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 user 2007-01-29 at 9:46:00 am Views: 47
  • #17008

    UK in whaling recruitment drive
    UK is stepping up attempts to secure an anti-whaling majority on the
    International Whaling Commission (IWC).Last year, pro-hunting nations
    gained their first IWC majority for 20 years.The British government
    will publish a brochure this coming week aimed at encouraging nations
    opposed to whaling to join the Commission.It says whales are
    “sensitive, social creatures”, with some species risking extinction.
    Japan says these arguments are “old rhetoric and half-truths”.

    There is no humane way to kill a whale at sea……..David Attenborough

    Iceland and Norway, the principal pro-whaling nations, believe that
    many stocks are large enough that hunting can be sustainable.They
    dismiss arguments that whales are special and distinct creatures as
    being relevant only in certain cultures.The issue was given added
    urgency by Iceland’s decision in October to resume commercial hunting,
    a move which brought diplomatic protest from Britain and its allies.

    ‘Global responsibility’
    UK’s recruitment brochure, which will be officially launched next week,
    is the most formalised attempt yet mounted by anti-whaling countries to
    regain the majority which they lost by a single vote at last year’s IWC
    meeting, held in St Kitts.It says that protecting whales for future
    generations is a “global responsibility”.”Some whales are particularly
    at risk of extinction because their populations remain endangered
    following past exploitation from commercial whaling,” it continues.In
    two forewords, the distinguished natural history broadcaster David
    Attenborough writes, “There is no humane way to kill a whale at sea”,
    while Tony Blair makes a direct call to arms.”We urge your government
    to join the UK and the other anti-whaling nations in the IWC,” writes
    the British Prime Minister, “to ensure that our generation meets its
    global responsibility to protect whales.”The arguments contained in the
    brochure were dismissed by Japan’s deputy whaling commission Joji
    Morish*ta.”It is always depressing to see the same old anti-whaling
    rhetoric,” he told the BBC News website.”Its basic position is that
    commercial whaling automatically means extinction. As we want
    everlasting whaling, which is totally different from the past
    industrial whaling of western countries which regarded whales only as
    an exhaustive industrial material, we would avoid extinction at any
    cost.”Mr Morish*ta also warned that the IWC could break up without
    agreement on the eventual return to regulated commercial hunting.

    Art of persuasion
    is regularly accused by conservation campaigners of using fisheries aid
    to buy the votes of smaller countries in the IWC.In reality, both pro-
    and anti-whaling blocs have sought to recruit like-minded members in
    recent years.At the close of last year’s meeting, shocked by their
    defeat, commissioners from European and South American countries told
    me they intended to step up these efforts. New European Union members,
    and those seeking membership, are natural targets.The plan is clearly
    bearing fruit. Following representations from anti-whaling countries
    including the UK, Slovenia joined the IWC last September, and Croatia
    followed suit two weeks ago.In theory, their accession overturns the
    pro-whaling majorityBut IWC votes are unpredictable, and the British
    government’s recruitment brochure indicates its intention of securing
    forces which can reliably out-vote Japan, Norway, Iceland and their