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TROUBLED WATERS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

TROUBLED WATERS - Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Table 1. The criteria

Table 1. The criteria applied by gunners to judge the death of whales Criteria Number Motionless 514 Slackened jaw 6 Slackened pectoral fins 8 No reaction to stimulation 1 Tensionless harpoon line 9 Motionless AND slackened jaw 24 Motionless AND slackened pectoral fins 3 Motionless and tensionless harpoon line 1 Table 1. The criteria that gunners applied to judge the death of whales during the 2000/2001 and 2001/2002 Japanese Whale Research Program in Antarctica (JARPA). (All cases of immediate death are not included. Ishikawa 2003a). In a further study carried out on captive orcas, pilot whales, beluga and three species of dolphin (Butterworth 2003c), measures adapted from those used to establish the point of death in human patients (Pallis 1983, Schlotzhauer et al 2002, Wijdicks 2002) and from those used to assess the efficiency of stunning procedures at slaughter (Kestin et al, 2002), or depth of anaesthesia in surgical patients were applied. The following were found to be reliable and reproducible measures of physiological state in cetacea: jaw tone, palpebral response, menace response, corneal reflex, vestibuleocular reflex, Ocular / Skin temperature differential, pupillary reflex, capillary refill time, heart rate (with stethoscope). As emphasized in these two studies it can be unreliable to base judgements about an animal’s sensibility on only one indicator. For this reason, it was proposed in this study, that as many indicators as possible should be examined to allow judgments to be ‘broad based’, and decisions made on the basis of presence (or absence) of a single measure should be avoided. Could these methods be adapted to suit field conditions? This question will remain open until more robust measures can be tested at sea, however, if reliable measures for time to death cannot be used in the field, then it would appear that we cannot fully assess the true welfare implications of killing whales by harpoon. The ‘poor ‘control’ of the commercial killing of the world’s largest mammals must be placed in the context of practical global efforts which are now being made by governments and others to introduce practical solutions to the commercial slaughter of other species and, in so doing, to reduce the potential for poor welfare at slaughter. Those conducting the killing should be required to demonstrate that reliable methodologies are being used to calculate TTD. Only by doing so can the global community be confident that cetacea are not subjected to unreasonable or unnecessary suffering during their slaughter. Without robust terminology, biologically valid measures, and reliably REVIEW OF CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING DEATH AND INSENSIBILITY IN CETACEA 87

88 A REVIEW OF THE WELFARE IMPLICATIONS OF MODERN WHALING ACTIVITIES interpreted criteria, comparisons of TTD data between years, seasons, countries and methods become ‘in-credible’. References Bruce, D. 2003. A veterinarian’s firsthand account of whaling. AWSELVA Journal 7, 1 ISSN 1357 – 5540. Butterworth, A., Sadler, L., Knowles, T.G. and Kestin S.C. 2003a. Evaluating possible indicators of insensibility and death in cetacea. IWC/55/WK4. Butterworth, A., Sadler, L., Kestin S. C. and Knowles, T. J. 2003b. Determination of the point of insensibility in dying cetacea. Animal Welfare (in press). Butterworth, A., Kestin S. C. and McBain. J. F. 2003c. A preliminary evaluation of baseline indices of sensibility in captive cetacea. Veterinary Record (in press). Dierauf, L. A. & Gulland, F. M. D. (Eds.) 2001. CRC Handbook of Marine Mammal Medicine: 2nd Edition. Strandings – chapters 4, 5, 6. CRC Press Inc., Boca Raton ISBN 0 8493 0839 9. Ishikawa, H. 2003a. Case study of the over-estimation of TTD detected by post-mortem examinations in Japanese Whale Research Programs IWC/55/WK 24. Ishikawa, H. 2003b. Report on whale killing methods in the 2002/2003 JARPA and improvement of the time to death in the Japanese whale research programs (JARPA and JARPN), IWC/55/WK 25. IWC 1980. Report of the Workshop on Humane Killing Techniques for Whales. International Whaling Commission Report. IWC/33/15. IWC 1994. Report of the Workshop on Whale Killing Methods. Peurto Vallarta, Mexico. Rep. International Whaling Commission Report IWC/46/18. IWC 1999. Report of the Workshop on Whale Killing Methods. Grenada, 17-19 May 1999. International Whaling Commission Report IWC/51/12. IWC 2003. Times to death in Greenlandic minke and fin whale hunt in 2002. Submitted by Greenland Home Rule Government to the 2003 IWC Workshop on Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues. IWC/55/WK12 Rev. Kestin, S. C. 2002 Protocol for assessing brain function in fish and the effectiveness of methods used to stun and kill them. Veterinary Record 150, 302-307. Kestin, S. C. 2001 Review of welfare concerns relating to commercial and special permit (scientific) whaling Veterinary Record 148, 304-307. Øen E. O. 2003. Improvements in hunting and killing methods for minke whales in Norway 1981-2003 IWC/55/WK17. Pallis, C. 1983. ABC of brain stem death. London, British Medical Journal. Ridgway, S.H., Bowers, C.A., Miller, D., Schultz, M.L., Jacobs, C.A. and Dooley, C.A. 1984. Diving and blood oxygen in the white whale. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62: 2349-2351. RSPCA 2003. Report of the First International Scientific Workshop on Sentience and Potential Suffering in Hunted Whales. RSPCA, Horsham, UK. Schlotzhauer A V & Liang B A 2002. Definitions and implications of death. Haeamatol. Oncol. Clin. North. Am 16: 1397-1413.

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