of their own people and their own economy,” he says.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[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.

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Background on the 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.