Latin American Delegations Stand Up for The Whales at the IWC

Latin American Delegations Stand Up for The Whales at the IWC

US Succeeds with shameful backdoor deal to allow non-indigenous hunts

Panama City, Panama, July 4, 2012 – Japan and all IWC member nations who want to see the commercial whaling ban lifted are rejoicing tonight.  Describing the non-aboriginal whaling conducted by the Bequians of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as fitting within the definition of ASW, the US successfully gave the green light for non-aboriginal whaling which effectively ends the 1986 whaling ban on commercial whaling.

As aboriginal subsistence whaling (ASW) came up on the agenda at the IWC yesterday, the US put forward their “bundled” proposal for the killing of bowhead, gray and humpback whales on behalf of the US, the Russian Federation and SVG.

Comments made on the record by mostly Latin American countries, demonstrated just how egregious the request by SVG is.  The repeated killing of mother and calf humpbacks, the non-aboriginal and commercial nature of the hunt, the hunt a clear violation of the whaling ban. 

The US proposal did have lots of support, however.  Japan and their puppets associated with Japan’s vote buying policy all supported the proposal.  No surprise here.  The success of this proposal helps Japan and others who want to engage in commercial whaling to accomplish their goals.  The EU also fully supported the proposal, not wanting to stir a political hornets’ nest with the US.  Again, politics, not whale conservation rule the day.

Glaringly missing from the US’ presentation of their proposal was any mention of the request by the US on behalf of the Makah Tribe.  Complete silence. Not one mention of the Makah.  A choice designed to slide the proposal through without scrutiny because the Makah do not qualify for an ASW quota.  This is exactly why the US has bundled their requests for ASW quotas since 1997, to avoid any close review or ruling with regard to the Makah.

The Makah have legally killed one gray whale in the past 85 years.  This does not constitute a “continuing traditional dependence on whaling” as required by the IWC.  Even if the Makah did qualify, the US had been prohibited by a federal appeals court from allocating a quota to the Makah.  The court ruling requires the US to complete the NEPA process and prohibits the allocation of any quota until the US issues a waiver to the Makah under the MMPA.

For the past several years, most proposals at the IWC are adopted by consensus.  The US wanted that to happen here.  The Latin American Countries, however, demanded a vote, which is rare and a small victory.  When the votes were tallied, there were 48 for the proposal, 10 against and 2 abstentions (India and Monaco).  Australia and New Zealand supported the US proposal, again, politics, not conservation.  The former leaders of the anti-whaling countries have gone to the dark side.

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