British singer Leona Lewis has joined the fight to stop whaling.

The singer has joined with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in calling for a ban of the brutal whaling practices carried out regularly by Norwegian whalers. WSPA has released new footage showing a minke whale suffering for more than 20 minutes – and potentially 2 hours – after being shot by an exploding harpoon.

“The horrible footage WSPA has released shows the cruelty of Norwegian whaling and makes it clear that whaling must stop now!” she said. “It certainly does not suit a modern, civilized nation like Norway to carry out this cruel practice and the Norwegian Government need to listen to the thousands of people around the world, including Norwegians, who are protesting against commercial whaling.”

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is hosting its annual meeting in Morocco from 14th to 26th June; most prominent on this year’s agenda is a vote on a controversial proposal which would allow Norway to kill a further 6,000 whales over the next ten years, effectively putting an end to the whaling ban.

WSPA, Norwegian Society for the Protection of Animals (Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge) and NOAH – for Dyrs Rettigheter (a Norwegian animal charity), are releasing footage that highlights why the IWC simply cannot consider putting an end to the ban: the footage, captured as part of an investigation, shows the impact as a minke whale is harpooned by the Norwegian whaling vessel ‘Rowenta’ on 23rd May 2010, and the subsequent failure of the whaling vessel to ensure that it was dead over the next 22 minutes.

WSPA’s marine mammal program manager Joanna Toole says: "This film clearly demonstrates that whaling is crude, unreliable and inhumane. We even witnessed ‘Rowenta’ firing a second harpoon into a minke whale more than two hours later.

“It’s therefore possible that this whale suffered from horrific harpoon wounds for more than two hours before finally dying. This is not the way we’d expect a modern and civilized society like Norway to treat animals and certainly not something that the IWC should consider legitimizing.”

Norway is one of just three countries defying the 1986 international ban on commercial whaling. Since it resumed commercial whaling in 1993 Norway has killed over 8,500 whales despite public criticism amongst Norwegians.

Carl-Egil Mastad, Director of Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge, said: “Thousands of Norwegians stand with us against this cruel and unnecessary industry – we now need the international community to condemn Norway’s whaling, not endorse it.”

Siri Martinsen, veterinarian working for NOAH – for Dyrs Rettigheter said: “The Norwegian government claims that it receives little criticism of its whaling – it’s time to prove them wrong. Norway will not reduce whaling nor take the suffering in consideration without pressure – we need people to speak out on behalf of the whales in order to make the government rethink its whaling policies.”

Watch the film here.

Source: WSPA

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