22 June 2005

Film shows whale’s ‘protracted death’

CAMPAIGNERS against whaling have released an under-cover film which they say undermines claims they die quickly and as painlessly as possible.

The footage, taken off the coast of Vardo, Norway, last month, by the World Society for the Protection of Animals and the Environmental Investigation Agency, shows a minke whale being hunted and eventually killed over a two-hour period.

The wildlife groups said this runs contrary to claims by pro-whaling countries like Norway that whales are hunted and killed within two minutes.

Environmentalists in Scotland have previously expressed concerns that Norwegian whalers, which this year have permission to kill as many as 796 minke whales, may be killing those that would otherwise travel to the waters around Scotland.

Around 80 identifiable minke whales return to west coast waters every year to feed, and thousands of tourists take sea tours each year in the hope of spotting them.

The film is being released days before governments meet for the 2005 meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Usan, South Korea, next week.

Investigators who followed the Willasen Senior, a licensed Norwegian whaling ship, said they witnessed the whale being hit by a grenade tipped harpoon then repeatedly resurfacing and splashing frantically before it finally died at least 14 minutes later.

During this time, it was shot with a rifle seven times.

The whale lived for seven times longer than the average two minutes whalers claim it takes one to die after being harpooned.

Leah Garces, campaigns director of WSPA, said: "This footage is further proof, if any were necessary, that there is no humane way to kill a whale."

"This footage is further proof, if any were necessary, that there is no humane way to kill a whale."

Source: www.theherald.co.uk


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