Press Releases /
Commerical use of wildlife
9 Mar 04
new report, with foreword by Sir David Attenborough, exposes the
cruelty behind whaling.
A new report, 'Troubled Waters', is being released today to mark
the launch of a global campaign against whaling. Key scientific
and practical evidence is brought together for the first time to
highlight the true extent of the cruelty inherent in the modern
day killing of whales. More than 1,400 whales are expected to die
this year alone. In his foreword, naturalist and broadcaster Sir
David Attenborough describes how the report contains ".hard
scientific evidence that there is no humane way to kill a whale at
An unprecedented coalition of over 140 non-governmental
organisations in more than 55 countries is taking part in the 'Whalewatch'
campaign. It is lobbying the International Whaling Commission
(IWC) to call a halt to all commercial and scientific whaling
operations, maintain the current ban on commercial whaling and
bring the issue of cruelty back to the fore.
Peter Davies, Director General of the World Society for the
Protection of Animals (WSPA), one of the leading groups in the
coalition, said, " The cruelty behind whaling has become
obscured in recent years by abstract arguments over population
statistics. The fact is that, whether it is one whale or a
thousand, whaling is simply wrong on cruelty grounds alone."
Although commercial whaling has been banned since 1986, over
20,000 whales have been killed since the ban came into force. The
technology used for killing whales has altered little since the
19th century, when the grenade tipped harpoon was invented. In the
constantly moving environment in which whales live and are hunted,
there are inherent difficulties in achieving a quick clean kill.
Despite its destructive power, the harpoon often fails to kill
outright and some whales take over an hour to die.
The difficulties in hitting a whale with any degree of accuracy
can be seen in the margin for human error. For instance, despite
similar killing methods being used during whale hunts in 2002/3,
Norway reported that around 20% of whales failed to die
instantaneously, whilst Japan reported a far higher figure of
almost 60% that were not killed instantly. Current tests to
determine the moment of death in a whale are inadequate. The
question remains whether whales may in fact still be alive long
after having been judged to be dead. The full extent of their
suffering is yet to be scientifically evaluated.
To find out more about the campaign, go online at
Some of the NGOs that are part of the coaltion are:
Brigitte Bardot Foundation
Care for the Wild
Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Danish Animal Welfare Society)
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Japan Animal Welfare Society (JAWS)
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS)
World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)