~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Fri, 24 Oct 97 12:35:00 GMT From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Whalers told shoot first, lanc Whalers told shoot first, lance for last resort MONACO (Reuters) - Whalers must try to finish off whales by shooting them before electrocuting them, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) agreed Thursday. Britain and New Zealand led a campaign at the IWC, which holds its annual meeting in Monaco this week, to ban the use of electric lances, which are believed to be very painful. "We suspect it must be excruciating," said New Zealand delegate Geoff Barnes. "We can see that in the reaction of whales in video footage and from accounts of people who have survived the electric chair in the United States," he said. Whalers initially strike the large sea mammals with exploding harpoons and reel them in close to the whaling vessel. If the animal is still alive, Norwegians try to shoot it in the brain but the Japanese prefer electric lances. A Japanese delegate said lances are easier to use and cause less damage to the whale's body. Two steel-tipped lances are plunged into the whale and an electric current is run through them until the animal dies. Under the new rule, whalers are required to shoot the harpooned whale first and electrocute it only as a last resort. Animal rights advocates say electrocution can take up to 20 minutes in extreme cases to kill a whale. "We would have preferred a ban. This is the next best thing," Barnes said. The IWC banned old-style harpooning in 1981 because it took too long to kill whales. The organization banned commercial whaling the next year, but Norway objected to the moratorium and continues to whale in the North Atlantic. The Japanese hunt whales for research.