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19 February 2010 - HSI welcomes Prime Minister Rudd's commitment to international whale case      

HSI welcomes Prime Minister Rudd's commitment to international whale case

19th February 2010                                                                

HSI today welcomed comments made by Prime Minister Rudd on the Sunrise program, in which he made clear the Australian Government will bring an international court case against Japan's sham scientific whaling program in Antarctica if the annual hunt does not cease completely. HSI is extremely pleased, that 10 years after we recommended the grounds for the case, the Australian Government is now talking seriously about taking this option forward and that Mr Rudd has clarified that a zero quota from Japan is the benchmark for calling it off.

The case would challenge the Japanese Government for abusing their rights under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling at the International Court of Justice, for exploiting an archaic clause in the treaty that allows for lethal scientific research, in order to carry out large scale commercial whaling operations in defiance of the global ban on commercial whaling. "The whole world knows Japan's scientific whaling program is a sham and a front for commercial whaling, so it should not be difficult to convince an international court of this", said HSI Senior Program Manager, Nicola Beynon. "The case has the potential to bring a complete end to all scientific whaling programs and save thousands of whales from slaughter".

However, HSI is concerned the case could be undermined by compromise negotiations over whaling underway through the International Whaling Commission (IWC) which could be finalised at their annual meeting in June. Compromises under discussion could see the Commission allow so-called scientific whaling to continue, giving it legitimacy for the first time and jeopardising the case.

 "It is more important than ever for the Australian Government to prevent any compromise at the IWC that would undermine the global ban on commercial whaling and legitimise Japan's abuses of the scientific whaling loophole", said Ms Beynon.

HSI is also concerned that a Federal Election could get in the way of the international court case and we call on Tony Abbott to commit to bringing a case against scientific whaling should the Coalition win Government later this year.

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