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12 September 2014 - HSI Calls on the IWC to Curb Violations of Global Moratorium      

Humane Society International Calls on International Whaling Commission to Curb Violations of Global Moratorium - HSI Delegation heads to Portoroz, Slovenia for Four Days of Talks

12 September 2014

With the 65th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission set to begin 15 September in Portoroz, Slovenia, pro-conservation countries are preparing to take on Japan and other whaling nations in the latest round of struggle over the integrity of the global commercial whaling moratorium that has spared tens of thousands of whales from the harpoon since 1982.

As always, Humane Society International’s delegation will be at the meeting. Top priorities for the HSI team this year include:

  • Urging whale-friendly governments to “step it up” in pressing for stronger protection for whales and turning back efforts by whaling nations to dilute the worldwide commercial whaling moratorium
  • Encouraging IWC commissioners to take all necessary steps to prevent Japan from further whaling in light of the International Court of Justice’s March 2014 ruling that Japan’s Antarctic whaling did not qualify as scientific research and thus undermined the moratorium.
  • Opposing Japan’s attempts to create a new category of coastal whaling and Greenland’s proposal to expand aboriginal (subsistence) whaling, both of which would allow commercial sale of whale meat and similarly threaten the moratorium.

 “This year, we intend to press all of the nations whose citizens care about whales to exert strong leadership in halting the metastasis of new whaling proposals, and challenge IWC commissioners to adopt an agenda that extends beyond whaling to the broader range of threats that imperil whales throughout our oceans,” says HSI Australia Senior Program Manager, Alexia Wellbelove.

HSI’s agenda also will include a strong opposition to continued whaling and international trade of endangered whales by Iceland, and strong support for the creation of a sanctuary in the South Atlantic and review of the Southern Ocean sanctuary, expanded conservation efforts by the IWC to address other threats to whales including climate change and marine debris, and a renewed scrutiny of whale killing as a practice that does not in any case meet even the humane slaughter requirements of the remaining whaling countries.

The following excerpts are from HSI's opening statement:

The ICJ effectively issued a cease and desist order in respect to Southern Ocean whaling, and provided guidance for future deliberations of special permit applications, both of which the IWC and its member nations should heed.  The ICRW was born in the same spirit of comity and acknowledgment of the rule of law that motivated the founding of the United Nations and the ICJ.  It is the responsibility of the IWC and of all of the national delegations assembled for IWC 65 in Portoroz to honor the ICJ ruling.” 

The member nations should neither countenance the commercialization of aboriginal subsistence whaling, on the one hand, nor the aboriginalization of commercial whaling, on the other.”

HSI and its partner organization The Humane Society of the United States, that country’s largest animal protection organization, have sent the following experts to Slovenia, and interested media may contact them directly for interviews:

  • Alexia Wellbelove is Senior Program Manager at HSI Australia and member of the Whales Roundtable. She has a attended a number of IWC meetings, and has worked on IWC matters at HSI and within Australia for the past five years. Prior to that she was Director of the UK’s Wildlife and Countryside Link for four years working extensively on IWC in the UK. She currently leads HSI Australia’s work on marine and other wildlife campaigns. +61 415 954600 and Email: alexia@hsi.org.au
  • Kitty Block, J.D., HSI vice president is the head of the delegation to the IWC.  An expert on legal issues involving the treaty and its implementation, she has been participating in IWC meetings since the late 1990s. Mobile: 011-240-888-4424 Email: kblock@hsi.org
  • Mark Peter Simmonds, OBE is HSI's senior marine scientist. An environmental scientist and marine biologist, he has served for 20 on the IWC Scientific Committee. His main field of scientific endeavor concerns investigating and addressing human threats to marine mammals and he has published widely in the scientific literature on issues including chemical and noise pollution, climate change and whale and dolphin biology and also authored/edited several books. 
  • Bernard Unti, Ph.D., is senior policy adviser and special assistant to the president/CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, the parent affiliate of Humane Society International. He has served on HSI's IWC strategic and communications team since 2007, applying his knowledge of historical and contemporary aspects of whaling and whale protection. Mobile: 011-301-980-6882 Email: bunti@hsi.org
  • Rebecca Regnery, HSI deputy director for international wildlife, has worked extensively on campaigns to protect whales, sharks, sea turtles and other species at the IWC and other international forums since 2001. Mobile:  011-240-401-4216 Email: rregnery@hsi.org
  • Grettel Delgadillo is program coordinator for HSI/Latin America and coordinates marine and other wildlife campaigns in the region as well as trainings with governments and local NGOs, including the IWC, on implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora for Central America and Dominican Republic. Mobile: 506835593500 Email: gdelgadillo@hsi.org



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