WHALE AND DOLPHIN CONSERVATION SOCIETY
Whaling is cruel and the demand for whale meat is falling. But, despite bans on commercial whaling and the trade in whale products accepted by most countries, Japan, Norway and Iceland, kill 2,000 whales between them each year and also continue to trade in whale products this has to STOP.
Introduction to Whaling
Once it became apparent that the numbers of whales being killed were putting whale populations under threat, a ban on commercial whaling (hunting for commercial profit) was introduced in 1986 by the body that regulates whaling the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
However, over 50,000 whales have been killed since the ban came into effect because of loopholes that have allowed some countries to carry on whaling. The IWC currently allows Norway to hunt under an objection to the ban, Iceland claims it is allowed to break the ban also because it left the Commission in 1992 but was allowed to rejoin 10 years later under a reservation. Icelands reservation is contested by many other Commission member states.
Japan uses a loophole which allows countries to hunt whales for research purposes. However, in 2014 after a court case brought by the governments of Australia and New Zealand, the International Court ruled that Japans activities in Antarctica were illegal and ordered whaling there to be stopped. Having initially complied with the ruling, in December 2015 Japan announced it would be resuming its whaling activities in Antarctica. Japan also carries out operations in the North Pacific.
The IWC also allows Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ASW) in some countries.
Between them, these countries kill around 2,000 whales a year mainly fin, minke, Brydes, sei, humpback and sperm whales.
WDC is currently attending the 66th meeting of the International Whaling Commission meeting in Slovenia.
We think whaling should stop. We cant be certain that whale populations can survive largescale hunting as well as the other daily threats they face. Ban or no ban, whaling remains inhumane and whales are unsuitable for use by humans in this way (they are long living and slow to reproduce). There is no humane way to kill a whale at sea. The hunting process can never be an exact exercise whales are a moving target, shot at from a moving vessel which sits on a moving sea. Grenade harpoons are often used to kill whales subjecting them to a long, slow and painful death. Monitoring and regulating whaling to keep kills to a certain number is also very difficult.
The whaling industry is in decline and the demand for meat is falling. Substantial government funding helps to keep it going in many places but the demand for the meat is not big enough so much of the meat is stored in huge frozen stockpiles. There is also the issue of whale product use in cosmetics and health supplements, and whale meal feed.
Whaling also takes place in the Faroe Islands in what is called a drive hunt, and some communities around the world are allowed to hunt small numbers of whales for cultural reasons and to sustain the needs of their communities (rather than hunting just for profit).
We have to keep the ban on commercial whaling in place. Japan has been recruiting countries with no obvious interest in whaling to join the International Whaling Commission (which currently has 88 members) and vote in its favour, using money for development aid as an incentive. In addition, many countries that were once against commercial whaling have felt pressured to make a compromise.
If the ban were lifted, the floodgates would open with more countries joining the hunts and that would be dangerous for whale conservation. We need your help to STOP whaling.
We understand why people love dolphins and why many want to see them close up, but putting whales and dolphins in tanks for our entertainment is wrong.
Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent. They want and need to live in complex social groups. In captivity they will usually have been separated from their families, often in cruel hunts and some when they were very young.
Wild whales and dolphins can swim up to 100 miles a day, hunting and playing. In captivity they have very little space and cannot behave naturally. A concrete tank can never replace their ocean home.
The mental, emotional and physical stress that captive whales and dolphins suffer can weaken their immune systems and make them prone to disease. Even though captive whales and dolphins are kept in an environment free of predators, pollution and other threats, they die young. The death rate for infant whales and dolphins is much higher in captivity.
With your support we make a difference.
We have been campaigning hard to stop holiday companies selling trips to SeaWorld and, with public support, we have made tremendous progress.
Days after we launched our campaign to stop Virgin selling holidays to SeaWorld, Sir Richard Branson issued a statement instructing Virgin Holidays to stop working with any aquarium or theme park that continues to capture whales and dolphins from the wild or imports whales and dolphins taken from the wild after February 2014.
Virgin also held an unprecedented multistakeholder meeting involving representatives from all sides of the captivity debate, including WDC, and issued a pledge against wild capture, which has been signed by more than 30 facilities holding whales and dolphins so far.
In 2014, we campaigned in partnership with WDC supporter, Kathleen Haase and change.org and gathered over 275,000 signatures asking British Airways to end its relationship with SeaWorld. In June 2015 we attended their parent companys annual board meeting to bring the issue to the attention of BAs shareholders and presented a series of questions to the board.
In March 2016, SeaWorld made a historic announcement. It will end its orca breeding programme and stop the theatrical performances. We celebrate this news and are proud of the part we have played in bringing SeaWorld to this decision. However, nothing changes for the 119 whales and dolphins of other species held by SeaWorld. These forgotten dolphins will still be bred and forced to perform. Our focus is now on them, and the 29 orcas still kept at marine parks by SeaWorld.
We are renewing our call on BA to stop supporting this cruel industry. You can help by signing and sharing our petition now.
What else have we achieved?
As well as supporting vital studies of wild whales and dolphins, WDC has run many successful campaigns around the world against captivity. In 2012, we took 30,000 origami dolphins to present to the European Parliament to demonstrate the strength of support for an end to captivity in Europe. We have already seen success with a number of countries such as Croatia and Slovenia banning the practice. Weve helped prevent the establishment of captive facilities in the Caribbean while India has also banned whale and dolphin captivity.
In recent years, WDC has been at the forefront of the campaign to stop Georgia Aquariums attempts to import 18 wildcaught beluga whales from Russia. After US officials turned down the application, WDC helped defend the case in court when the Aquarium appealed. Once again we were successful and finally in November 2015 the Aquarium announced it would no longer pursue the case. In June 2016, the Aquarium announced it would no longer take whales and dolphins from the wild.
Why shouldnt whales and dolphins be in tanks?
Captive whales and dolphins have been trained to perform tricks for food instead of behaving naturally. When not performing, they are often kept in holding tanks smaller than show pools. Confining individuals together can result in stress and aggression with no possible escape.
Capture of whales and dolphins from the wild is brutal. Entire pods may be targeted and many individuals killed or injured. Only the young and fit are taken. These are the future generations for already vulnerable wild populations and their loss has a hugely negative impact on group dynamics.
We have no right to put these amazing creatures in captivity. Captive whale and dolphin shows are not education, or conservation. Stress and disturbing behaviour is common amongst dolphins displayed in dolphinaria. Captivity is all about making money.
There are many fantastic opportunities to see whales and dolphins in the wild both from land and with a responsible boat operator, so help us end captivity and keep whales and dolphins wild.
Here is a link to their site: http://us.whales.org/
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