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Apr 3, 2011

Focus:Animal Welfare
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Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg,

Dear Minister,
Dear Embassador,

I am writing to voice my deep concern over Norway’s whaling activities.

Animal welfare legislation in Norway is amongst the best in the world, showing that the welfare of animals is taken seriously by both the Government and the Norwegian public.
However, this legislation fails to protect the welfare of whales and the inherent cruelty caused by whaling is tainting Norway’s good reputation.

Norway whalers are hunting again - and has been doing so for over a week now, with the highest (self-appointed) coastal catch allowance since the country's return to commercial whaling 14 years ago.

Around 30 whaling vessels are taking part in the hunt, with more than a thousand minke whales targetted during a five month season, which started on 1st April.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that this wouldn't be allowed - as there's an international ban on commercial whaling.
Norway resumed commercial whaling in 1993 and has since killed over 9,500 whales. This year, 1,286 sociable and sentient minke whales are earmarked to die in Norwegian waters in the hunting season .

The suffering experienced by these animals before death as they are shot with exploding harpoons and rifles is indefensible and would be illegal if farmed animals in Norway were the victims.
Scientific evidence shows that whales can take over an hour to die in unimaginable fear and pain, and the plan condemns hundreds of them to this horrifying death this year.
Whales can suffer slow and painful deaths when killed in hunts. In fact Norway’s own data shows that 1 in 5 whales do not die immediately in Norwegian whale hunts; this number could be far higher as the current criteria used to establish when a whale is dead have been branded ‘inadequate’ by the International Whaling Commission.
It is impossible for even the most experienced whaler to ensure a lethal shot that will kill a whale immediately. This margin of error is something which would be considered unacceptable for farm animals slaughtered for meat in Norway. Marine mammals are sentient beings with the ability to suffer in the same way as other animals which are killed for meat and should be afforded the same level of protection against suffering.

Appalling new footage shows cruelty of Norwegian whaling
Although it was hit by an explosive-tipped grenade in good hunting conditions, the whale took more than two and a half minutes to die. Campaigners say this proves that whaling can never be carried out humanely. In less good conditions, where it is harder to aim harpoons accurately, many whales take 10 minutes or more to perish.
How are whales killed? How difficult is it to kill a whale quickly and cleanly?How long does a whale take to die?How can you tell when a whale is really dead?

I am very concerned that a progressive nation such as Norway does not recognize that this inconsistency is unacceptable.
I am also aware that despite the recognized welfare concerns, Norway does not currently require that inspectors must be aboard whaling vessels.
I find this extremely worrying – without inspection and reporting of the welfare of these hunts, how can the government know how whales are being killed and identify what improvements may be necessary?

These animals' right to live should be respected, and Norway itself would benefit from promoting whale watching rather than whale killing as a commercial enterprise.
Condemnation of whale hunts is universal. Last year over 101, 000 people worldwide signed a petition directed at the Norwegian Prime Minister, urging him to put an end to the suffering of whales.
A cruel industry like whaling has no place in your country – or any country.

Please live up to Norway's own high standards of animal welfare, recognize the damage that your plan does to your international reputation and accept that whaling does not even enjoy the support of the Norwegian people.
I urge the Norwegian Government to acknowledge the inherent and unacceptable cruelty of whaling and to consign it to the history books. 


Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Sunday April 3, 2011, 9:28 am
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female , married, 2 children
Hasselt, NU, Belgium
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