Unique research vessel sets sail with anti-whaling message for international meeting

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IFAW’s research boat, Song of the Whale, in St Katharine Docks before setting sail for the 63rd annual IWC meeting ©IFAW

A whale research vessel has set sail from London today (Thursday 7th July 2011) in a symbolic journey to Jersey to take an anti-whaling message to this year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

IFAW’s state-of-the-art Song of the Whale, which uses non-harmful methods to study whales, has been berthed in St Katharine Docks in London. Today, IFAW’s team of whale experts left for the 63rd annual IWC meeting where they will urge delegates to protect the ban on commercial whaling and remind them that it is not necessary to kill whales to study them. The meeting takes place from 11th to 14th July.

Last night IFAW hosted an event for UK politicians who were invited to tour the boat and hear IFAW’s message of whale protection. Richard Benyon MP, UK Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries spoke at the event.

IFAW opposes whaling because it is cruel and unnecessary. There is no humane way to kill a whale and with little appetite for whale meat these days, meat from slaughtered whales frequently lies unused in frozen storage. IFAW is also calling for greater openness and accountability in the way IWC operates to ensure it runs efficiently and without room for corruption.

The UK Government has also put forward proposals for this year’s meeting aimed at improving the transparency and efficiency of the IWC.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Delegates have an opportunity to make positive and lasting change for whales when they meet in Jersey next week. IFAW urges representatives of the 89 member governments of the IWC to do all they can to ensure UK proposals for transparency and efficiency are adopted and that the IWC is turned into a genuine conservation body for whales.

“IFAW believes it is unacceptable that whales are still being cruelly harpooned for commercial reasons. At a time when whales face more threats than ever, it is vital we do all we can to protect them for future generations.”

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.

IFAW works around the globe to protect whales from the many threats they face including commercial whaling, man-made ocean noise, pollution, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and marine debris and climate change. It promotes responsible whale watching as a humane and sustainable alternative to the cruelty of whaling.

For more information, visit www.ifaw.org, Facebook or Twitter

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