Sir George has welcomed news that his adopted whale is safe – but urges greater protection for other threatened whales
"I welcome news that humpback whales have received a temporary reprieve as the government of Japan has removed 50 humpbacks from this year’s whale hunt."
However, Sir George has expressed concern that Japan is pressing ahead with plans to take almost 1,000 other whales over the next three months. According to reports, Japan has agreed not to kill humpback whales this season. Today’s announcement follows months of public and diplomatic pressure on Japan, which launched its whaling fleet on November 18.
“While I am very pleased to hear that my adopted whale is safe for the time being, we must not forget that Japan is still targeting many other whales, including endangered species. We must keep up the diplomatic pressure for an end to this cruel practice.”
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), recently adopted humpback whales for all UK MPs to encourage greater protection for whales.
Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “While this is good news for humpbacks it doesn’t change the fact that Japan’s whaling programme continues to expand. Japan is whaling unlawfully under the guise of science. The removal of humpbacks from the kill list this season amounts to an admission of wrongdoing by the government of Japan.
“IFAW opposes all commercial or so-called ‘scientific’ whaling because it is inhumane and unnecessary. Withdrawing wild threats isn't enough, Japan needs to stop whaling once and for all and join the emerging global consensus for whale conservation.”
The government of Japan is currently undertaking the largest “scientific” hunt since the global moratorium on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986. Over the next three months Japan plans to kill 935 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales in an internationally recognised sanctuary in Antarctica.
Mr Marsland added: “We are grateful to Sir George for his continued support of our campaign to protect whales. We urge the UK Government and other anti-whaling nations to keep up the pressure on Japan to end whaling.”
Since the 1986 ban, Japan has killed more than 10,000 whales, claiming its whaling is conducted for scientific research purposes. Little science has been produced, while the meat from these whales is put on sale in supermarkets and restaurants.
For more information on whaling and how to help protect whales visit www.stopwhaling.co.uk
Earlier press release
Sir George has adopted a humpback whale under threat from Japanese harpoons
"I accepted an invitation from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), to adopt a humpback whale to demonstrate my support for IFAW’s efforts to protect this vulnerable species, now being targeted by Japan’s whaling fleet in an internationally recognised whale sanctuary."
The threatened humpback has been protected from whaling for more than four decades after being driven to near extinction by commercial whaling during the last century. Despite this, Japan has now added 50 humpbacks to its target list as it sails towards the Southern Ocean Sanctuary in Antarctica to hunt the humpbacks plus almost 1,000 other whales.
Japan claims its expanding annual whale hunts are for “scientific” purposes, but little science has been produced and the whale meat is put on sale in restaurants and supermarkets.
Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “IFAW is very grateful to Sir George for showing his support for the whales. Whaling is inherently cruel – there is simply no humane way to kill a whale.
“Our scientists have analysed footage of Japanese whaling which shows whales taking over half an hour to die a very slow and agonising death. We urge the UK Government and other anti-whaling nations to take diplomatic action at the highest levels to protect whales.”
Sir George said “I am very happy to support IFAW’s campaign to protect the whales. Whaling is cruel and unnecessary.”
New findings from international legal experts in recent weeks have challenged Japan’s claim that its expanding whaling programme is legal under international law. Legal analyses by international panels of independent legal experts convened in Paris and London have found Japan’s expanding whaling operations to be in violation of International Whaling Commission (IWC) regulations and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).