New footage of Norwegian whaling shows why ban must remain in place

iwc-web-topbanner_tcm25-15708Footage released by animal protection groups today (15th June) shows the brutal reality of whaling in Norway, and demonstrates why the international ban on commercial whaling must be enforced – not lifted.

As the International Whaling Commission (IWC) prepares to vote on a controversial proposal to lift the ban on commercial whaling, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), along with partners Norwegian Society for the Protection of Animals (Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge) and NOAH – for Dyrs Rettigheter, have released footage that shows a minke whale being harpooned by Norwegian whaling vessel ‘Rowenta’ on 23rd May 2010.

The footage shows the impact of the harpoon and the subsequent failure of the whaling vessel to ensure that it was dead over the next 22 minutes.

Ecostorm undertook field investigations in Norway alongside WSPA, Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge and NOAH – for Dyrs Rettigheter, that led to the footage being obtained.

WSPA’s marine mammal programme manager Joanna Toole said: “This film clearly demonstrates that whaling is crude, unreliable and inhumane. We even witnessed ‘Rowenta’ firing a second harpoon into a minke whale more than two hours later. It’s therefore possible that this whale suffered from horrific harpoon wounds for more than two hours before finally dying. This is not the way we’d expect a modern and civilised society like Norway to treat animals and certainly not something that the IWC should consider legitimising.”

Norway is one of just three countries defying the 1986 international ban on commercial whaling. Since it resumed commercial whaling in 1993, Norway has killed over 8,500 whales despite rising public criticism amongst Norwegians. Next week the IWC is expected to vote on a controversial proposal which would allow Norway to kill a further 6,000 whales over the next ten years, officially suspending the whaling ban.

Carl-Egil Mastad, Director of Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge, said: “Thousands of Norwegians stand with us against this cruel and unnecessary industry – we now need the international community to condemn Norway’s whaling, not endorse it.”

Animal protection groups are today renewing their call to the public to sign an online petition asking Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, to stop commercial whaling.

Siri Martinsen, veterinarian in NOAH – for Dyrs Rettigheter said: “The Norwegian government claims that it receives little criticism of its whaling – it’s time to prove them wrong. Without pressure, Norway will not reduce whaling nor take the suffering in consideration – we need people to speak out on behalf of the whales in order to make the government rethink its whaling policies.”