Local MPs join forces to call for an end to whaling

MPs John Austin and Clive Efford have teamed up together to call on the Government to take action to protect whales from the threat of whaling and are urging people in their constituencies to add their voice in opposition to the practise.

John and Clive met with campaigners from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on its Song of the Whale marine research vessel last week to learn more about IFAW’s work protecting marine mammals from a variety of man-made threats, including commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling.

Although there has been a ban on commercial whaling since 1986, large numbers of whales are still being killed by commercial fleets in Norway and Iceland, and by Japan, which exploits a loophole in the ban permitting whaling for ‘scientific’ reasons. Last year, Japan and its supporters gained a simple majority at the whaling regulatory body, the International Whaling Commission (IWC), sparking fears that the IWC is in danger of coming under the control of whaling countries.

John Austin MP said: “The governments of pro-whaling countries are active all year round in enlisting support for their whaling agenda, so it is crucial the British government works at the highest diplomatic levels to protect the future of these magnificent, yet vulnerable creatures.”

Clive Efford added: It is disgraceful that whales are still being killed in the name of ‘scientific research’. I will do all that I can to ensure that the UK continues to put as much pressure as possible on countries which allow whaling like Japan and Norway so that we can protect these beautiful and unique creatures.

IFAW campaigns against commercial and so-called ‘scientific’ whaling as it is cruel and unnecessary. There is no humane why to kill a whale and it can take up to 30 minutes for a whale to die. Last year, Iceland started commercial whaling again. Since adopting the policy, seven endangered fin whales have been killed – despite a lack of demand for the meat, which has been left unsold. IFAW believes Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling is merely commercial whaling in disguise, as little scientific research has been produced as a result, and the whale meat is put on sale in restaurants and supermarkets.

Ellie Dickson, IFAW marine campaigner, said: “We are delighted to have John and Clive’s support. Some people believe that whales were saved in the 1980s, but the reality is that today whales are under renewed threat. We urge everyone in Eltham and Erith and Thamesmead and across the UK who cares about whales to take action now to protect these spectacular animals.”

To take action and find out more about IFAW’s work to end whaling visit http://www.ifaw.org.

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