Delegates to the 15-nation International Whaling Commission were greeted by banner-waving demonstrators when they arrived at London's River Walk House for their annual conference on Monday (24 June).
Delegates to the 15-nation International Whaling Commission were greeted by banner-waving demonstrators when they arrived at London's River Walk House for their annual conference on Monday (24 June). The demonstrators - members of Friends of the Earth - want a 10-year moratorium on whale hunting to allow endangered species to breed.
An earlier demonstration - on the Thames - failed, when a 30 foot (metre) model of a whale foundered in the rough water. The Friends of the Earth had planned to tow the whale down the river and explode it with a harpoon opposite River Walk House and in full view of the delegates.
The commission meeting - which fixes whaling quotas for the year - was officially opened by Mr. Norman Buchan, Minister of State at the British Ministry of Agriculture, who said no one wanted to see whale stocks reduced to a danger level. He said critics of the commission would be satisfied only when they saw whale stocks improving.
The moratorium proposal has been put to the commission - and rejected - on two previous occasions. It is opposed by the major whaling nations, led by the Soviet Union and Japan, which take in 80 per cent of the world's whale catch. The remainder is taken mainly by Australia, Brazil Norway, Iceland and South Africa.
The Soviet Union delegates told the conference on Monday that their country wanted to carry out whaling operations "on a strictly scientific basis, under international control."
However, Japan claims its whaling industry accounts for 50,000 jobs and supplies 10 per cent of the country's meat. the Japanese delegates said they would oppose any proposal which conflicted with their national interest. They claimed Japan would have to treble beef imports if it had to replace whale meat.