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International effort begins to ask South Korea to say “no” to whaling

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Today Greenpeace International has begun a campaign to attempt to dissuade South Korea from establishing a new whaling program. On Dec. 3, the South Korean government will consider a proposal to establish a scientific whaling program. If they do, the first harpoons could be fired in less than six months. Scientific whaling has long been used as a cover for harvesting of whales for commercial gain. The Prime Minister will make the call. Government sources have indicated that “other issues” will be considered before making the decision. That means global political pressure may influence the decision.

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South Korea first announced plans to start a scientific whaling program of its own in July at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The plan was strongly opposed by the anti-whaling nations, but it was supported by pro-whaling countries like Iceland, Norway and Japan. A media storm followed the announcement with thousands of critical articles appearing all over the world. Soon there were reports that South Korea had changed its mind. Recently Greenpeace discovered that a new whaling program may still emerge from South Korea.

Phil Kline, Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaigner, wrote in a letter to supporters that “We only have three weeks to generate enough global public outcries to stop South Korea’s plans to resume commercial whaling. Help us send 45,000 messages to the Prime Minister by Dec. 3.”

Greenpeace and other organizations are working to transform the IWC and end whaling. They have won some reforms that make it harder for countries like Japan to buy votes. They’ve also pushed to create a whale sanctuary in the Southern Atlantic.

If South Korea starts a ‘scientific’ whaling program, the IWC has no power to stop it. The Greenpeace campaign to raise awareness and funds to oppose this new whaling program can be accessed through the Greenpeace International website.

Sources: Greenpeace International

International Whaling Commission

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