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5 June 2007 - Japan to kill over 900 whales in Australian Whale Sanctuary this Christmas       

Japan to kill over 900 whales in Australian Whale Sanctuary this Christmas 

Sydney, 5th June 2007                                            
                                                                                                                              

The Australian Government has returned from annual talks at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Alaska that have once again failed to restrain the Japanese from their regular Christmas killing spree in Antarctica. Humane Society International (HSI) predicts that this year over 900 of the 1035 whales planned to be killed in the hunt will be harpooned within the Australian Whale Sanctuary (AWS). 

Japan has announced they will ignore the diplomatic resolution passed by the majority of IWC countries in Alaska condemning the 'scientific' hunt. Just as they have ignored all similar IWC resolutions decreed over the last two decades, instead increasing the number and species of whales to be killed. 

"Using Japanese Government records from previous hunts, HSI calculates that the vast majority of the 50 humpback whales, 50 fin whales and 935 minke whales planned to be killed overall in this summer will be harpooned within the Australian Whale Sanctuary," said Michael Kennedy, HSI Director (see table below for figures). 

"Tragically, this means many of the humpback whales currently on their breeding migration along the east and west coasts of Australia will not be coming back next year," said Mr Kennedy. "This is the first year that the Japanese Government is including humpback whales in the hunt and HSI considers it to be a deliberate affront to Australia that warrants more than a diplomatic slap on the wrist". 

Wholly undeterred by last week's IWC Resolution, the Japanese Government is now taking their whale hunting crusade on to another international treaty that meets in The Hague this week.  Japan is asking the UN Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species to loosen the rules that currently ban international trade in whale products in line with the IWC's moratorium on commercial hunting. HSI representatives are flying from Alaska to The Hague to fight the dangerous proposal. 

Back in Australia, HSI will present our predictions for the whale kills this summer as evidence for our case before the Australian Federal Court, which seeks an injunction to stop whaling in the Australian Sanctuary. The Australian Government has argued against the injunction in a submission to the court out of concern that it could cause a diplomatic incident. Whereas, the ALP has given support for the case. The case continues on 24 July.

"Extremely disappointed with the Howard Government's attitude to our Federal Court case, HSI asks the Prime Minister to express strong opposition to the whale hunts when Prime Minister Abe of Japan visits Australia in September.  It is the very least the Prime Minister should do to respond to Japan's provocation on this matter", said Mr Kennedy.

 





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