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Sheffield Hillsborough MP Angela Smith welcomes the news that Humpback whales are safe

ANGELA SMITH MP HAS WELCOMED news that humpback whales have received a temporary reprieve as the government of Japan has removed 50 humpbacks from this year’s whale hunt.

However, she has expressed concern that Japan is pressing ahead with plans to take almost 1,000 other whales over the next three months. According to reports, Japan has agreed not to kill humpback whales this season. Today’s announcement follows months of public and diplomatic pressure on Japan, which launched its whaling fleet on November 18.

Angela Smith MP said: “While I am very pleased to hear that Humpback whales are safe for the time being, we must not forget that Japan is still targeting many other whales, including endangered species. We must keep up the diplomatic pressure for an end to this cruel practice.”

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), recently adopted humpback whales for all UK MPs to encourage greater protection for whales.

Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said: “While this is good news for humpbacks it doesn’t change the fact that Japan’s whaling programme continues to expand. Japan is whaling unlawfully under the guise of science. The removal of humpbacks from the kill list this season amounts to an admission of wrongdoing by the government of Japan.

“IFAW opposes all commercial or so-called ‘scientific’ whaling because it is inhumane and unnecessary. Withdrawing wild threats isn't enough, Japan needs to stop whaling once and for all and join the emerging global consensus for whale conservation.”

The government of Japan is currently undertaking the largest “scientific” hunt since the global moratorium on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986. Over the next three months Japan plans to kill 935 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales in an internationally recognised sanctuary in Antarctica.

Mr Marsland added: “We are grateful for Angela’s continued support of our campaign to protect whales. We urge the UK Government and other anti-whaling nations to keep up the pressure on Japan to end whaling.”

Since the 1986 ban, Japan has killed more than 10,000 whales, claiming its whaling is conducted for scientific research purposes. Little science has been produced, while the meat from these whales is put on sale in supermarkets and restaurants.

For more information on whaling and how to help protect whales visit

Issued : 2 January 2008

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