Slow Food

Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity against International Whaling Commission decision

Italy - 26 Jun 06

With the approval of the declaration of S. Kitts at the closing of the 58th meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), whale populations find themselves at serious risk of extinction. The declaration, approved with 33 votes in favor (including Japan, Russia, Norway, Iceland and Cambodia) and 32 votes against (including Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Brazil, France and Italy), allows whale hunting as a source of livelihood for coastal communities, in order to reduce poverty and increase food supply. “In reality, this justification just doesn’t hold up. They are using claims of scientific research or of providing food for the poor while risking bringing various whale species to extinction. The ocean continues to be a zone of rape and pillage – there is no consideration for sustainability or biodiversity. The S. Kitts declaration nullifies any advancement in the battle to protect whales,” stated Piero Sardo, President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity. The S. Kitts declaration only protects the commercial interests of countries in favor of hunting, whereas other countries are deprived of resources which attract visitors and are a source of income such as whale watching and its related activities. The IWC has already been accused in the past of substandard whaling management. In fact, even though the moratorium was adopted in 1986, whaling countries continued their hunting activity, and last year 17,000 specimens, including endangered species, were killed. This hunt was justified in the name of scientific interest, but genetic tests demonstrated that this whale meat reached the commercial market. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity condemns this conduct and invites all citizens from interested countries to make their voice heard against a practice lacking scientific and cultural justification.