International Legal Experts Urge Action to End Japanese Whaling

Nov 14, 2007, 00:00 ET from International Fund for Animal Welfare

    LONDON, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An international panel of
 independent legal experts convened in London has today issued a detailed
 report challenging the legal status of Japan's whaling operations,
 particularly the taking of endangered sei and humpback whales. The expert
 panel also recommends actions to be taken against the Government of Japan
 for its violations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
 Species (CITES).
     Today's report, dubbed the London Report on Illegal Whaling, comes as
 the Government of Japan prepares to launch its whaling fleet into
 international waters later this week. Its dramatic findings add to a
 growing body of legal opinion sharply critical of Japan's expanding whaling
 operations. Since an international ban on commercial whaling was first
 imposed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1986, Japan has
 argued its ongoing whaling is conducted for "scientific" purposes.
     The London Report finds Japan's current and proposed takings of
 humpback and sei whales as well as other whale species "are for primarily
 commercial purposes" and "plainly constitute international trade." Japan
 has previously announced it intends to kill more than 1,400 whales this
 year including 100 sei whales and 50 humpback whales, a species protected
 from commercial hunting for more than 40 years.
     The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW -, which
 commissioned the independent legal review, says the time has come for
 decisive action to end Japan's expanding whaling program. "Some of the
 world's top legal experts have made the case. Japan's whaling is not just
 cruel, it's criminal. It is time for the international community to act to
 end this illegal activity," said Patrick Ramage IFAW Global Whale Program
     Ambassador Alberto Szekely, an international law Professor who served
 as coordinator of the London Panel and related expert panels convened in
 Paris and Sydney last year said "Japan's repeated assertion that its
 whaling activities are legal is incorrect and misleading. "Scientific
 whaling" as conducted by Japan violates international law and should not be
 allowed to continue."
     To learn more about IFAW's global campaign to protect whales, and how
 you can join this important campaign, visit today.
     About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
     Founded in 1969, IFAW is an international animal welfare and
 conservation organization that works to protect wild and domestic animals
 and to broker solutions that benefit both animals and people. With offices
 in 15 countries around the world, IFAW works to protect whales, elephants,
 great apes, big cats, dogs and cats, seals, and other animals.

SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare