the Aloha Planet
is a project of the-:
The Hawaiian People
Send a GIFT to *PLANET PUNA*
All rights reserved to the sources
Backs Anti-Whaling Group
By Charles Clover
The Telegraph - UK
Sir David Attenborough has condemned the cruelty of whaling in backing
a campaign to end all commercial and scientific hunting of whales.
In an introduction to Troubled Waters, a report by a coalition of groups
that is planning to lobby the International Whaling Commission this
year, the naturalist and broadcaster says there is "no humane way
to kill a whale at sea".
He quotes Dr Harry Lillie, who wrote after working as a ship's physician
on a whaling ship in the Antarctic half a century ago: "If we can
imagine a horse having two or three explosive spears stuck in its stomach
and being made to pull a butcher's truck through the streets of London
while it pours blood into the gutter, we shall have an idea of the method
"The gunners themselves admit that if whales could scream, the
industry would stop for nobody would be able to stand it."
Commercial whaling was banned in 1986 but 1,400 whales are expected
to be killed this year by Norway, Iceland and Japan under the guise
of "scientific" whaling, an increase on previous years, and
harpoons with explosive heads are still the main technique of killing.
© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004.
A Simple Reason To Stop Whaling - It's Cruel
142 Organisations Unite To Highlight Horrific Impact Of Harpooning
By Michael McCarthy
The Independent - UK
Animal welfare groups from around the world presented a report on whaling
yesterday that aims to take the argument back to basics: the cruelty
of the kill.
The report, likely to be seen as one of the most significant contributions
to the whaling debate for many years, is a detailed scientific study
of how much violence is needed to slaughter the world's largest animals
in the open ocean.
Its premise is that much of the argument in the annual conferences of
the International Whaling Commission (IWC) now tends to be about whale
population statistics, and this has obscured the main issue - that the
act of killing the great whales, usually by explosive harpoons, is unacceptably
The report,Troubled Waters, comprehensively reviews the animal welfare
implications of modern whaling activities. It has been produced by 142
animal welfare organisations from 57 countries, including several from
Britain, who have come together in a new coalition,Whalewatch. Its avowed
purpose is to bring the issue of cruelty back to the fore at the next
IWC meeting in Italy in July, and maintain the international moratorium
on commercial whaling.
The moratorium has been in force since 1986, but is increasingly being
challenged by the three main pro-whaling nations - Japan, Norway and
Iceland. Since it was introduced, more than 20,000 whales have been
killed by the whaling countries - by Japan and recently Iceland under
the guise of "scientific" whaling, and by Norway as a simple
commercial hunt. In this coming year they are likely to kill more than
1,400 animals between them, mostly minke whales.
But the new report does not concern itself with numbers. It sets out
to demonstrate, in extensive technical detail, that the great whales
are so big and powerful that the amount of force needed to dispatch
even one of them is unacceptably inhumane.
Britain's best-known naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, stresses the
point in his foreword to the report. "The following pages contain
hard scientific dispassionate evidence that there is no humane way to
kill a whale at sea," says the broadcaster.
"Dr Harry Lillie, who worked as a ship's physician on a whaling
trip in the Antarctic half a century ago, wrote this: 'If we can imagine
a horse having two or three explosive spears stuck in its stomach and
being made to pull a butcher's truck through the streets of London while
it pours blood into the gutter, we shall have an idea of the method
of killing. The gunners themselves admit that if whales could scream,
the industry would stop for nobody would be able to stand it.' The use
of harpoons with explosive grenade heads is still the main technique
used by whalers today."
Sir David suggests that any reader of the report should "decide
for yourself whether the hunting of whales in this way should still
be tolerated by a civilised society."
Peter Davies, director general of the World Society for the Protection
of Animals, 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
The technology used for killing whales has altered little since the
19th century, when the grenade-tipped harpoon was invented. The penthrite
grenade harpoon, the main killing method today, is fired from a cannon
mounted on the bow of a ship. It is intended to penetrate a foot into
the whale before detonating. The aim is to kill the animal through neurotrauma
induced by the blast-generated pressure waves of the explosion.
However, if the first harpoon fails to kill the whale, then a second
penthrite harpoon or a shot from a rifle is used as a secondary killing
method. But given the constantly moving environment in which whales
live, there are inherent difficulties in achieving a quick clean kill,
the report says, and despite its destructive power, the whaler's harpoon
often fails to kill its victim instantaneously, and some whales take
more than 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 example, despite similar
killing methods being used, Norway reported that one in five whales
failed to die instantaneously during its 2002 hunt, while Japan reported
that the majority of whales - almost 60 per cent - failed to die instantaneously
during its 2002-03 hunt.
Tests to determine the moment of death of a whale are inadequate, the
report says, and 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.
© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd