Subject: Info: IWC throws out call for electr (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 09:22:10 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Fri, 28 Jun 96 11:34:00 UTC 0000
Subject: IWC throws out call for electr

IWC throws out call for electric lance ban

    LONDON, June 27 (Reuter) - The International Whaling
Commission (IWC) on Thursday threw out a proposal that would
have forced Japan to ban electric lances it uses to kill
harpooned whales.
     New Zealand and Britain say the lances are ineffective and
cruel and had proposed banning them from 1999. But they failed
to get the three-quarters majority needed to pass the motion.
     Only Japan uses the electric lance to kill whales that do
not die from the explosive-launched harpoon used to snare them.
The harpooned whale is towed alongside the whaling boat and
pierced with two lances, one above the heart and low in the
     An electric current running between the lances is supposed
to kill the whale almost instantly, But Britain and New Zealand
say the voltage used is not high enough and the shock just
causes the distressed whale even more suffering.
     Japan had queried the conclusions of a research paper on
electric lances carried out by New Zealand, based on experiments
on dead whales.
     The Japanese delegation at the IWC meeting in Aberdeen,
Scotland, had offered to investigate using rifles instead as a
secondary killing method, but only if they were allowed to do so
voluntarily without the threat of a ban on the electric lance.
     There were 16 votes in favour of the motion to ban the
lance, eight against and five absentions.
     But things have not gone entirely smoothly for Japan, which
catches about 300 minke whales each year under the guise of
"research" whaling, permitted by the IWC.
     Earlier on Thursday, the IWC threw out Tokyo's request to
catch 50 minke whales under another exemption which permits
aboriginal groups with a long tradition of whaling to hunt
whales for their own needs.
     Japan has made the request repeatedly for the past few
years, but it has always been rejected.