Japan's appetite for whale meat wanes along with support for whaling

YARMOUTH PORT, Mass., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite thousands of whales still being cruelly harpooned for commercial reasons each year, whale meat consumption in Japan along with support for whaling are both surprisingly low, polling released today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) reveals.

The survey by Nippon Research Center* on behalf of IFAW, found 88.8% of Japanese people have not bought any whale meat in the last 12 months, while just 27% of respondents expressed support for whaling and only 11% said they support it strongly.

Strong support for whaling was lowest, a mere 2.6%, among respondents aged between 15 and 19, and was highest, at 18.6%, among those aged between 60 and 69.

"The good people of Japan are taking whale meat off the menu," said Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW's Global Whale Programme. "This is great news for whales and one of the clearest signals yet that the whaling industry is in its death throes."

"As this new, nationwide survey clearly shows, Japan Fisheries Agency bureaucrats' claims of public support for whaling are as wrong and outdated as the practice they seek to defend. The next government of Japan should join its people in supporting responsible whale watching, a better use of whales that benefits coastal communities."

The Japanese government recently pledged more public money for an expensive refit of the ageing whaling factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, which needs repairs estimated to run into millions of dollars to keep it operational for just a few more years. Even more expenditure would be required in years to come if Japanese whalers are to continue travelling to Antarctic waters to harpoon whales as ultimately a new factory ship would be needed.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of those surveyed in the recent poll expressed opposition to the use of billions of taxpayers' yen to build a new factory ship for whaling.

IFAW opposes all commercial or so-called scientific whaling and instead supports whale watch operators in Japan and other whaling countries to promote responsible whale watching, which generates around US $2.1bn annually for coastal communities.

Japan's whaling fleet is expected to set sail for the Southern Ocean Sanctuary around Antarctica in the next few weeks to continue killing whales.

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare



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http://www.ifaw.org

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