Local MP adopts a humpback whale under threat from Japanese harpoons

November 26, 2007 11:50 AM

Mark recieving his adoption certificate

Mark Hunter, MP for the Cheadle constituency, has adopted a humpback whale to show his opposition to Japanese whaling.

Mr Hunter accepted an invitation from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), to adopt humpback whale "Papoose" in support of IFAW's efforts to protect this vulnerable species, now being targeted by Japan's whaling fleet in an internationally recognised whale sanctuary.

The threatened humpback has been protected from whaling for more than four decades after being driven to near extinction by commercial whaling during the last century. Despite this, Japan has now added 50 humpbacks to its target list as it sails towards the Southern Ocean Sanctuary in Antarctica to hunt the humpbacks alongside almost 1,000 other whales.

Japan claims its expanding annual whale hunts are for "scientific" purposes, but little evidence has been produced that science is involved and the whale meat ends up for sale in restaurants and supermarkets.

Speaking after the adoption process was finalised, Mr Hunter said: "I am very happy to support IFAW's campaign to protect the whales by adopting Papoose. Whaling is cruel and unnecessary.

"I have been campaigning on this issue for a long time now and have tabled questions for both The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Foreign and Commonwealth office to find out what they are doing to help stop whaling.

The Government needs to take action to ensure that the more pro-conservation countries join the International Whaling Commission so that it can vote to protect this precious species. They should be making this issue a top diplomatic priority with the Japanese, working with interested parties such as Australia to ensure that we protect our wildlife for the generations to come"

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: "IFAW is very grateful to Mark for showing his support for the whales. Whaling is inherently cruel - there is simply no humane way to kill a whale.

"Our scientists have analysed footage of Japanese whaling which shows whales taking over half an hour to die a very slow and agonising death. We urge the UK Government and other anti-whaling nations to take diplomatic action at the highest levels to protect whales."

New findings from international legal experts in recent weeks have challenged Japan's claim that its expanding whaling programme is legal under international law. Legal analyses by international panels of independent legal experts convened in Paris and London have found Japan's expanding whaling operations to be in violation of International Whaling Commission (IWC) regulations and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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