From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published December 22, 2007 05:43 PM

World Welcomes News That Japan Will Spare Humpbacks

BOSTON - The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) applauds reports that Japan, under mounting international pressure, has agreed to put a hold on its hunt for 50 humpback whales in its so-called 'scientific' whaling expedition in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary this year.

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Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura confirmed today that the government has decided to suspend humpback hunts at the request of the United States, which chairs the International Whaling Commission. Earlier this week, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer told reporters that an agreement may be near, inspiring hope among animal welfare activists.

"While the race to protect the lives of these 50 humpback whales -- famed for their sociable and charismatic behaviour -- appears won, Japan still plans to kill 1,350 whales from five other species over the next year," said Dena Jones, WSPA's U.S. Program Manager. WSPA, which leads an international coalition of over 140 animal protection groups opposed to whaling, is calling for continued efforts to save whales of all species from suffering cruel deaths at the hands of whale hunters.

"No matter what you call it, or what species of whale is killed, whaling is cruel, unnecessary and totally unacceptable," Jones said.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is the largest international alliance of animal welfare organizations working together to create a world where animal welfare matters and cruelty to animals ends. We work at grassroots and government levels to ensure that the principles of animal welfare are understood, respected and enforced. For more information, visit: http://www.wspa-usa.org/.

Source: World Society for the Protection of Animals

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